SCBWI Writers' Retreat: Tell Me More!

Dunford House
The hugely popular SCBWI Writers' Retreat returns to Dunford House this May. Here, Organiser Mel Rogerson, talks to Events Editor A. M. Dassu about the retreat and what attendees can look forward to.

What is a SCBWI Retreat?
The retreat is exactly that – three days away from everything – to write, to wander, to learn in the company of fellow authors and industry professionals. SCBWI hires out an entire country house, Dunford House, for a long weekend. Set in 60 acres of private woodland, there’s plenty of room to think and dream. We invite an author to headline the event, as well as an agent and an editor, who then deliver a number of presentations, workshops and critiques throughout the stay. The talks are always inspirational, but there’s no obligation for delegates to attend if they prefer to write. We try to keep the pace as relaxed as possible and I think that’s one of the reasons that people return year after year (as well as the great company and delicious food!).

Little Chittenden Wood

Who is the retreat for and what sort of subjects/themes are covered?
Everything! Our attendees are completely diverse – a mixture of published and unpublished authors writing for different age groups and tastes – so we aim to cover a wide remit. In the past, we’ve had workshops on plotting, getting in touch with your inner child and developing character. The agents and editors generally cover aspects like current trends and submitting, as well as giving an overview of the organisations they work for.

What can this year's SCBWI Retreat attendees look forward to in 2017?
This year, award-winning author Emma Carroll will be headlining the event with a workshop on taking inspiration from history and Louise Lamont, literary agent at LBA Literacy Agency will be explaining what agents do for their clients and what she looks for in an author. Special guests, best-selling author Teri Terry and Emily Sharratt, Editorial Director at Egmont (maternity cover), will also be joining us to discuss the editor/author relationship from both points of view.

Mel Rogerson with Rachel Mann during her one-to-one session last year

The 2017 retreat has already sold out, but if members would like to be added to a waiting list, then please contact Mel at
N.B The 2018 retreat will be taking place June 8-11 (details TBC), keep an eye out for booking details early next year!


Mel Rogerson  has been longlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition and SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices. She is currently working on LOSTWELL, an upper MG low fantasy novel set in the Peak District.


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. I am attending this year as a newbie. I am very excited about it, especially after reading this fabulous article!

    1. Oh lucky you Cam! I can't wait to hear all about it! Wish I could've joined you.


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