New Year; New Team... Part 2

This week co-editor Claire Watts welcomes our new regular feature writers to the Words & Pictures team. Let’s have a huge round of applause for all our fabulous new volunteers!

And don’t forget, if YOU have anything you'd like to contribute to Words & Pictures, you can contact us using the address at the bottom of this email.

As promised, here’s the rest of the new members of the Words & Pictures team this week, every one of them bursting with ideas and enthusiasm!

Tizzie Frankish 

First up is Tizzie Frankish who is starting a new feature: Debut Diaries – One Year On. By day, Tizzie is a mum to two boisterous boys and a part-time university tutor; by night, an agented writer who is plagued by her characters. She writes better in her dreams than she does in the cold light of day (thank goodness for edits!) and she’s currently working on a number of young fiction stories.

Tizzie says: “I’m thrilled to be part of the team and beyond excited to be involved in one of my favourite Words & Pictures features. As a round-up to a brilliant year of interviews, I will be catching up with previously featured debut authors and asking the question, what happened next? In Debut Diaries – One Year On, I hope to discover the highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully less of these) of the post-publication year. Has the reality lived up to the dreams? What do you wish you’d known before the first thrills of your book birthday became a distant memory? And are launch parties and school visits really that terrifying?” Join Tizzie every month to find out what life after debut is really like.

Justin Davies 

You’ll need to dust off your dancing shoes and elbow-length gloves for Justin Davies’ new debuts series. Each month he will be inviting a debut author to take a spin on the dance floor at his Debut-Dance Ball. Whilst trying not to tread on their toes, he will ask his dance partner the questions only a newly-published writer can answer. Whether you’ve made the journey to publication, or are still hitching a ride en route, Justin’s Debut-Dance Ball is the place to delve into the mind of authors who have reached this exciting milestone.

When not fox-trotting, Justin can be found globe-trotting as cabin crew in his job-that-pays. And when he’s not globe-trotting, he’s plotting and jotting middle-grade comedy adventures at home in Fife.

PS, if you’re about to be published, or know a SCBWI member who is, and think that you, or they, would like an invite to the ball, please get in touch.

Jools Abrams 

Jools Abrams joined SCBWI in 2016 and made it to conference in Winchester (she was the one dressed as the Faraway Tree in a big white wig). She’s taking over from the very capable Lou Minns on the Writer’s Minds feature, which runs every other month. Jools would be grateful for suggestions and contacts of writers to approach, especially those who are SCBWI members.

Jools writes novels for young adults, short stories for children and adults, screenplays and has written feature articles for magazines and websites. She writes every day alongside part-time work as a primary school teacher and full-time work as a parent to two teens. Once a week she heads off with She Who Dares, a women’s group, on outdoor adventures.

Lorraine Cooke 

For the last three years, Lorraine has sub-edited Words & Pictures but is now excited to be developing an idea for a regular feature to launch soon. A former teacher, she now works in a library where she gets plenty of ideas for stories. When not writing, she enjoys sewing and learning how to dance.

Kate Walker 

You’ll already have seen the fabulous new Agent Confidential brought to you by Kate Walker. Kate says: “I spent ten years working for media Agencies in London on major brands like Ford, Royal Mail, Debenhams, Lenovo, Department for Transport. Once I had babies, I stayed closer to home in Kent and discovered that I loved picture books so much that I’d have a go a writing them, which is harder than it looks! I moved into MG and loved the freedom of world-building and characters uninhibited by a 500-word limit and I’ve never stopped. I have been an SCBWI member for three years.”

Liz MacWhirter 

Liz MacWhirter is taking over our Opening Lines feature which will be quarterly. Liz spends most of her nights writing fiction, mostly YA. Black Snow Falling, her first novel, is pitched as Wolf Hall meets His Dark Materials and is currently out on submission through Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates. The Fairy Pools was published in an anthology by Scholastic in 2008. She joined the SCBWI several years ago and joined the Words & Pictures team as a feature writer.

Liz’s day job is writing for an advertising agency in Edinburgh, and she has won 25 international and national creative awards over almost as many years. In a good week, she squeezes in walks/runs through woods, followed invariably by eating far too much cheese, which could account for her wild imagination.

Helen Dougdale 

Helen Dougdale is joining the Words & Pictures Events team as a promo writer, interviewing and writing articles about authors, agents and editors about forthcoming SCBWI events. Helen says: “I love asking questions and could talk about children’s literature all day long, so this new role is just perfect.”

Helen is a writer based in Manchester and for the last ten years she has run her own PR and writing agency, Scribble. She’s written one children’s story and she’s busy finishing a series of first chapter books, that she’s on the hunt for a friendly agent or publisher to fall in love with.

Annette Edge 

Annie Edge joins Words & Pictures as a feature writer. She started out scribbling short stories for adult readers then morphed into writing YA and MG. She’s even tried her hand at picture books. She’s short, thin-haired and often finds herself up-staged by something or other.

Marianna Barber 

Also joining the Words & Pictures Events team, is Marianna Reed Barber. Marianna is an active member of SCBWI within the critique group in Tunbridge Wells. Having attended conferences, retreats and masterclasses, she is a keen advocate of SCBWI events, with their scope to support writers and illustrators at all stages in their careers. She’s a mum of four and a teacher of English as a foreign language and is studying the MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester.

 Marianna says: “Children’s literature is that magical place where art and words inspire young people to connect with the world. Volunteering with the SCBWI Events team is an exciting opportunity to work with writers, illustrators and other industry professionals who are involved in the creative dynamic of children’s publishing.”

You can contact all our writers by emailing or contact Ellie and me at We’re always looking for ideas for features in Words & Pictures and, we’d love you to pass on to us your news, views and experiences so we can share them with SCBWI members.

Until next time,


  1. Woo hoo! Thanks everyone for stepping up! Looking forward to all your exciting features!

  2. Hurray! Thank you everyone - love all the new ideas!

  3. SCBWI brilliance at its best! Can't wait - 2017 is going to be amazing!


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