SCBWI-BI Conference 2019 — Curiouser and curiouser

Welcome curious newbies to your first ever SCBWI Conference! Co-chair Tracy Liennard, aka Queen of Hearts, has some tips for making the most of it. 

First things first. If you haven't already, join the Facebook group — Newbies and Lone Rangers:  SCBWI-BI Conference 2019  this is a group for anyone and everyone coming to this year's conference on their own and/or for the first time. It's a great place to make connections before the weekend of the conference, ask questions and share information. Find it here.

Take the opportunity to attend the newbie specific events. We know what it's like when you go to a new event for the first time, it feels like everyone else has a pre-made network of buddies, knows exactly how everything works and where to go. This is why we have some events specifically for newbies, to help you settle in, make friends and get the lay of the land.

There is the newbie walk around from 4.15 pm on Friday 1st November outside the cathedral main entrance. You get a tour of the town and the university (including the party location), a chance to meet fellow newbies and generally orientate yourself at the Conference.

Co-chairs Tracy Liennard (left) and Georgina Lippiett try on outfits for Saturday's party.
(Picture credit: Kate Cole of Hampshire Wardrobe.)

There are also the regular fringe activities which are a great way to immerse yourself into the conference spirit. This includes the Scrawl Crawl on Friday! This event has proved so popular we have split it into two sessions. Choose either the 12pm or 2pm session (they are identical so don’t attend both).

For illustrators there is the Drink and Draw Social 2pm to 4pm. And there is also the Friday night crit which is a great way to break the ice and get into the feel of the conference. It regularly attracts over 80 conference attendees each year. You get feedback on your work, the chance to meet fellow Scoobies, make friends with local writers — what's not to love?!

Meet Your Network  Saturday morning 8.45 - 9.30 am - this is a chance to meet up with your local network organisers and volunteers. If you let the lovely front of house team know you are a newbie on Saturday morning at registration, they will show you where to go. Then it's time to get stuck into the conference itself!

(Picture credit: Tracy Liennard.)

Top Tips

  • Talk to people! Make friends, make connections, research the agent you really want to talk to and go talk to them (but not in the toilet cubicle - there are limits).
  • Know your timetable. Forgotten which workshops you signed up for? Never fear, when you register we can guide you to the notice board which lists everyone's choices.      
  • Know when your lunch sitting is. We have two sittings for lunch, we will tell you which one you are due to attend on Saturday morning when you register.     
  • Check out the videos we have posted on youtube to help you prepare and get the most out of your conference. Here and here.

The Party

To dress up, or not to dress up? We have all types — from those who really go for it to others who hate dressing up and everything in between. So you can feel totally comfortable whatever you decide to do or whatever you decide to go as.

(Picture credit: Georgina Lippiett.)

Things to bring

Layers! It gets cold outside but warm in the auditorium.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - the University doesn't provide paper cups so please remember to bring your own favourite coffee mug/water bottle. We do have SCBWI coffee mugs you can purchase if you forget.

Notebook or laptop?  The chances are you will want to make notes in the workshops, during the keynotes, so bring a notebook or laptop.

And finally… 

Enjoy yourself. Conference comes but once a year and it's the best chance to hone your craft, celebrate your successes, meet like-minded creatives and rub shoulders with industry professionals.  Stay curious!

*Header image:


Tracy Liennard has been a member of SCBWI for three years and this is her second year on the Conference Committee. As co-chair she has been supporting the speaker co-ordinators and finance function and will be hosting the speed dating session. Her day job as a civil servant involves working on the challenges of Brexit. Everything else in life seems simple by comparison. She has spent enough time drinking tea in cafes to have just finished writing her first young adult manuscript. She also writes picture books.


Fran Price is Events Editor for Words & Pictures, the online magazine for SCBWI-BI. Contact her at

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