This month, Network News Editor, Janey Robinson, highlights the North East Network

As Autumn creeps in we turn our sights to another inspiring SCBWI network, the North East. With the help of Network Organiser Natalie Yates find out what the region's creatives have been up to; from workshops in York and making sock animals, to welcoming new members and an apprentice witch.  

Name: North East

Counties: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Yorkshire

Key Contacts: Natalie Yates took over as Network Co-ordinator in January 2019 and is assisted by Michael Cail for the York meetings. The regional contacts for Newcastle are Claire O'Brien and Marie-Claire Imam-Gutierrez. All are contactable via 

Event Highlights:

Along with critique group meetings in February, March and May, we have held two workshops, highlighted below.

> 7 Steps to Plotting and Pacing with Em Lynas at York Central library in April: Maureen took us through the seven steps to plotting, which can be applied to any book or film. We analysed classic books such as Pride and Prejudice and Where the Wild Things Are, then took a good look at our own WIPs. Several light bulb moments were had on the day with various elements of our work, such as plot holes and where to set our 'ticking bombs'.

> World Building with James Nicol at York Central library in June: James talked through how he built the world for his Apprentice Witch series and how much of the world was drawn from his own childhood memories. He took us through the elements of world building and ways to develop them. We mind-mapped the elements to our WIPs and analysed how these affected our characters. We also learned what to do when stuck with our world building and how not to trip up, for instance where physical objects are placed and magic rules for example.

> Two exciting North East events to look out for this Autumn:

Lynne Chapman Illustrator Workshop - Saturday 5 October, 10:00 - 15:15 at Central Library, York. Lynne will give an illustrated lecture about her path into children’s illustration, via greetings cards and editorial. This will be followed by a practical workshop, where we will look at ways to create ideas for exciting portfolio pieces.

Patrice Lawrence workshop - Writing for Others - Saturday 16 November, 11:00 - 16:00 at Central Library, York. Join award-wining author Patrice Lawrence for an essential workshop on writing outside of your own experiences. Through discussion and exercises, we will explore ways in to writing characters that have different life experiences and backgrounds to our own.

North East Member News: 

James Nicol launched the final book in the Apprentice Witch series, A Witch Come True, published March 2019. Set in a magical world the series stars young witch Arianwyn Gribble, who is never far from trouble.

Dawn Treacher was selected as part of the 12 strong shortlist of authors to attend David Higham Associates' second open day for writers from under-represented backgrounds.

Dawn Treacher (sixth from right) at the DHA Open Day for writers from under-represented backgrounds
Our area has grown with many new members joining this year. At our last critique group meeting, we welcomed three new members, two of which are illustrators. It was lovely to see samples of their work.

Highlighting a North West member: Dawn Treacher

© Dawn Treacher
Dawn Treacher is an active member of the NE group of SCBWI. She writes middle grade fantasy adventure stories and picture books. She trained in picture book illustration and had her first picture book, Mouse Pirate, published in 2017. This year, she was lucky enough to be selected to attend the DHA Open day for under-represented children's book writers, with a submission from her latest work in progress. She found it an exceptionally invaluable experience, with very welcoming agents and staff who put on a whole range of talks relating to submissions and insider information on all aspects of the publication process. They each had a 1 to 1 with an agent who gave them very detailed and helpful feedback on their submissions.

When Dawn's not writing she's recreating fellow authors' book characters in plush, Treacher Creatures, they are one of a kind sock creatures, soft sculptures and Amigurumi creatures.

A notable literary location: Yorkshire Moors

Yorkshire Moors. Picture credit: Liz Flanagan
The beautiful county of Yorkshire has inspired many a literary writer, from Whitby Abbey for Bram Stoker's Dracula to the Yorkshire moors for the Bronte sisters.

More recently the moors have also inspired author Liz Flanagan in her novel Eden Summer, where Jess retraces her steps over the summer months to determine why her best friend Eden has gone missing.

The header artwork is by Durham based illustrator Howard Gray. Before Howard decided to become an illustrator, he was a zoologist working with a team studying whales and dolphins in Arabia. After completing his PhD on dolphin genetics he thought he would give his dream job of becoming an illustrator one more go. To his surprise, things have been going well, and he is currently represented by Bright, working on a few exciting fiction and non-fiction projects. Howard produces his artwork digitally while incorporating traditional elements, such as watercolour washes and painterly textures, to give his artwork a traditional feel. Twitter: @hwigray / Instagram: @hgray_illustrator 

Janey Robinson is the Network News Editor for Words & Pictures. A SCBWI member since 2015, Janey mainly writes picture books with YA fantasy a more recent passion. She lives in North London but escapes to wide open spaces whenever possible, particularly places where you can see the Milky Way on a clear night. Twitter: @sjlrobinson

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