This week, Anita Loughrey interviews Elizabeth Wein who joined the SCBWI as an associate member in 1991, while she was in the middle of writing her first novel. 

Elizabeth has held continuous membership in the SCBWI for 28 years, and first got actively involved in the British Isles region in 1995, 24 years ago! During this time her books, Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire, were both Golden Kite Honour Books.

Elizabeth in 1991
From the start, I loved being able to go to conferences and meet and chat casually with other writers and illustrators. One of the highlights of my early years as a SCBWI member was taking my grandmother, Betty Flocken, along with me to a regional meeting in Eastern Pennsylvania. At lunch, we were seated next to illustrators Beth and Joe Krush, a famously talented team who illustrated many children’s books in the middle of the 20th century. Coincidentally, they’d illustrated my grandmother’s only published work, a story in Jack & Jill Magazine in 1953 – so she was thrilled to finally meet them, forty years later!

I started volunteering for the SCBWI when I came to Britain in 1995. And, as a matter of fact, I am the founder of the Words & Pictures newsletter (named by Valerie Wilding) which, from 1996, I produced in print using an early version of Word! 
This is the original SCBWI British Isles logo as designed by Theresa Flavin, an elegant pen-line map of the British Isles with a kite for a tail. It was primarily used as the Words & Pictures banner for the first five years or so of its existence.
I was the newsletter editor for the British Isles for five years, and the co-Regional Advisor (with Natascha Biebow) for three years. I ran several workshops and events for the SCBWI in Scotland in an unofficial capacity as well – and I am very proud to have been a speaker at the Midwinter Conference in New York in 2014.
This is a sketch of me that was done by Arree Chung during my 2014 speech
at the SCBWI Midwinter Conference in New York.
Whether it’s my early published novels, or the editor of five of my books, or my agent of nearly 20 years, or the many useful connections with award-winning and best-selling industry professionals, it is fair to say that all my most important writing breaks came as a result of doing volunteer work for the SCBWI, because it’s such a great way to meet people. As a volunteer, you are able to network in an official capacity as well as unofficially, and it can prove extremely rewarding!

The best thing EVER about my time as a SCBWI member was being able to nominate a friend, Sanna Stanley, for the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant – and to have her actually win it in 2014! That seems like the most amazing way of passing on the support that the SCBWI has shown me.

Whenever anybody asks me for advice about breaking into children’s publishing, the first thing I do is recommend joining the SCBWI. It turns a lonely avocation into a rewarding profession. The greatest reward that the society offers is its other members. I love being part of this company of creative, talented, and generous people.

I’ve included two book covers, as they’re very different books and published quite close together (within 6 months of each other) – Firebird came out in the UK in August 2018 from Barrington Stoke, and A Thousand Sisters is my first non-fiction, out in the USA January 2019 from Balzer & Bray. Both these books are about women pilots who flew in combat in the Soviet Union during World War II.

Anita Loughrey is SCBWI's Membership Coordinator. Anita writes fiction for all ages, graphic novels, audio books, teacher resources, educational fiction, non-fiction and creative non-fiction on a wide variety of subjects for a wide range of publishers. She has over 85 books published in the UK and many more worldwide. She also writes two regular double-page spreads for the national writing magazine Writers’ Forum and teaches creative writing.

You can find out more about Anita Loughrey on her website and on her blog. Or follow her on Twitter @amloughrey and Instagram @anitaloughrey

No comments:

We love comments and really appreciate the time it takes to leave one.
Interesting and pithy reactions to a post are brilliant but we also LOVE it when people just say they've read and enjoyed.
We've made it easy to comment by losing the 'are you human?' test, which means we get a lot of spam. Fortunately, Blogger recognises these, so most, if not all, anonymous comments are deleted without reading.

Words & Pictures is the Online Magazine of SCBWI British Isles. Powered by Blogger.