At November's conference, Sarah Broadley interviewed SCBWI volunteers about how and why they volunteer. To find out how you can volunteer for SCBWI-BI, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Clare O'Brien and Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez – co-chairs for SCBWI BI North East

Why did you join SCBWI?
MC - I was looking for a crit group and I found Maureen's group on the SCBWI web page.
C - I was on maternity leave and I thought I'd write a book! It was also a sign that I was getting serious about my writing too.

How do you manage your time – work/family/writing and/or illustrating?
MC – I get up early to write before the day takes over!
C – Lots of lists everywhere!

Why do you volunteer for SCBWI?
MC – I have a great friendship with our members and beyond, and volunteering for such a lovely group makes it worthwhile.
C – I consider my SCBWI colleagues friends as well as comrades.

If you could invite any literary character to dinner, who would it be?
MC – Ender Wiggins from Ender’s Game – fantastic!
C – The Yoga Ogre!

Elisabeth Norton – RA SCBWI Switzerland

Is this your first time at the SCBWI-BI conference?
Yes! We came to find out more info about the differences between US and UK literary worlds, and to get a chance to see all the amazing talent here in the UK and beyond.

What children’s book inspired you to be a writer/illustrator? 
Robin Hobb – all of her books are fantastic, and I was raised in Alaska too, so I was constantly inspired by my surroundings.

If you could invite any literary character to dinner, who would it be? 
Mole from The Wind in the Willows!

How do members in your network find out more about volunteering for SCBWI? 
It's always mentioned in our newsletter and there’s a link on our web page too. It prompts people to join in when they review what events are happening.

What are you reading now? 
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and the middle grade novel All The Answers by Kate Messner.

Claire Watts – editor of Words & Pictures

Why do you volunteer for SCBWI? 
The more involved you get, the more you get back. I have the skills to do it, so why not?

If you could invite any literary character to dinner, who would it be?
Jane Austen's Emma - she’s very opinionated, so she would help quieten the table, then we could all hear what she has to say.

Which children’s book/authors inspired you to write? 
E. Nesbit, and Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer.

What are you reading now? 
The Amber Sypglass by Philip Pullman – again! I'm re-reading it because I’ve just read the prequel, La Belle Sauvage.

Bridget Marzo – Pictures at Play

Why did you become a volunteer for SCBWI?
I was roped in! I had a toddler and wondered how I would fit it in, but then so did my colleague at the time, so it worked out perfectly.

If you could invite any literary character/artist to dinner, who would it be?
Eeyore or Edward Ardizzone.

What do you enjoy about being a SCBWI volunteer?
My mothering instinct comes out, a bit like a substitute teacher. I like helping other people not make the same mistakes as me!

Bee Bee Taylor – accidental Conference Volunteer and now W&P Celebrations Editor

Why volunteer for SCBWI? 
I wanted to know more about why people are members, and it’s a great way to meet others and connect with them.

If you could invite any literary character to dinner, who would it be? 
The bear from Northern Lights.

Tea/coffee/water - what’s your creative libation? 
Tea – 3 sugars.

Lou Cliffe-Minns – ARA Member Services

Why do you volunteer for SCBWI? 
Making connections and learning.

If you could invite any literary character/author to dinner, who would it be?
Cressida Cowell, but in the hope that she might bring David Tennant too!

Photos: Sarah Broadley


Sarah Broadley has two cats that bring dead gifts to her desk when she writes. She is a paired reader, a lynchpin at her local book group, and co-chair of SCBWI South East Scotland. She also works for a children's hospital charity in Edinburgh, where she gets away with being very silly all day.



Everything SCBWI offers is run by volunteers. We're always looking for all sorts of help, for big and small roles. You don't need any special skills, though if you have some, tell us about them! If you have a little bit of time and are enthusiastic, we want to hear from you. To find out more about volunteering for SCBWI, contact your local Networks Organiser, or our Co-Regional Advisor, Natascha Biebow at ra@britishscbwi.org

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