SCBWI CONFERENCE Looking back and ahead

The SCBWI British Isles Conference is coming in November and we just can't wait! Illustrator Coordinator Tita Berredo take us back to last year's Conference to give us some nostalgia and a little taste of what's coming up this year.

'Finding Your Power' was last year's theme. Keynote speakers were the extraordinary Alex Wheatle, MBE for literature; Jim Field, illustrator of works by JK Rowling; Carnegie Medal nominee Louisa Reid, with her ground-breaking novels in verse; multi-award winning writers Caryl Hart and A M Dassu. The conference is always stuffed with opportunities to meet with agents, editors, experienced authors and illustrators in seminars and lectures but also at lunch, coffee or just milling around.

Here are some words from one of last year's Conference newbies, Emma Finlayson-Palmer:

"Alex Wheatle’s opening keynote speech was a brilliant way to start the weekend. An inspiring talk about his writing journey and life where books have always been his sanctuary, with an overarching message of always believing in yourself and reading being a solace and refuge.

The whole weekend was packed full of inspirational and informative talks and workshops. A few particularly useful to me were:

'Power and Politics in YA' with Danielle Jawando, Alex Wheatle and Louisa Reid, which left me feeling excited to follow my passions, write from the heart and tell the stories I want to tell.

Sue Wallman and Tracy Darnton shared brilliant insights into writing thrillers with their workshop ‘The Suspense is Killing Me’ with excellent exercises to develop characters, twists, settings and endings that leave readers wanting more.

My final workshop of the weekend was 'Writing in Verse' with Louisa Reid. Louisa’s passion for poetry and word play was infectious, coupled with exercises that were really eye opening and has changed the way I look at my writing forever."

The MMU has long been a supporter of the North West SCBWI network, providing us with event rooms and promotion for our events. During the Conference the ground floor features the Sketchbook Exhibition, a massive display of SCBWI illustrators' artwork submitted to our Open Sketchbooks feature. This immersion in the Children's Book's world is the perfect place for illustrators to showcase their work. 

There's not only time to learn and exchange experiences but also to celebrate your achievements, like during the Outstanding Contributions Awards, and the Mass Book Launch an electrifying evening in style and costumes. And this year, just like all SCBWI-BI Conferences, there will be cake!

 Double click to view in full size. Video Credit: Tita Berredo


Tita Berredo is SCBWI BI Illustrator Coordinator and Art Director of Words & Pictures. She has a Master's degree in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths UOL and a background in social communications, marketing and publicity. 

Follow @titaberredo on Instagram and Twitter

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