This month, Network News Editor, Anne Boyere, highlights the London Network.

Name: London

Counties: Greater London - but it's fairly loose. Plenty of people commute in for events, and after-work socials are attended by people who work in London, but might live in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

Key contacts: If you're on Facebook, the best place to find the London Network is by joining the members-only Facebook group. The network also has a thriving book club. As SCBWI London has got over 400 local members, unlike most networks it's down to the members to sort their own crit groups, but there is a noticeboard on the Facebook group where you can look for groups you might want to join.

Event Highlights

Obviously lockdown has limited face-to-face meets, but SCBWI London holds an online writer's cafe every Thursday on Facebook - just leave the page open, and let the group know your aims for the day!

Earlier on in the year, the network also held a 1-2-1 event in February, squeaking in just before the lockdown happened. Larisa Villar Hauser and Ayesha Braganza organised the event at Holy Trinity School, Sloane Square which proved the perfect venue with a suitably child-centric feel. Agents Becky Bagnell, Megan Caroll, Zoë Plant, Laura West and Emily Talbot gave helpful and considered feedback to a number of SCBWI members writing a variety of picture books, middle-grade, and young adult fiction. The event was supportive and fun.

The network extends their thanks to Jamie Greenwood, Tania Tay, Jenny Rees, Lisa Montgomery, and Mandy Rabin who helped with the venue and the day's logistics.

SCBWI London is hoping, as the restrictions are eased, to hold a socially distanced picnic a little later in the summer as the first in-person meetup of the new era.

London Members News

The SCBWI London members have been very active during lockdown with a lot of writing and illustrating getting done under the radar, but they've also had some more public successes!

Well done to Michael Mann who's just secured a two-book deal with Hachette for his magical adventure set in an alternative London, Ghostcloud.

Ayesha Braganza has just signed with Philippa Milnes-Smith of The Soho Agency .

Meanwhile, illustrator, Niki Leonidou has been working on two books for Susaeta, based in Athens, Greece.

Niki says:

I have to admit I have been very busy during the lockdown. I had started working on two projects (for the same publisher) just before it all happened. I was really grateful to know that they were not cancelled and there was still a lot of work to be done!

The first one is the fabulous story of Theseus, consisting of 20 double spreads. Niki had to do a lot of research regarding clothes, palaces in Athens and in Minoan Crete etc. Below are two spreads showing the scene where Theseus fights Minotauros and Theseus becoming king of Athens.


The second project Niki worked on was simple illustrations in Illustrator. The colouring books will be printed in such a way that when the child adds water on the brush and starts painting, the image in colour emerges again and again. So, technically, the books last forever!

Niki explained,

The challenge with these books was that although they had to be done in Illustrator, I hadn't worked on this program since college... which was many many years ago! So, in order to take the job I did some super-condensed online tutorials on Illustrator. This was super-exciting for me to be honest! The result was great and the publisher loved it! Below are a couple of images.


Volunteers Updates

The London network is currently looking for a new Network Organiser to work alongside Christian Darkin in organising social events. Jamie Greenwood, who has been a great volunteer over the past year is moving up to Birmingham, so won't be able to continue being quite so involved, so if anyone is interested in filling his shoes, please drop Christian a line ( He'd love to hear from you.

Header image: Niki Leonidou

Niki Leonidou has been an illustrator since 2001 with more than 180 books with her work published worldwide, including Greece, the US and UK. Her picture book, Looking for Misty, both written and illustrated by her, was nominated for the Keycolours Award for Best Picture book Concept in Belgium, 2014. See more of  Niki's work here or find her on Twitter.


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 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 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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