SCBWI-BI CONFERENCE 2022 Meet the Team


SCBWI volunteer Anna Gamble introduces some of the members of this year’s 
conference team and who you need to contact if you have any questions.


When I heard the annual SCBWI conference was to be held in Manchester this year (in person!), there was no doubt I was going to have to get myself there. And what better way to experience my first SCBWI conference than to do so as a volunteer on the conference committee!

 It’s already been a real pleasure to join such a committed team of volunteers as they busily enlist some fantastic speakers and prepare some delights for you all. I’m thrilled to have been asked to introduce the conference committee of 2022, and here they are…


Our Co-Chairs: 

Chairing the conference is definitely a job for two, and this year Marie Basting and Alison Gardiner are heading up the team.

Marie is the author of the much-loved Princess BMX, and her #BeMoreBMX school and festival events have inspired thousands of children to smash stereotypes and defy expectations. She’s also an associate lecturer, writing mentor and long-time SCBWI volunteer, having been an Assistant Regional Advisor. 

Marie Basting, Conference Co-Chair

Alison is the author of MG fantasies The Serpent of Eridor and Alchemy, writes picture books and YF, and is a seasoned presenter at schools. She’s been a SCBWI volunteer for many years. Doctor, mother, radio voice performer, writer, reasonable cook, terrible gardener (ironically), Alison finds fun in all her roles. 

Alison Gardiner, Conference Co-Chair

They have both worked tirelessly, already organising a new venue and pulling together the team to produce an exciting programme and there’s much more to come! 

Writers’ Programme: 

Tania Tay is a long serving volunteer with SCBWI having run the London Network, the Writers Retreat and edited a column in Words & Pictures. This year she has been vital in developing our conference programme as our speaker coordinator for the writers, including enlisting our fabulous keynote author, Alex Wheatle


Tania Tay, Speaker Coordinator (Writers)

Illustrators' Programme: 

Paul Morton has put his lengthy conference and illustration experience to task and pulled together an exciting programme for our illustrators and author-illustrators this year, led by our very exciting keynote, Jim Field. We also have some top industry professionals delivering talks and workshops thanks to Paul’s hard work, including speakers who can offer the best possible advice about how to succeed in the world of illustration. 

Paul Morton, Illustration Programming

Pulse/Spark Programme: 

Mo O’Hara returns once again to lead on our PULSE/SPARK Programme aimed at our published members. Mo is another long serving SCBWI volunteer and has been on the Conference Committee for over ten years. This year she has organised some fantastic sessions including two inspirational keynote speakers, Karen Sands-O’Connor and Darren Chetty. 

Mo O'Hara, PULSE/SPARK Programming

1-1s and Portfolio Reviews: 

Camilla Chester has been a key part of the conference team for a few years now, previously as the FOH font of knowledge. This year she has been working hard to bring the best agents and editors to the conference. Both Camilla and the wider team can help you with 1-1 reviews in the lead up and on the day. More information to come! 

Camilla Chester, Coordinator 1-1 Reviews

Mike Brownlow is once again assisting on the illustration programme and is organising the 1-1 illustrator reviews. Like Camilla, he and Paul are working hard to invite a range of professionals to the conference so they can match illustrators with the right reviewer. More information to follow on who is coming and how to book your place! 

Mike Brownlow, Coordinator 1-1 Illustrator Reviews

Our wider event team: 

Natalie Yates is Writing Features Editor for Words & Pictures and joins the conference team this year heading up our Front of House Team. She and her team will be on hand to help with anything you need to know over the conference weekend, and she will no doubt be applying the cool head of a secondary teaching assistant to the task. 

Natalie Yates, Front of House Lead

Sean Noonan is our Bookings Coordinator once more. He’s been an active member of SCBWI since 2010 and this will be his fifth conference as a volunteer. Sean can help with all your booking related queries and is our website wizard too! 


Sean Noonan, Bookings Coordinator

Dom Conlon returns to the team again this year to coordinate the much-loved Friday Fringe. He will no doubt apply his hat wearing, thought thinking, word wobbling mind to the task and bring us all a treat! 

Dom Conlon, Friday Fringe Coordinator

Anna Cole is running the Saturday night party and is busy bouncing ideas around the team to coordinate a memorable event where we can all get our glad rags on and dress up! This year’s party theme is 'Manchester Through the Ages', so whether you’re clad in flares and psychedelic waistcoat or sporting a Gallagher mop you’ll fit right in. (Fancy dress is optional – as many do as don’t, so no pressure!) 

Anna Cole, Saturday Night and Pitch Coordinator

Clare Bell is overseeing the Crystal Kite Awards this year. She is also the person to contact about the Mass Book Launch (which takes place on the Saturday night). She joined SCBWI in 2004 and has been joint coordinator of the Central West region since then and will be putting her experience to coordinating this very popular event! 

Clare Bell, Crystal Kite & Mass Book Launch

Philip Kavvadias is managing the various Scholarships we have for the conference. These allow us to offer places to authors and illustrators who would not be able to attend otherwise and are a vital part of the conference. Please do contact Philip if you have any questions. 

Philip Kavvadias, Scholarships Coordinator

Our Co-Regional Advisers, Natascha Biebow and Kathryn Evans and Assistant RAs, BB Taylor, Catherine Whitmore and Ashley Taylor are also working hard to bring you an exciting festival. Catherine in particular was integral in securing our new venue at Manchester Met and helping to get things up and running. Tita Berrido is also bringing her graphic design skills to the team and there will be more volunteers who join the team along the way too (if you’re interested, do get in touch!). As the first in-person conference since 2019 it’s set to be an exciting event and we look forward to making it one to remember! They certainly have been in the past!

See you in November!


We're hoping to open bookings mid-August and will be announcing further details about the programme over the coming weeks. We'll be sure to spread the word when bookings do open so watch out for updates on the SCBWI Twitter page! 


Anna Gamble’s finest moment was performing Beckett in a wheelie bin dressed as a clown. She’s quite new to SCBWI, only joining in 2020, so hasn’t met anyone in person yet. Volunteering seems like the perfect way to attend the conference as a newbie and Anna is helping with website content and PR. She is also Social Media Editor for Words & Pictures and has been pursuing a career in publishing (editing and agenting) since her youngest started school. She hopes to find time for her own writing one day . . . | @anna_gamble_

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