NETWORK NEWS December 2018

Network News Editor, Ann Brady, brings you up to date with all the happenings around our busy networks.


We’re busy as ever in Wales - writing, illustrating, sharing info and opportunities, networking, catching up monthly and generally spreading SCBWI positivity!

Our groups in Abergavenny, Cardiff and North Wales continue to grow and in 2019, we hope for the same in Swansea and further west. Since the last update, we’ve celebrated ‘P.G. Bell’s’ book launch in Cardiff and look forward to further celebrations in 2019!

(Credit:- Philip Fayers)

In October, we attended the Society of Authors event in Swansea and in November, Karen Bultiauw led a workshop on Self Promotion and Social Media 101. She talked about how to harness online opportunities to find your readers, your online presence, discoverability and marketing. Attendees are already putting her tips into action - she’s a tough task master!

(Credit: Claire Fayers)
Next year we hope to invite Karen and David Thorpe back to deliver workshops, along with Eric Heyman (illustrator), Glyn Scott (children’s workshop guru!) and Helen Docherty (PB author). Watch this space!

For more info, please contact Zoë Thomas at


The main news from our network this autumn is that having offered a ‘3 for 2’ deal on network organisers for a while, Sarah Broadley recently stepped down leaving the dynamic duo of Elizabeth Frattaroli and Justin Davies to take the network into 2019 and beyond! Sarah’s gargantuan efforts for the network are hugely appreciated by everyone.

In September, we were thrilled to have Patrice Lawrence visit us for an insightful workshop on writing diverse characters, and at the end of October we gathered in the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, for a sketch and scribble crawl. Several new members made this their first SCBWI event and they joined us in flexing our drawing and writing muscles.

After the fun, learning and networking of the annual Winchester conference is over, we toasted another great SCBWI South East Scotland year at our winter social in December. And lest we should sit on our writing laurels in 2019, we are holding a Synopsis Skill Share in January where we intend to nail the perfect synopsis.

As always, we love meeting members from other networks, so if you find yourself north of the border, drop us a line. For more info contact Elizabeth Frattaroli and Justin Davies at


Everyone in the London Network would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to joint London Network Organiser Larisa Villar Hauser who is stepping down. Larisa ran a sell-out Agent One-to-One event in London earlier this year, squeezing in extra appointments due to the massive demand.

Larisa says: “I’m always amazed by SCBWI volunteers and it’s been a real privilege to make a small contribution working alongside, and hopefully learning from, Tania.” But it’s not a complete goodbye – luckily for us, as Larisa has volunteered to run the One to One event in March 2019 – bookings will open soon so look out for it!

A huge welcome to Christian Darkin who will be joining us as joint Network Organiser. Christian is a traditional and self-published author, who also does some illustration and animation. Christian says: “I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you, and working to find even more SCBWI members talking, both on and offline.”

It’s been a busy Autumn in London and we’ve planned some really exciting events for next year – starting with a Debut Author Boot Camp from Pulse in January, and the One-to-One event in March, so make sure you keep checking the What’s On page or the SCBWI London Facebook page so you don’t miss out.

For more info, please contact Tania Tay and Christian Darkin at


We continue to hold our monthly meet-ups at Waterstones, Deansgate, Manchester. Most months, we attempt to fit in a morning critique followed by an afternoon member-led activity.

After our summer break the group gathered and caught up with each other’s Work-in-progress at the September crit-meeting. In the afternoon, group member Anne Boyle delivered a fun workshop on writing character back stories inspired by postcards of art works. This resulted in some brilliant mash-up ideas for future books.

Anne Boyle delivers her workshop on using art postcards as inspiration for stories (credit: Susan Brownrigg)
A number of our North West group attended another fabulous writers' retreat at Gladstone Library in October. This informal get-together/write-in based within a beautiful library has proved so popular that we are now considering an extra spring date.

The November meeting included our regular crit-groups followed by a really useful workshop delivered by the NW network organiser Catherine Whitmore on how to drill down your novel.
Finally, a small number of members attended this year’s fantastic SCBWI conference, with two of our group – George Kirk and Catherine Whitmore participating in THE HOOK! We were delighted when the agent panel chose Catherine as their winner.

For more info, please contact Catherine Whitmore and Susan Brownrigg


SCBWI Central North have had an inspiring time over the last few months! In September we had a workshop with the incredibly talented Kate Scott. She took us through the hows and whys of writing across a range of children's media. We all came away with ideas for writing children's TV and theatre. We were all so inspired by Kate, that our following meeting combined our usual critique followed by having a go at writing a play for children. We're looking forward to our Christmas meal in December and then it's the build up to the Greenaway shadowing ...

Happy Christmas from SCBWI Central North!

For more info, please contact Addy Farmer and Liz Miller


Central East Network members had a very exciting visit to Talliston House in Essex on 25th August. The house is home to member John Tarrow and is an amazing labyrinth of 13 rooms all with their own story to tell. We have booked the house again for our Scrawl Crawl in May.

Talliston lounge (Credit: Vicki Spreadbury)

September saw our new physical and online Book Club venture launch. Our first book was this years CILIP Carnegie Medal winner, Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean. Eight members met in person in Cambridge to discuss the book while a further 16 reviewed it online simultaneously.

Our autumn Scrawl Crawl took place in September at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. It was well attended by an assortment of illustrators and authors, some new faces and some regulars. These events are always fun to do and it was so nice to see the creativity of all the attendees and to share thoughts and observations.

Upcoming events:
January: Book Club
March: Author Panel Event
April: The Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture and member dinner
May: Talliston House Scrawl Crawl

For more info, please contact Debbie Edwards at


We aim to bring together children's authors and illustrators living and working in the North East. Our area covers North Yorkshire to Northumberland but members from other areas are welcome to join us for our events. We currently hold critiques, skill-shares and socials in both Newcastle and York. We share work by email before our critique sessions and offer advice on how to critique and how to respond to a critique. Non-members are welcome to join our group once to see if they would like to join SCBWI. We are very friendly as we know what it's like being a nervous newbie. A warm welcome will be there, whichever group you visit.

Seven Stories, Newcastle
Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez and Claire O'Brien hold monthly critique/skill-sharing sessions at Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books.

Central Library, Museum Street, York
A critique- and skill-share group organised by Michael Cail and Catriona Tippin. Maureen Lynas (for authors) and Katherine Lynas (for illustrators) run the sessions. We meet every two months approximately.

For more info, please contact Marie-Claire Imam Gutierrez and Claire O'Brien at


In September, we ran a retreat for writers and illustrators at Stratford YHA. In October, a picture book and novel-writing group event followed by a social. Our December picture book event was a critique and a session on books with underlying issues. The novel writing group planned to look back over last six months and set goals for the next six months. This was followed by a social.

Forthcoming events:
January 19th: Picture book group – critique and session on Rhyming and Rhythm; Novel-writing session will include writing time, brief goal-setting and checking back on last month’s goals.
February 16th: Picture book group – speed-dating with ideas; Novel-writing session; sessions followed by social.
March 16th: Picture book group – critique and session on strong characters in picture books (pm) Novel-writing session; sessions followed by social.
April 13th: Picture book group – critique and session on humour; Novel-writing session; sessions followed by social.
May 11th: Picture book group – critique and session on twists; Novel-writing session; sessions followed by social.
June 8th Picture book group – critique and session on self-editing; Novel-writing session; sessions followed by social.

For more info, please contact Natalie Perry or Clare Bell at


The year 2018 was a busy one for the South West network. We doubled our events, by holding one each month and making sure that half of them had an illustration focus. We welcomed six special guests who shared their vast knowledge and inspired us to keep creating books. These were in the order of appearance: Bafta-winning author, Joanna Nadin, agent Chloe Morgan from Plum Pudding Illustration Agency, literary consultant Helen Corner-Bryant, author/illustrator and #PicturesMeanBusines champion Sarah McIntyre, author/illustrator Philip Reeve and last but not least picture book writer Chitra Soundar. We also have now four MG/YA critique groups in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Taunton as well as a picture book critique group in Exeter and an online picture book critique group. In November, Helen stepped down as Network Coordinator, leaving the network in the hands of her co-coordinator Rita Lazaro.

Upcoming events:
January: Get To Know The Team You Are In – a talk by Agent Gill McLay on the different roles and objectives of the publishing team.
February: CKG nomination: How to get Librarians to champion your book – library professionals on titles they have championed and the criteria for these prestigious awards.
March: Stripes Publishing commissioning editor Jane Harris on trends in children's publishing and the books she is looking for, followed by a pitch competition with a chance to earn an invitation to submit directly to Jane.

Each of those events will be followed by members-led skill sharing workshop such as making mock-up books, using Scrivener or blogging as tools for self-promotion. For the rest of the year, you can expect illustration and writing workshops led by industry professionals, meetings and pitch competitions with agents and editors, critique groups, write-ins, skill-share workshops and social occasions.

Here's to productive and inspiring 2019!

For more info, please contact Rita Lazaro at


It’s been a busy few weeks for the South East network with many members, new and not so new, attending the conference in Winchester. As new network coordinators, Sue Renshaw and I (Fiona Barker) were delighted to be there too to meet so many enthusiastic members. We are keen to build on the amazing work done by our predecessors Jane and Anita in building a strong network of successful critique and social groups. After attending our first network heads meeting we now have a clear idea of how to move forward to help our region go from strength to strength. We’re very keen to use the regional Facebook page to help our geographically-dispersed members keep in touch and swap tips. As part of this process, we are really keen to hear from SE SCBWI members about what they would like to see happen on the page. Video interviews, photo montages from member launches, online or IRL events? Please let us have your ideas via

Ann Brady is the Network News Editor.

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