Industry Insiders: Book Quiz Success & Reasons for the Relaunch

Industry Insiders

Event Report by Non Pratt Reasons for the Relaunch by David Richardson.

Wednesday 8th April saw the relaunch of what was the London Professional Series, now rebranded as INDUSTRY INSIDERS heralding a series of four events in 2015 aiming to promote relations and understanding between SCBWI members and people working in the children’s publishing industry. 

To launch the rebrand, co-ordinators Non Pratt and David Richardson held a Kids Books Quiz at the Square Pig and Pen in Holborn. Participants who bought a ticket received a free drink and were guaranteed to spend time on a team with either an agent or an editor from within the business. The event was a sell-out! 

On the night, our INSIDER captains - agents Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency), Louise Lamont (LBA), Hannah Sheppard (DHH Literary Agency) and Claire Wilson (Rogers, Coleridge & White) and editors Liz Bankes (Catnip Books), Ben Horslen (Penguin Random House), Fiz Osborne (Bloomsbury), Rachel Petty (Pan Macmillan) and Robin Stevens (Egmont) – were clearly labelled with colour-coded badges and left to mingle before Non allocated teams of five-six participants to each captain. 

Team Huddle:
What is Piglet's Favourite food?
We had a wonderful mix of SCBWI-stalwarts, new members and non-members vying for victory across eight rounds that really put the teams through their paces, colouring in, sorting through sequences of pictures, identifying classic first lines and finding the connection between sets of authors or books – not to mention trying to remember what Piglet’s favourite food is! 

At half time, we swapped the team captains around and wiped the scores back to zero to see whether another team could break through, but in the end a team consisting of SCBWI member and author Nicole Burstein, the Bookseller’s Anna James, freelance literary journalist Imogen Russell Williams and bloggers, Stacey (The Pretty Books) and Debbie (Snuggling on the Sofa) won both rounds, led to victory first by Louise Lamont and then by Liz Bankes. The prize (apart from universal respect) was to divide a generous selection of books and proofs (some of which were signed) donated as prizes by our captains. We did have some individual prizes for anyone guessing the word count of all three Lord of the Rings books and the number of Goodreads ratings given to The Fault in Our Stars that day as well! 

Scores please!
All in all it was a vibrant and fun-packed evening, disrupted only by Non wolf-whistling to shout out the food orders stacking up at the bar. All our captains had a great time and have said they’d be up for doing it again… 

Non introduced the upcoming INDUSTRY INSIDERS events which will take on a ‘magazine’ feel aiming to offer something for everyone from those yet-to-be-published to anyone working on their second book, whether writer or illustrator. There will be two of these magazine events on the 16th of June – which will focus on picture books and early readers - and the 22nd September – focusing on 9-12 and YA. The forth event, planned for November will be a visit to a prominent publishing house. 

Non has worked as a non-fiction editor at Usborne and commissioning editor of fiction at Catnip Books. She first became involved with SCBWI when she was invited to the 2009 May retreat as a guest editor and since then has helped out with panels, critiques and the Slushpile Challenge. Now that she’s turned full-time author – of YA novels Trouble and Remix published by Walker Books in the UK and Simon & Schuster in the US – she’s working with SCBWI as one of the Industry Insiders co-ordinators. 

Why the re-launch? 

David Richardson outlines the decision behind the re-launch of Industry Insiders: 

The London Professional Series has been going for something like 10 years now. The format and number of meetings per year have remained roughly the same. However, in recent years, the number of attendees has fallen. 

Finding a central London venue at an affordable cost is always difficult and without knowing the number who wish to attend in advance, it can be a gamble in committing to a large deposit in booking a venue – a gamble with members’ hard earned cash! 

So, this year we have decided to try something different. We want to make the evenings as attractive to as many people as possible, including both SCBWI members and non-members. 

So we are re-launching the series as Industry Insiders

We've reduced the number of events to four, including a visit to a publishing house and a pub quiz involving the movers and shakers from the children's publishing world. The recent quiz was a great success, and we'll be able to announce details of the publisher's visit shortly. 

The other two evenings will be different too. They will have a magazine style programme, with a well-known SCBWI member giving some advice from their point of view, a keynote speaker discussing a current industry topic and a featured agent or publisher as our special guest. It will end with them all forming a panel to take questions from the audience. 

The first is on Tuesday June 16th. We will be confirming the speakers and venue very shortly. It will be of interest to all, but particularly those who are involved in picture books and young readers. The second will be in September. 

Thanks David and Non

For more information on SCBWI Events and to book your place go to:


  1. Sounds like a brilliant night & a great programme. Don't suppose anyone is thinking about taking Industry Insiders on tour one year, or maybe outside London once a year?

  2. It was a really fun evening - thanks Non for all your hard work putting the quiz together :)


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