Save the date! Come to the SCBWI UK Conference this year!

The SCBWI British Isles Conference dates have been announced: 19-20 November in beautiful Winchester. Time to write it into your diary and make plans to come!

To whet your appetite for this not-to-be-missed opportunity to meet editors, literary agents, and your fellow SCBWI-ers/ites, and to learn, write, draw, pitch, talk, have fun, and... eat cake, we asked this year's conference coordinators and volunteers what their favourite part of the conference is. 

George Kirk, Conference Co-Chair
Just one? Really? Oh okay, if I have to pick I'll say all the amazing opportunities the conference gives to share your work with industry insiders, whilst having the best fun ever... and meeting my favourite authors... and the party... and the hats!
Becky Tudor, Conference Co-Chair 
The workshops where you get the opportunity to practise your craft. Professionals and fellow delegates will then help you to improve in a really supportive environment, or reassure you that you were doing the right thing after all!
Dom Conlon, University Liaison 
I like the quiet moments between sessions. The moments where you get talking to someone new and find, like coins down the back of a sofa, an unasked-for treasure in their energy and enthusiasm.
Candy Gourlay, Co-Organiser of Pulse stream and Co-Webmaster 
At every conference, my favourite time is always the Illustrator Keynote. I know, I know, I'm a novelist, but it's like a visual massage ... seeing and hearing about the magic of illustration awakens a yearning in me. Yearning is good. (I also love applauding all the people launching their books. It's so cool to see our growing numbers!)
Susie Wilde, Front of House
I've only been to two conferences as a recent member, so each has been very different: first as 'newby' and then a volunteer. The silly answer would be to say the best bit dressing up for the party! The main reason I joined and the thing I most love is being amongst varied individuals who are united in a professional, generous, calling to the craft - no explanation needed of why it isn't a 'hobby' etc. etc. Look and learn.
Sue Wallman, Margaret Carey Scholarship Organiser [a scholarship for one or two writers who could not otherwise afford to come to the conference]
I love the little lightbulb moments in the conference - for example when you learn something that will make all the difference to your writing or you meet someone whose name you recognise from the Facebook group.
Mo O'Hara, Co-Organiser of Pulse stream [Pulse is SCBWI's stream for already published authors]
My favourite element of the conference is the random hallway conversations with interesting people and of course CAKE!!!
Paul Morton, Sketch Crawl and Portfolio Review Coordinator 
My favourite bits include the Sketch Crawl and Christmassy markets around the city. The other wonderful Scoobies, the banter and idea swapping, the party, the pirates - did I mention chatting with the other wonderful Scooby members!? The badges and general electric buzz! 
Clare Tovey, Illustrator Speaker Coordinator 
It was my first time at the conference last year, so the very best bit was meeting people face to face that I'd only met on line before. Closely followed by the Sketch Crawl fringe event because I love drawing.

Jonny Wood, Bookings Coordinator 
This year will be my third conference. I still struggle to find the time to draw and I'm a very long way from being a published illustrator - yet meeting, talking and drinking with the myriad Scooby members and industry professionals alike leaves me buzzing and inspired every year. What a wonderful crowd and a fantastic industry!

Mike Brownlow, Illustration Coordinator
I love discovering new ideas, and hearing about how other people go about creating their pictures and stories. I always come away with some new nugget of valuable information. But actually I think I enjoy the talking and the sheer sociability more than anything. Meeting old friends, making new ones, chatting late into Saturday night over a drink, and generally feeding off the excitement and the nutty frenzy of a SCBWI Conference – that does it for me!

Juliet Clare Bell (but always called Clare just to be awkward), Friday Night Critique and Meal, and Mass Book Launch Coordinator 
I love the things that happen when you don't expect them to (a chance sitting down next to someone who becomes a lifelong friend and critique buddy), the general buzz of it all and I still love the one-to-ones, every year.

Jan Carr, Fringe, Hook and Party Coordinator 
So obviously my fave bits are the Fringe [the night before the conference begins], the Hook [a contest to pitch an agents' panel with your "hook"] and the Party, but actually what I love the most, if I'm really honest, is seeing everyone - especially those people who I've only ever connected with online. It's a bit like the childhood thrill of toys coming to life. 

Sarah Towle, Spark Coordinator [annual SCBWI award for "excellence in a children’s book not published through traditional publishing"]
I love the community! And all the great ideas that make my hair stand on end!

[Ed. We suspect that this may actually be Gryffindog doing an impression of Sarah]


  1. The highlight of my SCBWI year!

  2. Oh me too, Candy! I can't wait to get over there in November!!

  3. I'm so looking forward to seeing you all again! And George's hats! And cake! And... OK no more of these !

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