#SCBWICON16 The Party & Friday Fringe from SE Network

The Saturday Night Party
by Mahrukh McDonald

Smiles and laughter greeted us as we pushed open the door to St John's House for the annual Cracking Characters SCBWI Party. Just what we needed after trudging through the dark, wet and windy streets of Winchester. 

Happiness, fun and joie de vivre filled the room as people chatted and admired one another's costumes; Cat(s) in Hat(s), Room on the Broom witches, Dumbledore and other Harry Potter characters, Mad Hatters and Queens of Hearts and lots of other wonderful  characters form children's stories -  even the BFG came to the party.

Writers, illustrators, editors and agents intermingled and networked while enjoying a drink or two and the vast selection of finger food laid out on tables in the centre of the room.

Candy Gourlay entertained us with  a "20 Rejections on the 20th year of SCBWI BI" video that generated bursts of laughter form the audience.     

The party ended with claps and cheers as everyone celebrated the achievements of SCBWI writers and illustrators.  Teri Terry was proclaimed winner of the coveted Crystal Kite award for her book  Mind Games, Barry Cunningham announced Clare Bell winner of the ten word pitch and other SCBWI authors and illustrators proudly held up their newly published books on stage and summarized the overall gist of their book in just one word.       

Mahrukh has a science background and a Masters in Library and Information Science. She's had a varied working career - a library in London, the Institute of Child Health and Unilever in London and Sydney. Mahrukh's passion is writing, especially picture book stories, which is so much fun!

Friday Fringe:   The Scrawl Crawl,
with Lorraine Cooke 

We met Lorraine Cooke, leader of the Scrawl Crawl, at the Westgate, the last of the main medieval gates into the city (not The Westgate pub, as some of us had thought!) A group of bubbling SCBWI members who were ready for the weekend ahead. New people were met, new friends made, and many of us recognised each other from social media and were pleased to finally meet in ‘real life.’ 

Happy SCBWI_BI members, being immersed in the culture and history of Winchester. 

From here, we followed our informative leader, Lorraine, on an interesting and inspiring route around some of Winchester's hidden treasures. Sculptures, dungeons, restored castle passageways, ancient walls and military museums provided plenty of interest and fuel for discussion and scrawling. 

There was leaf kicking, history absorbing, photo snapping and oohing and ahhing at the gorgeous surroundings and fantastic architecture. At the end of the crawl, there was even time to enjoy the Christmas Market and warm up with some mulled wine. A chilly yet sunny and cheerful event. 

Lorraine Cooke leads the crawl and points out key locations.

Thank you, Lorraine Cooke, for such an enjoyable, inspiring and culturally immersive start to the conference! 

Character Shake Up

With Emma Greenwood 

By Kerry Trickett

We settled down in to our cosy, reserved section of The Old Vine, with a much needed hot drink, and briefly introduced ourselves and our main characters. What followed was a creative session in which we were able to sink our teeth straight into some creative workouts.

The Old Vine, our lovely warm venue for the afternoon.

Emma got right down to the heart of bringing our characters alive, showing us ways to avoid writing cliched or flat characters. ‘Characters need to have palpable, living souls, with no exceptions,’ she explained. We explored how to use our humanity to create true to life and unique characters, referring to ideas from Stanislavski and Natalie Goldberg

Emma Greenwood (director of the Golden Egg Academy foundation year).

Emma asked the important question, do you feel your character internally when you write? She encouraged us to find a moment when we felt how our character is feeling, and relate to it. We thought about how role-play and free-writing can be useful to get into our characters minds and internalise the feelings they are having. We also investigated the idea of externalising emotions. 

SCBWI_BI members settling down and getting creative with our 
approaches to writing fresh and believable characters.

In order to highlight how body posture can portray emotion, Emma asked us to freeze. She went around each of us, commenting on our poses and postures and discussing what they possibly said about our feelings. We considered how using such details in our writing, shows (rather than tells), a lot about how our characters are feeling too. 

By the end of the session, I felt equipped to completely shake up my existing characters and had ideas buzzing around my head for new ones. 

Thank you Emma Greenwood, for such a practical, engaging and fun fringe event. 

Watch out for Catriona Tippin's Fringe Event on Proofreading Tips in January! 

As a child, Kerry Trickett’s teachers would ask her if she was, in fact, eating the books she borrowed. They couldn’t believe that she could be reading them so quickly (and often more than one at a time)! The truth was that she couldn’t get enough children’s fiction. Things have not changed much since! Studying primary education, followed by years of teaching, meant a lot of children’s fiction to read, study and explore until her heart (and stomach) were content.


  1. Thank you, Kerry. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. The on the night party volunteers were such a great team. You know who you are. Big thank you for doing an amazing job and helping to make the party run so smoothly.

  3. Fab!I really enjoyed meeting you all!


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