SCBWI BI CONFERENCE 2022 Friday Fringe

Author, Dom Conlon, and SCBWI BI's Assistant Regional Advisor, Catherine Whitmore, have arranged a fabulous Friday Fringe for writers and illustrators featuring Stagger and Jabber & Crawl and Scrawl events, with stops at the beautiful Portico Library and Manchester Art Gallery.

In November 2019 I hefted my rucksack onto my back, brushed the last of the pastry crumbs from my beard, and walked to Winchester train station. With me I took a pile of books - including Rashmi Sirdeshpande’s wonderful ‘How to be Extraordinary’, Matt Killeen’s ‘Orphan Monster Spy’, Marie Basting's 'Princess BMX', and Louisa Reid’s ‘Gloves Off’. I also took memories which would, I hoped, be enough to carry me through until the 2020 Conference.

Of course, that’s when the world changed.

And carried on changing.

SCBWI adapted to the plot twist by going online and by the unprecedented sharing of stories, art, and expertise, which helped - almost - to fill the void.

In 2022 we will be meeting once again at a physical conference. This time we’re in Manchester. It’s a strange new world indeed, but one in which writers and illustrators will play their part. And to help with this, the Friday Fringe is also back with a focus on finding your power.

In the years between conferences we’ve lost members and we’ve gained members. One does not balance the other, but in uniting the thoughts of the former with the energy of the latter we will, I hope, create a new power.

During the Friday afternoon members are invited to either the Crawl and Scrawl (for illustrators) or the… umm… Stagger and Jabber (it’s for writers and that’s the best name I can think of). Both options begin at 2pm and both will draw inspiration from Manchester’s rich history.

Manchester Art Gallery

Illustrators will have the opportunity to explore over 46,000 objects of fine art, sculpture and costume at Manchester Art Gallery!

Portico Library

Writers will be guided through the beautiful Portico Library (2pm), the Central Library (3pm) and finish at the Poetry Library from 4pm.

Hyatt Hotel, Manchester 

It’s the evening shindig where the Conference will really shine though. A pre-party party, if you like. If you’re new to SCBWI or (like me) simply a bit rusty, then come along to BrewDog Outpost, below the Hyatt Hotel on Oxford Road at 6pm and strike up a conversation. You will be made welcome. You will be asked what you’re working on, what you want to work on, why you even want to work on anything. You will be among people who are interested in you, united in the love of creating stories for children. The Friday Fringe really is the perfect place to take a breath, shake off any pre-conference nerves, and enter through the wardrobe.

Dom Conlon (with the beard) with Catherine Whitmore (usually without beard) hope to see you there!

* Header image: Tita Berredo
* Art Gallery photo credit: Andrew Brooks
* Photo credit: Portico Library
* Photo credit:


Catherine Whitmore is a mum and rarely-evil-step-mother from Greater Manchester who has been a member and volunteer for SCBWI for about ten years and ARA for Networks for two years. She enjoys family time (on the whole), Liane Moriarty and a boxset binge. Represented by Polly Nolan. | @purewhitty

Dom is a disabled, hat-wearing, thought-thinking, cake-eating poet and author whose books have been nom nom nominated (sorry, still thinking about cake there) for the Carnegie and the Greenaway medals. He’s a bit of a work in progress but has written books such as Meet Matilda Rocket Builder, This Rock That Rock, and the Wild Wanderers series. The books (not him) have been praised by Chris Riddell, Brian Bilston, Nicola Davies, Robin Ince and even the European Space Agency, so that’s a bit smashing. He’s also written for Ladybird, Puffin, and the BBC as well as interviewing people on stage, giving talks at Hay Festival, and even appearing on television to discuss the importance of libraries. | @dom_conlon


Stephanie Cotela is the new Network News & Events Editor for Words & Pictures magazine.

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