Network News: London, Welcome to Larisa Villar Hauser

Last time in Network News we said goodbye to our joint London network organiser Karen Hart. This week we welcome Larisa Villar Hauser to the Networks team! Working alongside Tania Tay, Larisa has some exciting plans for the London network and we are delighted to have her on board. Larisa tells Gill James about herself and her SCBWI journey below.

I’ve been an awed SCBWI member since 2009. Awed because of the breadth of support that is on offer and the multiple ways being part of SCBWI facilitates my life as a writer.

My first intro to SCBWI was through the Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook. Like many newbies, I became a member when I heard about the Agents’ Party. An opportunity to be in the same room as keen children’s literary agents??! Awe-right! … Sign me up! Then I joined an e-critique group and gradually learned how to offer and receive critique that is both meaningful and kind: not as easy as you’d think (!) but something that immeasurably improved my ability to self-edit.

In 2010, I had my first SCBWI conference Experience – and the capital E there, is to reflect the awesomeness of spending a weekend mixing with fellow writers talking ‘shop’. I came away flying high as a kite – and stunned to learn that the whole thing was put together by volunteers. Awe with awe cherries on top.

Despite enthusiasm, hard graft and hints of agent interest, years into writing I had yet to be published. So in 2014 I decided to self-pub and wrote a blog to share the journey. The support from SCBWI friends and followers was, well, awe-inspiring … especially when I was asked to be on a self-pub panel at conference. That’s an eye-wateringly awe-inducing level of support.

Larisa's book
Now, although this sounds like an Ode to All Things SCBWI, it’s actually a ‘story so far’ as to how and why I’ve decided to take a more active part in SCBWI. I flirted as a SCBWI volunteer by taking over the job of e-crit group moderator and writing a couple of pieces of Words & Pictures. But I’ve wanted to do more and recently put the feelers out for roles that might be open/suitable.

So here I am: co London Social Network Organiser with Tania Tay.

Ironically, in all the years of getting writing support from SCBWI I’ve never been involved in my local network. The will was there but it was very difficult (read: near impossible) for me to get out. My personal writing network was formed remotely and over time. So I’m really excited to not only be involved in organising (awe-ganising?) events that bring London SCBWI members together but also in putting real life faces to FB/Twitter profiles. Because there really is nothing quite like a room full of warm, SCBWI members to reignite the writing buzz and keep you going through the edits, agent rejections and all the hours of solitary writing.

The local networks are an important part of what SCBWI offers and I hope to keep up the brilliant work others have done so far. Thank you everyone for making SCBWI awesome!

SCBWI Networks

There are ten SCBWI British networks. Geared to the needs of local members, they offer a wide range of events and development opportunities for writers and illustrators at all stages of their creative journey, including critique groups, workshops, masterclasses, and write-ins.
Find out more here.


Gill James writes Network News for Words & Pictures.

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