SCBWI Writer Masterclasses: Tell Me More!

SCBWI have some interesting and exciting Writer's Masterclasses planned in 2017 to help you develop your writing. Here, Co-ordinator Alison Smith, talks to Events Editor A. M. Dassu about SCBWI Masterclasses and what we can look forward to this year.

What is a SCBWI Masterclass?

SCBWI Writer Masterclasses are an opportunity for both published and non-published writers to hear about key topics relating to the craft of writing and the business of getting published from a range of industry professionals including authors, editors working in children's book publishing and agents.

Judith Heneghan, Director of the annual Winchester Writers’ Festival delivering a Masterclass
Photo credit: Janey Robinson 

What sort of subjects do Writer Masterclasses cover?

Subjects in the past have included writing compelling picture books, an exploration of voice in middle grade and YA fiction, breaking into the non-fiction market and practising the dark arts of writing funny. The Masterclass programme has also tackled the nuts and bolts of manuscript revision and how to get your work into tip-top shape ready for those all important submissions to agents and publishers.

Will Steele from Usborne Publishing delivering a Masterclass
Photo credit: Melissa Rozario

What Masterclasses can we look forward to in 2017?

The 2017 Masterclass programme is a varied, and we hope also a stimulating mix of sessions ranging from:

* The business of writing strong picture book characters with SCBWI's very own Regional Advisor and picture book author/consultant, Natascha Biebow.

* Dynamic and water-tight plotting with YA author, Christina Banach.

* Creating characters to care about in longer fiction with best-selling, award-winning children's author, Piers Torday.

* A special Undiscovered Voices (UV) 'prep session' on creating fiction for younger readers 'with hook, heart and longevity' - though you don't have to be considering entering the UV competition to attend the class.

Where are they held?

The Writer Masterclasses, organised by SCBWI volunteer members, Cath Jones and Alison Smith, take place on a Saturday afternoon at the centrally located Theodore Bullfrog Pub, just two minutes' walk from Charing Cross Station in London and include lunch and a hot drink. For more details on all Masterclasses and to make a booking click here or on the specific links above.


Alison Smith has been a member of SCBWI since 2008. Thanks to her win of the Ten Word Pitch competition at the SCBWI Conference in 2014, she is now also published author, Ally Sherrick. Black Powder, her debut middle grade story about a boy who gets mixed up in the Gunpowder Plot, was published by Chicken House in August 2016 and has been shortlisted for four book awards.

Alison is co-ordinator of the SCBWI Writer Masterclasses with Cath Jones whose first book, Bonkers about Beetroot, is set to be published by Maverick.


Twitter: @ally_sherrick


A. M. Dassu rediscovered her love of writing for an audience three years ago. Since then she has become a featured writer for The Huffington Post and written for the Times Education Supplement. She loves writing for children and has just finished writing a contemporary teen novel. She enjoys planning school workshops and as a lover of hats, spends a lot of her time choosing which hat to wear.

A M Dassu is a member of the Words & Pictures editorial team, she manages the Events team and SCBWI BI events coverage.
Contact her at
Follow her on Twitter: @a_reflective


  1. Don't forget there are Illustrator Masterclasses too!! Next one with Pam Smy this Saturday!

  2. Nice piece! I've been to a couple of masterclasses. They are really good value for money and a fabulous way to meet other Scoobies. Definitely recommended.

    1. So good to hear such positive feedback on the Author Masterclasses. Thanks Camilla!


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