SCBWI Faces Tracy Curran


SCBWI Faces goes behind the scenes to meet the volunteers who keep our Society ticking. This month Clare Helen Welsh chats to Tracy Curran, Production Editor for Words & Pictures.

Tracy and her pumpkins!

Tracy enjoys writing picture books, young fiction and lower middle grade novels. Her debut picture book, Pumpkin’s Fairytale, was published in 2021 and she also enjoys reviewing children's books on her blog The Breadcrumb Forest

Can you tell us a bit more about your writing?

I write picture books, chapter books and lower middle grade and I love swapping between projects. My debut picture book, Pumpkin’s Fairytale, was published by an indie publisher in 2021 and that has been both a lovely experience and a steep learning curve. I also enjoy writing poetry for children and I am dipping my toe into some non-fiction ideas.

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

I was a full and part-time primary school teacher for 16 years but I stopped teaching in 2019 to become a carer for my daughter who has special needs. Since then it’s been tricky to find employment – I can’t work in school holidays or outside school hours – but I do mark exam papers every year. Family life is always so busy that, when the children are in school, my writing time is really precious to me.


Describe your writing space.

I don’t have one! I have notebooks and books secretly stashed everywhere including the loft and in the eves of our renovation. When I do write, the children are at school and I make the most of the quiet time – I often set myself up at the kitchen table, although I am also known to write on the sofa or even in bed in winter. The same place every day gets boring!


How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

I started volunteering for Words & Pictures at the beginning of 2022 and I love being part of the team – it’s been a great year.


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

I am Production Editor for Words & Pictures, which basically means I recruit new sub-editor volunteers and show them the ropes. Then every other week I post the schedule for the week ahead, assign sub-editors to check the incoming articles and then do final checks on a Saturday ready for the magazine to go live on Sunday morning. I’ve also written a few articles myself and have just taken over the Celebrations feature.


Do you do any other volunteering?

I have in the past. When I was at university, I volunteered to help run a weekly Kids Club, which was fantastically organised – I learnt a lot! I also try and help with fundraising events at my children’s school where I can and also with bucket-shaking for the Cornwall Accessible Activities Programme – a fantastic local charity that provides holiday activities for children with special needs.


Has volunteering influenced your writing in any way?

It’s just a really insightful thing to do, I think. Reading the articles every week is a privilege and very informative and I’ve loved connecting with other writers and volunteers. It keeps your pulse on what is happening in the industry and has increased my knowledge of the market, which is important when pitching and creating ideas. I also love researching and writing articles and interviewing writers and illustrators.


What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

Being part of a network and a team. I was initially very nervous at taking on the role – I wasn’t sure I could do it and I tend to shy away from people. But I was reading an interview in a magazine one day and the person said something like: "Push yourself out of your comfort zone, jump in with both feet and the confidence will follow." That’s exactly what has happened here.


How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

It depends. If it’s my week to monitor the incoming articles and assign the subs, then I probably do 5-10 mins every day from Sunday to Friday and then an hour or two doing final checks on Saturday. If I’m writing an article too then it will be a couple of hours more. Now I’ve got used to the role, it slots into my week perfectly.


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

I always put aside a set time to do final checks for Words & Pictures every other Saturday or to write an article but otherwise I’ll just check in for 5-10 mins while I’m sitting and writing.


Favourite children’s book?

Ooh, now you’ve got me. I could talk about this all day! My childhood favourites are Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I love the character and world of Peter Pan but I’ve read so many good contemporary releases that feature on my review blog. It’s hard to single one out but the upcoming middle-grade Greenwild is a fantasy to watch and The Crossing by Manjeet Mann and Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher are fantastic verse novels that raise awareness of important issues – everyone needs to read them.

A Little Princess - one of Tracy's favourite childhood books

Connect with Tracy on Twitter , Facebook  or Instagram

Pumpkin's Fairytale - published by Final Chapter


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


Clare Helen Welsh has published over 50 books, including picture books and early readers, and has more in the publishing pipeline. When Clare isn’t writing stories, she is inspiring people to write their own, running events for children and working as a writing tutor for Write Mentor and City Lit.


Anne Boyere is the Feature Editor for SCBWI Faces.

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