FROM YOUR EDITOR Outstanding Contribution Awards 2019

Hurrah for all our SCBWI-BI stars!

Sunday morning at the SCBWI conference. A fair bit of bleary-eyed stumbling out of bed in Winchester. It's time to celebrate our SCBWI stars. SCBWI is all about volunteering, and here are the people who make everything you love about SCBWI possible.

Steering Committee

Lou Cliffe-Minns – ARA Member Services
Lou is behind the SCBWI BI’s AMAZING PR machine! She generates fantastic campaigns that engage our community and spread the word about our events. Her creative and friendly outreach has meant so many members have felt welcomed and included in all SCBWI has to offer. Lou is also a longtime contributor of Words & Pictures and, as part of her role, managed and supported the W&P team with enormous grace and enthusiasm.

Marie Basting – ARA Networks
Marie’s leadership in running the Networks regions has been instrumental to growing SCBWI’s local programming. She has successfully recruited countless volunteers all around the British Isles and supported them in creating so many events. She has forged an alliance with the Manchester Metropolitan University’s annual festival and has been growing the northern programming. Her vision, patience and perseverance has helped to make SCBWI accessible to so many more members!

Ashley Taylor – ARA Events
Ashley manages a large team of volunteers who run our events programming outside the Networks. Recently, despite a steep learning curve, with lots of patience and perseverance Ashley took a lead on a new initiative, which is a Facebook experiment to help Undiscovered Voices reach SCBWI members across the UK and EU through livestream events. Ashley's enthusiasm and willingness to help is unparalleled. She gave countless hours to make sure everyone could participate. Her willingness to try new things for the betterment of SCBWI is admirable!

Yay for the ARAs - Lou Cliffe-Minns, Ashley Taylor and Marie Basting (photo credit: courtesy of Lou Cliffe-Minns)


Soni Speight
This year we’ve been lucky to have a new illustrator volunteer join our team as Conference Liaison. Nothing fazes organised and pro-active Soni – from securing fantastic illustrator speakers and industry professionals, to coming up with new ideas for our illustrator programming. We are delighted to welcome Soni into our team, and to announce that she will be stepping up as Illustrator Coordinator for our region.
Soni says, "I was super surprised to receive one, but Ted remains unimpressed."


Sean Noonan
Sean is consistently brilliant. Despite the fact he’s often in far flung corners of the world with dodgy internet access, he manages to build the website, handle every single booking, answer every question fired off to him and pull data and wisdom together whilst making it all look easy. His calm, can-do attitude is a key part of what makes the conference run so smoothly - and we couldn’t be more grateful.

George Kirk 
George has been a key player in the annual conference for years and is invaluable at all stages – from serving as chair, creating the programme, to booking speakers to hosting sessions. Her enthusiasm and knowledge are second to none, and her shoes will be very hard to fill! Her generosity and insider knowledge, and experience, have been a real boon to everyone on the conference team, especially the new co-chairs!

Undiscovered Voices

Simon James Green
In 2016, Simon was one of the most sought after writers featured in Undiscovered Voices, and yet – instead of focusing on his hilarious debut – he decided to give back. He joined the committee and has been a vital member of the team ever since. He’s a creative problem solver, reliable, pragmatic and a downright joy to work with. (But please don’t ask him for his thoughts on Brown’s ‘chicken lollipops’.) We are grateful to Simon for all he does to help fellow writers achieve their dreams of publication.

Words & Pictures

Fran Price
Fran took to the role of W&P's Events Editor like a duck to water. She is a supportive team member, always flexible, dedicated and reliable, and a lovely person to work with!


Paul Morton
Paul stands out for the growing commitment he has shown over the years to our region, contributing his time, efforts, considerable talent and stellar sense of humour. Starting out as an ad-hoc volunteer, Paul coordinates the Advent calendar, has volunteered as conference portfolio coordinator for several years and, most recently, organised the Picture Book Retreat alongside Mike Brownlow. He takes on tasks that may have perhaps been daunting and unfamiliar, but manages it all brilliantly. A true professional, timely, efficient and a wonderful artist, we would like to thank Paul Morton for all that he has done for SCBWI British Isles.

Member Services

Tizzie Frankish
Tizzie writes the 'Debut Diaries – One Year On' feature for Words & Pictures and also runs Twitterchat. #SCBWIchat has been an incredible success. Tizzie brings together stellar guests from the publishing industry and structures the evening through a scheduled Q&A to enable members to ask direct questions and get invaluable insights. The chats are fast-paced and busy – crammed full of top tips and support. Tizzie must have a million windows open and the fastest fingers in the world to keep up. Our Twitter handle has almost 10.5 thousand followers – I am sure in no small part to the hard work of Tizzie and her Twitter Chats. SCBWI innovation at it’s best. Thank you, Tizzie!

BB Taylor
Mel, as she’s known off the screen, is both the Celebrations Editor for Words & Pictures and on the Admin and Moderation team for the SCBWI Facebook page. There’s often a HUGE amount of traffic on the SCBWI Facebook page, which is wonderful! But BB is always there to remind people of the rules of mutual support and sharing, making sure the SCBWI Facebook page remains a positive place with vibrant discussion that remains respectful and continues to grow. At just over 3.4 thousand members – that’s a lot of discussion to help monitor! Thank you BB for always being incredibly responsive, sensitive and wise to our members’ needs.

BB Taylor - at the heart of everything SCBWI (photo credit: Helen Ishmurzin)


Sarah Towle
This year, we’d like to recognize Sarah for her growing contribution to the SPARK Conference programming for self-published authors, and in particular for her innovation in bringing to us the team of KidLit TV, who are promoting and covering the conference live this weekend. This kind of outside-the-box thinking and connecting SCBWI with the world is truly exciting!

Mo O’Hara and Candy Gourlay
Despite becoming increasingly busy with their own blossoming careers Mo and Candy have continued to steadfastly build programming for our published authors and illustrators, as leaders of the PULSE team. Always thinking ahead to how SCBWI members can promote themselves and their books, they have been instrumental in organizing initiatives such as the picture book day, social with librarians and the annual bootcamp for debut authors. Candy and Mo's incredible forward-thinking and altruism in their events supports and empowers members in their careers. Their tireless efforts to connect SCBWI members with librarians who will put our books into the hands of readers are inspirational!


Zoe Thomas
Our Welsh network is going from strength to strength - and it’s all down to Zoe. Not that she’d shout about it. She’d rather get her head down and get on with it, connecting members, putting on fab events and succeeding in one of our more remote, and therefore difficult to manage, networks where others have failed. An absolute star!

Zoe with her award

All-Star Award

Tania Tay
Tania wears multiple hats! Her contribution to our region spans conference party planning, running a Network region, rallying new volunteers and dreaming up new and exciting events. Tania is the glue that holds SCBWI London together. Working across the various events teams, putting on fantastic socials and connecting members old and new, she is always enthusiastic and pragmatic, sorting any problems out with style, finesse and of course a huge smile. She goes above and beyond the call of duty. She sees where things need to be done and does it without needing to be asked. She is always ready to support volunteers, training and running events herself when needed. She is solid gold.

Solid gold Tania Tay leaves the stage (photo credit: Helen Ishmurzin)

All uncredited photos are subject's own.

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