This month, Network News editor Anne Boyere highlights the South East network.

Name: South East

Counties: Kent, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight.

Key Contacts: Marianna Reed Barber is the Network Organiser for South East, which is a very active network with many regional contacts - Cole Burke in Brighton, Louisa Glancy in Canterbury, Elizabeth Dale in Chichester, Nick Berry in Guildford, Sara Netherway in the Isle of Wight, Alice Nuttall in Oxford, Sue Rawlings in Petersfield, Kate Poels and Holly Butcher respectively for Reading and Reading West, Summer Quigley in Southampton, Kate Walker in Tilehurst, Margaret Sturton in Winchester, Chloe Nicoll in Witney, Sharon Davey in Woking, Sally Rowe in Wokingham. All can be contacted on and via the FB group SCBWI South East BI

General news, publications and new representation 

Alice Nuttal from the Oxford group says:

We don't have a lot of news, beyond the group expanding to seven members (up from three at the end of last year) - it's been great to meet new Oxford-based writers and see their work. We're all writers, and there's a fairly even split of fantasy/contemporary stories being written by the group at the moment. 

A lot has happened in Chichester! Elizabeth Dale shared with us that Chichester has had many new members – Anne Caine, Kate Thompson, Lynn Taylor and Lexi Rees have joined in the last twelve months. It’s been a good time for Early Readers writers in the group - Jenny Jinks has had ten books published recently, Jill Atkins has had twenty-nine and Elizabeth Dale has had five. And they all have more due to come out soon! In addition, Jill Atkins’s book, Votes for Women, for 9-11-year-olds was published last autumn. Lexi Rees recently published Creative Writing Skills: Over 70 fun activities which has been a consistent best-seller on Amazon. She is also about to publish The Book Dragon Club, an exciting activity book for young bookworms.

Picture book news too with the plublication, in September, of Kate Thompson’s picture book Superheroes Don’t Get ScaredAnne Caine has had her first book accepted -  a picture book entitled Fidget and Fart. Elizabeth Dale has four picture books coming out this year – Trailblazer, Billy and The Balloons, Delightfully Different Dilly, and Chase Those Witches! and last year she won the Northern Lights Award and was a runner up in the Creative Play Book Awards for her picture book Save The Day for Ada May. Lizzie Strong was highly commended in the SCBWI Slushpile challenge. Kathryn Evans's book Beauty Sleep was published last year and has been shortlisted for the Lancashire book of the year, The Portsmouth Book Award and the Steam Prize for fiction.

Philippa Francis (aka K. M. Lockwood) has recently been appointed an editor at Golden Egg. Some Words & Pictures readers might know Philippa for the Tales from the Garret she posts each week on her blog, along with #AnEditorReviews - reports on books with a touch of fairytale, fantasy and folklore, plus she's a frequent contributor to Words & Pictures

In Woking, Sharon Davey tells us that the first hardback edition of  I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End, published in February, illustrated by Sharon and written by Emma Perry, sold out in just under two weeks! Barbara Godwin is working on her epic story The Moon of Evermoor and is tantalisingly close to the end of book two. New members Stephanie and Marisa have been a welcome addition to our group; excellent writers and critique partners. Laura Claire had a baby boy and we got to see gorgeous pictures. Emily Yearsley is heroically still writing after moving house with a toddler in tow! We'd like to offer a little nod to one of our founding member Shelley, who has been unwell. We are sending our best healing words.  

In Wokingham, members have been busy too! Sally Rowe shared the following news with Words & Pictures:
Wokingham Critique group has been active and, as ever, encouraging each other in quantity, quality and bravery to get things out there. They've also been expanding and trialing a new format of meeting together at beginning and end of the session but splitting into two groups in the middle to accommodate everyone who wants to submit work for critiquing. They have helped seed a new group in Tilehurst and, whilst they are sad to lose a regular member, are happy that all the positives of a crit group can be shared. The group has social evenings too and have enjoyed both a meal out in a restaurant and a very successful ‘bring and share’ Christmas party in a member’s home. Sally Pardieu has been snapped up for representation by Jo Williamson of the Anthony Harwood Agency. Many of the group supported the Bracknell and Wokingham Library Book Festival (organised by the wonderful Elizabeth McDonald) again this year as speakers (Kat Charman), panel members (Sally Rowe, Mary Rosambeau) and volunteers. Kat Charman has been selected to share her knowledge with Write Mentor Writing Weekends. 

Mary Rosambeau is energetically promoting her book, Secrets and Spies.

I have caught the eye of senior citizen groups as they share my childhood wartime experiences and apparently love the book. Have done four groups this month already. Also doing secondary schools and some more down the line.

Dave Barker has been reading his latest WIP to the year 8 Reading Club at his daughter’s school – every other Tuesday, he shares two to three chapters and get feedback from them on the story and the main protagonist’s voice (a 13-year-old girl). And he’s going along to the Wokingham Library Teen Creative Writing club on Saturday 14th March to talk to the group about how to write openings. 

Sally says:

And we are thrilled that one of our group has given birth to a beautiful baby boy. We look forward to having a cuddle when the Covid-19 situation is safely under control.

Some awards and prize-winner news! Mary Rosambeau’s Secrets and Spies has been long-listed finalist for The Wishing Shelf competition which is judged by school pupils. Microraptor by Philip Kavvadias received a highly commended in the slush pile challenge in W&P and Becky Bagnell asked for the full manuscript to read. Fingers crossed. 

Sally Pardieu completed her MA in Children’s at Bath Spa University, was awarded the United Artists’ 'Most promising writer' 2019 Prize. She has also been awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship travelling to Australia and North America to research ‘unleashing the power of storytelling and creativity in engineering.

Kat Charman has published new titles in both her Survival Tails and Last Firehawk series and her picture books illustrated by Nick Sharratt.

Notable literary locations

So many! 

  • Guildford has a close connection to Lewis Carroll. The Alice's Adventures in Wonderland author is celebrated around the river and castle area with some beautiful brass sculptures and maybe a rabbit hole or two!
  • Jane Austen is supposed to have based Sanditon on Worthing and Jane herself actually lived in the current Pizza Express building.
  • HG Wells's grandparents were landlords of the Fountain pub in Chichester.
  • William Blake lived in a cottage in Felpham and wrote Jerusalem there while awaiting his trial for treason.
  • James Joyce wrote part of Finnegan’s Wake while staying in Clarence Street, Bognor Regis. 
  • Kate Mosse lives and is inspired by the coastal areas around Chichester. 
  • And perhaps most importantly of all, much of Kathryn Evans book Beauty Sleep is set in a school outside Brighton, and Spitbank Fort is a key location in the second book of Lexi Rees’s middle-grade adventure series, The Relic Hunters!
  • Oxford is spoiled for choice when it comes to literary locations, but Alice said she was currently reading reading Philip Pullman's Book of Dust , so she picked the canal boatyard as her current favourite location. 

Fun facts

In Chichester, members are mainly writers, though they have one member who does both – and another is potentially an illustrator, too. They are  a mixture of coffee and tea-drinkers, night owls and early birds and judging from previous meetings’ nibbles they are great fans of chocolate chip cookies. Amazing fact! – Jill Atkins’ hundredth book was published last year and she’s fast approaching 150!

Woking boasts three illustrators in the group alongside some brilliant writers of picture books, middle grade and YA. All they need is a non-fiction writer to complete the set.  

Wokingham's Dave Barker shares that he is:

Definitely an early bird. Chocolate hob nobs. Word. Writer (allegedly). About to appear in ‘Allo ‘Allo as the forger Leclerc for the Quince Players.

And Sally Rowe designed and illustrated the ‘SCBWI 20 years’ logo that we currently use (with the tortoise and birthday cake),

Highlighting South East members

In Chichester, Kathryn Evans is co-regional advisor of SCBWI British Isles, sharing the job with Natascha Biebow, but she also set up the Chichester group some years ago, with Philippa Francis. The group numbers have swelled since then but it still has the same supportive, sharing ethos. Everyone helped Kathryn celebrate when her debut YA More of Me, published by Usborne in 2016 - that book was shortlisted for multiple regional awards, won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award and the SCBWI Crystal Kite and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. 

Kathryn's new book Beauty Sleep, has been shortlisted for many awards as detailed before. She's currently working hard to try and finish her third book, but has been slightly sidetracked by a project to help young people during this awful time. Our Corona Diary is a website that will become a hub to collate the myriad of resources being posted by artists to enable young people to have a creative response to the Corona outbreak that will ultimately be turned into a book. A dedicated website can be found here. Follow the project on Twitter and Instagram  and via the hashtag #OurCoronaDiary. Get in touch if you have diary focused resources that can help.

From the Wokingham group, Sally Rowe says:

I’d like to highlight Sally Pardieu as a member whose hard work has really come together this last year. She completed her MA in Children’s Writing at Bath Spa University and was awarded the United Artists’ Most Promising Writer 2019 Prize. She's been awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship, travelling to Australia and North America to research ‘unleashing the power of storytelling and creativity in engineering’ and has been snapped up for representation by Jo Williamson of the Anthony Harwood Agency. 
She can be followed on Twitter.

In Woking, Marisa Noelle is a new member for SCBWI Woking. Her YA writing is vibrant and entertaining, with a quick pace and energetic characters. The Unadjusteds was out in November 2019 and she has another book coming out this year too.  
You can find her on Twitter or her website.

Header image: Sharon Davey

Sharon Davey is a children’s illustrator based in Surrey, England. She loves to draw grumpy kids and comical animals. Sharon enjoys sliding down stairs on her bottom and collecting plastic dinosaurs. If she’s not at her desk working you can find her dancing in her kitchen. She is represented by Plum Pudding Illustration Agency in all things publishing. Sharon  has worked for a variety of clients in the past two years including David Fickling Books, New Frontier Publishing, Oxford University Press, Bloomsbury and Usborne. You can see more of Sharon’s work here.


Anne is a writer and a breastfeeding counsellor. She is fluent in English and French but, please, don't ask her to do maths in English or her brain will fry. You can ask her about her four children, husband and cat and she will happily tell you all about them until you beg for mercy. She won the 2018 Winchester's Writers' Festival prize in Funny Fiction for her story about a grandmother were-cow and was shortlisted in the Writers & Artists' Writing for Children and YA 2019 competition. In her spare time, she murders violin pieces or dreams about being invited to Desert Island Discs (spoiler: her book of choice would be Eloise).
Twitter: @AmusedNonQueen

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