SCBWI-BI CONFERENCE 2018 Scholarships

Did you know that SCBWI offers two scholarships to its annual conference? Sue Wallman reports. 

If you’d love the chance to be at this year’s Travelling Through Time conference in Winchester from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November 2018, but you’d need some financial assistance to attend, please read on.

Two Margaret Carey Scholarships were set up in memory of Margaret Carey, a much-valued SCBWI volunteer and recipient of the inaugural SCBWI-BI Outstanding Contribution Award*. Each scholarship covers the cost of the conference, hotel accommodation, a 1-1 manuscript critique with an editor, art director or agent, and a £50 grant towards travel to Winchester.

One scholarship is for an illustrator or picture book writer, and the other for a writer of middle grade or young adult fiction. The scholarships are awarded by two panels, each with three judges from the publishing industry, and equal weight is given to merit and financial need.

We invite you to select your illustrations or polish your prose, and write the judges a statement about your financial need, and why you would benefit from attending the conference.

You can apply now until the deadline of midnight on Saturday 25th August 2018.

For further details and rules, go here Please note: these scholarships are open to all SCBWI British Isles members, regardless of whether or not you have been published.

Now it’s over to our 2017 winners to tell us their experiences of winning last year’s scholarships:

Margaret Carey scholarship winner, Annie Walmsley.

Annie Walmsley, winner of the Middle Grade/Young Adult scholarship:

“There’s no way I could’ve attended the SCBWI 2017 conference without the scholarship; it’s such a generous and lovely initiative and I’m really grateful to everyone involved. The conference itself was wonderful – a rich and interesting programme of events from the big talks to the workshops to the 1-1 with an agent. I met some old friends and made some new ones and just soaked up all the gorgeous writerly ambience - for a whole weekend! It’s such a warm, inclusive and inspiring atmosphere – full of people truly invested in their craft. As a result of the scholarship, doors began to open with agents and editors - and they’re still doing so. Thank you SCBWI!”

Margaret Carey scholarship winner, Francis Martin.

Francis Martin, winner of the illustrator/picture book writer scholarship:

“When you are starting out in children’s literature and you decide to get really serious about it you are constantly attempting to get to islands of reassurance and support. These can be a meeting with an agent, a callback from a publisher, getting on to a course. As you swim out into the ‘sea of what you really want to do’ away from what you used to do, these events can be a life saver and give you the confidence to go on. Getting The Margaret Carey Scholarship and attending the 2017 conference was one of those events.
“I had finished my MA in Children’s Book Illustration a year previously and was working on several speculative projects with varying degrees of success. Apart from a bit of Skyping with other ex-students and a visit back to college at Cambridge I really needed a fix of socialising with other people who are crazy about children’s literature. The conference was that in bucket loads. For three days it’s a total immersion. You are inspired, delighted, amused and, most importantly, you are challenged. For a weekend you don’t feel like such a weirdo for taking the fantastical world of children’s literature so seriously. I was able to get my scribblings (illustrations) under the nose of people who are not always so easy to pin down. I attended presentations by author/illustrators. I was fascinated to hear the story of their long trek to kidlit stardom. I attended discussions on serious issues in which I think I contributed some very apposite and perceptive comments. (Maybe that’s how it sounded to me in my head.) Then there’s the fancy-dress party on Saturday. I went as a boring old curmudgeon, but no one seemed to notice.  To sum up, if you are creating literature for kids, get your scholarship application in. The conference is where it’s at!  I’m really proud that my first children’s picture book Daddy Hairdo will be published in September by Simon and Schuster.”

The Bent Agency scholarship winner, Louisa Danquah.

In 2017, The Bent Agency sponsored a scholarship for a BAME writer. Winner Louisa Danquah tells us about her SCBWI BI conference experience:

“My time at last year’s conference was as invaluable as it was enjoyable. I received crucial feedback on my manuscript from a critique group, learned how to build a pitch for my novel, gained a better insight into the relationship between authors and editors and much more. I also found a community of writers who are as passionate about children’s writing as I am. The whole experience was so energising it motivated me to work on my manuscript as soon as I got home. Being at the conference and being part of the SCBWI has taken my writing to another level and I am grateful to the SCBWI and The Bent Agency for giving me this opportunity.”

*If you would like to know more about Margaret Carey, author Candy Gourlay wrote this moving blog post in 2011 after Margaret’s death:


Sue Wallman works in a secondary school library by day and writes by night and in the holidays. Her debut thriller Lying About Last Summer was selected for the WHSmith/Zoella Book Club and won the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. Her second book, See How They Lie, won the Lancashire Book of the Year and was a Tesco YA book of the month. Her third book, Your Turn to Die, has just been published.


Fran Price is Events Editor for Words and Pics magazine, the online magazine for SCBWI BI. Contact her at

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