Let’s go behind the scenes at SCBWI-BI to meet the volunteers who keep our society ticking. This month, Addy Farmer chats to Liz Miller. Both are Central North Coordinators.

Hi Liz, please tell us what you write.

I write picture books predominantly but am trying to broaden my writing and am working on a children’s theatre script and some non-fiction projects at the moment.

Do you have a ‘day job’ as well as volunteering and writing?

Yes, I work as a teaching assistant in an Infant's school which is great for keeping me in touch with a 
younger audience.

Liz Miller.

Do you have a writing space?

Hmm, well I do have a desk in my bedroom but it’s always too cluttered to write at (and very cold in the winter!) so I tend to write wherever it’s relatively quiet – kitchen table, computer, the garden on a sunny day, sometimes by the side of a cricket pitch. I spend a lot of time by the side of cricket pitches in summer. I NEVER write in cafes – far too noisy.

How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer? 

Almost since I joined in 2010 as I’m a compulsive volunteer ;) I co-coordinated an online PB critique group with the lovely Lesley Moss many years ago, and was on the conference team working with the equally lovely Addy Farmer coordinating the 1-2-1 reviews. I still work with Addy in Central North as co-cordinator.

Describe the main tasks of your role as a SCBWI volunteer.

I keep an eye on membership emails so that we can welcome new members and let them know what’s happening in the area (pretty good at doing this on time); also writing member newsletters (a bit more sporadic with these!). I also organise the Brunch meet ups – all obviously online at the moment. It will be lovely to see people in person again when we can. 

'I spend a lot of time by the side of cricket pitches in summer.'

Do you do any other volunteering? 

I’m a volunteer coach for Read Easy which provides free 1-2-1 reading coaching for adults. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done and I can get quite emotional sometimes seeing my reader’s progress. 

What are the advantages of being a volunteer? 

Learning that agents and editors aren’t scary people at all, well not in children’s writing anyway!

Liz and Addy Farmer, joint Central North Coordinators.

How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

Not nearly as much time as I did when I was on the conference team. Always be kind and lovely to the conference team – they work soooooo hard.

What’s your favourite children’s book?

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce – one of my very favourite authors; his books are warm, funny and always incredibly poignant, but I have great memories of reading this to both of my younger boys and crying with laughter together.

*All photos courtesy of Liz Miller


Liz Miller
has been a SCBWI member since 2010. She was advised it would be the single best thing she could do to improve her writing and it has been. She’s also met some truly lovely, generous people along the way. Liz volunteers for too many things, sometimes works as a teaching assistant and writes picture book stories, which she hopes to see published one day. She is frequently inspired by the writing and illustration journeys of those lovely, generous SCBWI members.


Addy Farmer 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!


The header image is by Irene Silvino, 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


Fran Price is an editor for Words & Pictures magazine. Contact her at


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