SCBWI Faces goes behind the scenes to meet the volunteers who keep our Society ticking. This month, Tita Berredo chats to Anna Gamble, Social Media Editor for Words & Pictures.

Anna has been fascinated by the magic of stories since she was a girl and followed it into a career in the arts. She joined SCBWI in 2020 and became a volunteer in 2021. As well as Social Media Editor, she recently joined the conference committee. When her day job as a teaching assistant, her young family, her uncontrollable home and her pursuit of a publishing career allows, she writes MG and picture books and hopes one day a child will hold her book in their heart for a while… or perhaps forever. 

What do you write?

Lately, mostly shopping lists, job applications, sentences on whiteboards, book reviews, and the odd editorial note! I write MG when I can (I have lots of ‘beginnings’!) and I’ve tried my hand at a few picture books too, but if I’m honest, my heart lies in editorial. There’s nothing quite like having a fully formed manuscript to work with and skipping straight to the "sandcastles"! 

I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.

Shannon Hale 

I love helping authors to find ways to really make a story shine and grasp the hearts, heads, wits (whatever it might be) of readers. Saying that, I still quietly long to share a story that’s come from my heart with the world. 

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

I’m a teaching assistant in my children’s primary school working with 5 and 6-year-olds. It’s very rewarding and, of course, sharing stories is my favourite part of it, and teaching phonics. It’s wonderful to watch children grasp meaning in stories through words and pictures and begin to master reading. It never stops amazing me how even the most excitable or distracted group of children can become entranced as a (good) story begins… whether told or read to them, it’s like magic! I also try to squeeze some freelance publishing work around this. As much as I love working with children, I am looking for secure work in publishing.

Describe your writing space.

It’s a little haven filled with inspiring words, totems of childhood and creativity and some of my writing and editing books. Put differently… it’s a desk in the alcove of our bedroom that is often piled high with washing, random toys and teddies, and books of every kind! Alas, it’s more often the latter, but… it’s not messy, it’s artistic right?

How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

Two and a half years. Although I lurked around the SCBWI Facebook page for a couple of years before that (might have been kicked out once and then tiptoed back in!). I finally took the plunge and asked for the membership fee for my birthday and I’m so glad I did!

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

I’m the Social Media Editor for Words & Pictures, so along with Alison Padley-Woods who recently joined me in the role, I’m the one who creates all the social media content for Words & Pictures and sends out the Words & Pictures newsletter. I’ve done a little writing, editing and proofreading for the magazine as well. I’m also the website content coordinator and PR assistant on the conference team. I’m responsible for assisting with all the website content, uploading, formatting and updating the conference pages and liaising with the team regarding this. As PR assistant, I coordinate all the articles for Words & Pictures, assist on the main SCBWI social media accounts and help with the mail-outs to spread the word about the conference and everything involved! I’m also a nosy procrastinator so love getting involved in all aspects of the conference committee – it’s all hands on deck to make the coming conference a success! Can’t wait!

Do you do any other volunteering?

Does keeping two small humans warm, fed, clothed, entertained and loved, as well as running a home (badly) count? All completely ‘voluntary’! 🙂

Has volunteering influenced your writing in any way?

[whispers] I think my volunteering is actually a great procrastination device so its influence on my writing is mostly a slightly slower pace… ha ha! But I love it! Seriously though, volunteering with SCBWI allows me to immerse myself further in the world of children’s publishing which is very useful for my own writing (and career).

What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

I have developed (or awoken after a career break) so many new skills which is a huge advantage as I apply for publishing roles. I’ve (virtually) met lots of like-minded and committed people who also love children’s books and will meet them IN-PERSON very soon! I’ll feel slightly less lost at the conference having made these connections and by having ‘jobs’ to do!! Ha ha – a huge advantage! It’s wonderful to feel needed and appreciated and a part of something, which is probably what I love most about volunteering.

How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

It’s hard to say as it varies. When we launched the website pages and opened bookings for the conference it was a lot! But probably 1-4 hours a week on average.

Do the boundaries between volunteering get blurred or do you have clearly demarcated writing/volunteering times/space?

Oh, hugely blurred! I am led by priorities and should probably address this so that the quiet, less shouty things in my life (ie my writing and perhaps my husband) get some time too (don’t worry, my children are good and shouty 🙂)

Favourite children’s book?

This is so hard, but I bet everyone says this... Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak wins my ‘joyful one to read out loud’ award (I love to vocalise the wordless pages where they’re all going wild – depending on the audience of course). Kes Gray with his recent The Diddle that Dummed has become a close runner up and Mo Willems' Leonardo the Terrible Monster is up there too. MG Phil Earle’s incredible, When the Sky Falls blew me away last year and has still not left my heart, so that gets my ‘Knitted in my Heart’ award, along with Momo by Michael Ende which has been there a while and Sam Copeland’s Charlie series has had us all in hysterics recently! Chapter 10 of Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth – hilarious!! 

Contact Anna at, find her on Twitter or on her website here.  

*Header image: Irene Silvino; all other pictures courtesy of Anna Gamble


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


Tita Berredo is a children's writer and illustrator born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tita is the Illustration Features Editor of Words & Pictures, and a picture book reviewer for My Book Corner. She lives in Scotland, where she supports the local creative community volunteering for SCBWI, the AOI, and the SOA.

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