Around the world with scbwi

Have you ever wondered what SCBWI members are up to across the world? Each month we will be globe-trotting to take a look. This is a perfect chance for us to keep in touch with our SCBWI neighbours. Third stop: Japan

by Naomi Kojima

Mariko Nagai, Co-RA; Holly Thompson, Co-RA; Naomi Kojima, IC [missing is Translator Coordinator Avery Fischer Udagawa]

How many members do you have and how often do you meet?

SCBWI Japan has about 50 members currently. Mariko Nagai and Holly Thompson are Co-Regional Advisors, Naomi Kojima is Illustrator Coordinator, and Avery Fischer Udagawa is Translator Coordinator. We hold monthly events for writers, illustrators, and translators, including workshops, creative exchanges, and guest speaker presentations from authors, illustrators, translators, editors, art directors, publishers and agents.

Illustration workshop with Philip Giordano
We also hold sketch and word crawl events, and gallery and museum visits for illustration exhibits. SCBWI Japan also has an active Translation Group so we hold events for Japanese-to-English translators of children's and young adult literature too. We co-ordinate with international schools in Japan, and sometimes authors and illustrators visiting Japan for school visits will also do an event for SCBWI Japan.

Tell us about your latest event...
Patricia Lakin and SCBWI members at the April 2015 event on writing biographies for young people

To give you an idea of the range of events we hold we'll describe several: Our May event was with Tokyo-based designer Ian Lynam presenting A Little Bit of Type Goes a Long Way, all about typography. In April we had author Patricia Lakin on Making Dead People Come to Life—about writing biographies for young people. In March we held a half-day Writers' Craft Workout. In June we will feature translator Ginny Tapley Takemori: On Whales, Blue Glass, War and Young People.

SCBWI Japan Translation Day 2014 participants and presenters

Have there been any author successes in your area recently?

We've had wonderful successes! The 2014 APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature went to Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani for Jet Black and the Ninja Wind and the 2014 Honor award went to Suzanne Kamata for Gadget Girl. Annie Donwerth Chikamatsu's novel Somewhere Among was sold in a two-book deal to Atheneum, and Leza Lowitz's novel Up From the Sea was sold in a two-book deal to Crown. Suzanne Kamata's novel Screaming Divas was named a 2015 ALA Rainbow book.

Holly Thompson's Falling into the Dragon's Mouth was sold to Henry Holt. And illustrator Ross Wiley and writer Gerri Sorrells were selected to collaborate with NHK (Japan's public broadcasting network) writing and illustrating English language learning TV episodes. Illustrator Kazumi Wilds, currently studying in the U.S., has been on tour for the picture book she illustrated--The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: A Little Bonsai with a Big Story by Sandra Moore. And Mariko Nagai's Dust of Eden was a Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Middle East/India/Asia.

How would a visiting SCBWI member get in touch with your network?

Please visit our website and email us:

Thank you for featuring SCBWI Japan!

Sarah Broadley joined SCBWI BI in July 2013 and has taken on the role of picture book Eyes and Ears for British Isles South East Scotland.
Sarah mainly writes children's rhyming stories but you may find her from time to time dipping her literary toes i


  1. What a lovely write-up. Miss you all Tokyo!

  2. This is such an interesting series, Sarah! And many congratulations to all those scbwi japan members - what a powerhouse!

  3. Such an inspirational group of SCBWI's! Thank you so much for taking part.

  4. Thank you for featuring SCBWI Japan! I love this series!


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