Network News: Central West - Julienne Durber steps down

 by Marie Basting

Today in Network News, we’d like to say a huge thank you to SCBWI volunteer Julienne Durber. Julienne stepped down from his role, as joint Networks Organiser for the Central West Network, just before Christmas. He assures us, though that it’s au revoir rather than goodbye. We really hope so.

Working alongside Clare Bell, Julienne has taken the Central West Network from strength to strength. The popular critique groups in Birmingham proving exemplar and kick starting the careers of several SCBWI members. Generous in sharing his time and knowledge, Julienne will be missed by SCBWI members far beyond the Central West Network. Here’s a little bit more about Julienne and his role as a Networks Organiser.

 Can you tell us a little bit about your Networks role and what you enjoyed most about it?

I was primarily in charge of the novelist critique group which used to meet in Birmingham every four or five weeks, and that meant that each month I would get to read half a dozen chapters from brand new stories and next episodes in stories I was enjoying as they were being written. It was a huge privilege and a constant source of inspiration to see such a variety of work, sometimes in extremely early stages. I must have critiqued hundreds of submissions and I never got tired of it. And of course it was always a boost to everyone when one of the group won a competition, secured an agent or landed a contract. It felt like a mini victory for us all!

Why should SCBWI members get involved in the Networks?

The local network groups are a great example of the idea of 'the whole being greater than the sum of its parts'. Whatever your strength, be it organisation, enthusiasm, social butterflying, technical expertise, if you add it to your local group then everyone involved with benefit. And in turn you will benefit from what others bring. And when writing times are tough, there's nothing like a group of like-minded friends to help lift your spirits with consolation, advice and stories of their own experiences. It's a cliché because it is true - the more you put in the more you (and everyone else) will get out.

What does the future hold for Julienne?

I'm taking a break from writing in order to recharge my creative batteries after a tough couple of years, and have taken a position heading up the graphic design and marketing for a company in the Midlands which will be filling my time for a while. But it's not the end for my writing - I can already feel new story ideas bubbling below the surface. Any really persistent ones might get a look in over the summer by which time I'll probably be itching to start something new.
Julienne is a freelance creative who has tried most things 'arty' from writing and illustration, through graphic design and photography, to singing and playing with bands (though never dancing!) He's never short of an interesting pair of boots, and he absolutely will not be defeated by the publishing industry ... just delayed for a while!


After many years of working as a Change Manager, Marie Basting decided she fancied a change herself. So she took redundancy and signed up for the MA Creative Writing at Manchester Writing School. She now spends her days in imaginary worlds with imaginary people, coming back to reality occasionally to read dubious academic journals. Marie is the SCBWI British Isles Networks Coordinator. She lives in Manchester with her husband, son and a stuffed koala called Tommy.

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