SCBWI-BI CONFERENCE 2019 Scholarship news

SCBWI-BI is delighted to announce this year we are offering SIX SCHOLARSHIPS to our Telling Tales conference, to be held from 2-3 November 2019 in Winchester.

We all know diversity in children’s publishing is something we need to redress. In a recent statement, Jill Coleman, Director of Children’s Books, BookTrust, highlighted just how appalling the situation really is.
Children need and deserve to see themselves in books, and to have access to a rich and diverse range of voices. If they do, it can be life-changing. Our research shows just how underrepresented authors and illustrators of colour are in the UK. In 2017, fewer than 6% of authors and illustrators were people of colour and just 2% were British people of colour.
But together we can make a difference and we are particularly thrilled to be offering two scholarships for members of the BAME* community who would love to attend the SCBWI conference, but who need financial assistance to make it happen. These scholarships are generously sponsored by two different literary agencies:

The Bent Agency will be sponsoring a conference place for a BAME author of young adult or middle-grade fiction, or a picture book author or author-illustrator.

The Bright Agency will be sponsoring a conference place for a BAME illustrator (author/illustrators will be judged on the basis of their illustrations).

*BAME is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “Black, Asian and minority ethnic (used to refer to members of non-white communities in the UK)".

Molly Ker Hawn of the Bent Agency says, ‘Children’s books are overwhelmingly dominated by white authors and illustrators — we can see it in our submissions and we can see it on bookshop shelves. That’s just not reflective of the world we live in, and it doesn’t serve young readers well. It’s got to change.’

Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
Arabella Stein of the Bright Agency agrees, saying, ‘We are delighted to be supporting BAME authors and illustrators through the launch of this new scholarship to encourage diversity in children’s books. It is hugely important that children’s stories feature characters that all children can relate to. The Bright Agency is dedicated to discovering and developing artists and authors from different backgrounds and cultures – we are thrilled to be partnering with SCWBI on this new initiative, supporting the publication of more children’s books that reflect the multicultural society we live in.’

Arabella Stein, The Bright Agency
This sentiment is shared by many in the industry and they are taking direct action. One such person is Aimée Felone, co-founder of the new and progressive publishing house, Knights Of.

Aimee Felone

Aimée will be joining us at the conference this year along with illustrator, Selom Sunu, to discuss ‘The Magic of Inclusivity’ and the real impact it can have on children’s lives.

Selom Sunu

We are especially thrilled to be able to offer these two, wonderful opportunities this year, and are very grateful to both The Bent Agency and The Bright Agency for their support.

The scholarships are open to anyone who fits the criteria, SCBWI-BI members and non-SCBWI members alike, who are residents in the British Isles. (A one-year SCBWI membership will be sponsored as part of the scholarship package).

The Bent Agency scholarship is open to BAME authors of young adult or middle-grade fiction, or a picture book author or author-illustrator.

The Bright Agency scholarship is open to BAME illustrators (or author/illustrators on the understanding that they’ll be judged on the strength of their illustration work).

Applicants can be unpublished or self-published, but not traditionally published and should not already have an agent. Each submission will be judged on the work submitted and its potential, a personal statement outlining why you would benefit from attending the conference, and a statement about financial need.

The scholarship covers the cost of the conference, hotel accommodation, a 1-2-1 manuscript/ portfolio critique and a grant towards travel to Winchester. If the winner isn’t already a member of SCBWI-BI, they will also be given membership for one year.


This year SCBWI is thrilled to be able to fund two additional scholarships for authors and illustrators, so we will have FOUR Margaret Carey Scholarships for all genres, authors and illustrators! These 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 1-2-1 manuscript critique with an editor, art director or agent, and a grant towards travel to Winchester.

The Margaret Carey scholarships are awarded by two panels, each with three judges from the publishing industry, and equal weight is given to merit and financial need. You need to be a SCBWI-BI member to apply and may be unpublished, self-published or previously traditionally published.

All entries are judged anonymously.

Please be sure to read the website carefully before applying for all scholarships!

Recipients of the 2018 Margaret Carey Scholarships 

Still unsure whether to apply? Here’s what last year’s recipients of the Margaret Carey Scholarships had to say about the experience:

Hannah Sanguinetti, winner of the Margaret Carey picture book/illustrator scholarship.

Hannah Sanguietti

Along with all of the excitement and hope I felt at winning the 2018 Margaret Carey Illustration Scholarship, there came a creeping feeling of fear. I had been lucky enough to win this fantastic award, and now I and my work would be out there, amongst an entire conference of other authors and illustrators. A new door had opened up in front of me, and I was afraid to step through it. Would my work be good enough? Would I be good enough? What would I say to people? Who would I meet? Could I tell people that I really still didn't know what I was doing? That I was just beginning? I felt like a fraud.

But, I needn't have worried.

SCBWI really is one of the most fantastic organisations, because it manages to support both established and extremely successful writers and illustrators, and complete newcomers. The conference was packed with interesting, informative and fun events of an impressive variety. The keynote speeches were inspiring and the workshops gave a practical view into other techniques and approaches. Watching the participants of 'The Hook' up on stage gave me something to reflect on - how nervous must they be feeling? There was so much to learn, it was overwhelming. But in between the events, there was also care and companionship. People sought me out, asked me how I was doing, if I had everything I needed, if they could join me for lunch. Some knew that I had won the scholarship and asked about it, but most people I talked to just wanted to meet whoever sat next to them and find common ground.

Some of the most encouraging and inspiring things I learned at the conference were not to do with development of my specific skills. I didn't come away with an agent, an art director or a four-book deal. But I did experience the huge range of style, skill, experience and background that SCBWI members bring with them. I saw that perseverance will get you there in the end, and that it is important to be true to your own art. Also, that through all of this, SCBWI support means that you do not have to struggle alone. The Margaret Carey Scholarship did indeed open a new and scary door for me, but when I looked through it I didn’t find a rocky and impenetrable wasteland of deadlines, expectations, rejected manuscripts and uninterested art directors. I found warm and welcoming people, telling me that I was in the right place and that I just needed to keep going. The conference really was a game-changer, thank you SCBWI."

Kylie Holmes, winner of the Margaret Carey fiction scholarship 2018:

Kylie Holmes 

Winning the Margaret Carey scholarship has done so much for me. I still can’t believe I won and attended my first SCBWI conference. The entire experience was amazing. Not only did it mean I had the opportunity to attend the conference, but it really boosted my confidence as a writer. It also gave me validation after years of hard work and many, many rejections.

Further details of all six scholarships can be found here:

DEADLINE FOR ALL SCHOLARSHIPS: Midnight Saturday 3rd August 2019

Enquiries AND entries for the Bright Agency Scholarship to:

Enquiries AND entries for the Margaret Carey and Bent Agency Scholarships to:

Submissions not in compliance with the rules will be disqualified.

SCBWI members may apply for both the Margaret Carey scholarships and the BAME scholarships if they are eligible.

We will be announcing the names of the winners publicly unless you request to remain anonymous (please state this clearly on your submission email if this is the case). SCBWI British Isles reserves the right not to award a scholarship if the entries do not meet the required standard. Good luck!

Sue Wallman and Georgina Lippiett

Sue is the conference scholarships organiser. She’s been a member of SCBWI for eight years, and is the award-winning author of YA thrillers Lying About Last Summer, See How They Lie, Your Turn to Die and Dead Popular (August 2019). She’s a former magazine journalist who now works in a secondary school library. If you have any questions about the scholarship, please email her at Visit Sue's website and find her on Twitter.

Georgina Lippiett joined SCBWI a few years ago after enrolling on the MA in Writing for Children at Winchester. SCBWI is such a wonderful, supportive community of like-minded souls, and she is daily amazed by how generous the members are with their time. She loves all things kidlit but mainly writes fiction for 7- to 9-year olds. She also takes real pleasure from watching people develop their skills and confidence, so is thrilled to be part of the conference this year.
Get in touch on Twitter or at


Anne Boyere is part of the Words & Pictures events team, managed by Events Editor Fran Price. Contact:

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.