Let's go behind the scenes at SCBWI-BI to meet the volunteers who keep our Society ticking. This month, Catherine Whitmore chats to Addy FarmerCentral North Coordinator.

Hi Addy and welcome to Words & Pictures! Can you tell us a bit about what you write?

I write funny, slightly odd middle grade as well as empathetic and probably sad, shorter fiction and picture books. I hope I land somewhere in the middle with my work being subbed at the moment, Wilfreda and the Werecat, which is oddly funny with heart. I love research and have been delving into narrative non-fiction and non-fiction. I sometimes get to work with partners like Child Bereavement UK and Amphibian and Reptile Trust to create stories for particular readers. 

Addy Farmer.

Do you have another job as well as writing?

I run creative outdoor workshops for families and children with organisations like Landscape Partnership and with schools (more online at the mo). I also run a tiny holiday cottage – staycations here we come!

I used to teach Primary and I felt very much in touch with childrens' lives. Now, the workshops are fantastic for reminding myself about what readers might be interested in. I also volunteer for a literacy trust which is a big help in keeping up with tastes in reading.

Addy's writing space.

How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

I have been volunteering for the SCBWI for about 18 years now. It began when I lived in Belgium and had my third baby, and I was starting to write seriously again (as you do). I wanted help (!) and found SCBWI Belgium and the lovely Jane Clarke. When I returned to the UK, I went to a SCBWI session at Sara Grant's flat in London and volunteered on the spot. I think I was then SCBWI North and Jane was SCBWI South! As SCBWI regions developed, I took on Central North as a coordinator; a role I now share with my very good friend, Liz Miller. We eventually both ended up sharing the conference 1-2-1 role which was really quite busy. What do we do as coordinators? Organise the monthly crit and chat, arrange events and have a lot of fun chatting.

The SCBWI Central North Christmas social. Addy is the snowman.

Has volunteering affected your writing career?

It’s been amazing. I have made industry contacts, made great, great friends and been supported in my writing. Yes, it is a commitment but the rewards of doing what I do far outweigh the graft. Everyone should give it a go. A little volunteering is massively appreciated. 

* All photos courtesy of Addy Farmer


Addy is published with Walker and Random House. She wrote two picture books which were adapted for music and theatre. She has won awards with New Writing North, WriteMentor and Mslexia. Her latest book, I Love You, Sunshine, was developed with Child Bereavement UK. Her next book, Little Peat will be about a railway engine!


Catherine Whitmore is a mum and rarely evil step-mother from Greater Manchester living in Cheshire. Hook winner 2018, she writes YA and is represented by Polly Nolan at PaperCuts Literacy Agency. She’s had a short play about football performed at The Lowry Theatre, Salford. Her happy places are family holidays, eating halloumi in cafes with writing buddies, the moment a gym class ends and watching football with her dad and brother. You can find her on Twitter @PureWhitty.


The header image is by Irene Silvino. Irene is an illustrator based in London, and founder of Editartz. She loves to illustrate people (especially focusing on their feelings and emotions), nature and animals. Find her at

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to add as a P.S. that I've now signed to Darley Anderson with the excellent Chloe Davis.


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