SCBWI FACES Zeena Gosrani


SCBWI Faces goes behind the scenes to meet our volunteers. This month Jo Verrill chats to Zeena Gosrani, event organiser for the SCBWI London branch.


Zeena is a dyslexic writer who loves oxymorons so much, she thought she’d become one. She has always been a dreamer but never thought she could write until she challenged herself one day when she was between jobs, and she’s never looked back. She lives in London with her imaginary cat because she can’t have a real one (they had a meeting).


What do you write?

Anything fantasy. I absolutely love YA fantasy, and I have a YA fantasy publishing in October, but I am also trying to write an MG fantasy as well.


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

I’m a pharmacist. I’m lucky that I get to locum, which means I get to pick and choose the days I’m willing to work. If I decide I want to spend more time writing, I can just not book work, and I have taken months out in the past to write.


Describe your writing space.

My house is being renovated at the moment, so my desk is with my bed in an otherwise empty room. I am going to get my own office, but I actually write anywhere - on the kitchen table, curled up in bed on my phone, on my commute to work. My favourite place to write is in the garden. My dad loves gardening and he’s made the space look like a mini jungle paradise in London.

How long have you been a SCBWI volunteer?

Not long. I took over this role from the wonderful Tania Tay at the end of last year, but we didn’t organise our first brunch until this year, so four months.


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

My only role is to organise the London brunches, which mainly consists of picking a date because we usually meet in the British Library.


Has volunteering influenced your writing in any way?

Volunteering hasn't, but being a part of SCBWI has made me feel less alone. Writing can be isolating and it can be easy to give up, but being a part of this community makes you realise how many people are right there with you, supporting you.


What are the advantages of being a volunteer?

Finding a community that supports you and cheers you on.


How many hours per week do you spend volunteering?

Very little. The most time-consuming part of this is finding dates that work for everyone and co-ordinating with the SCWBI London volunteers to ensure events are spread out a little, which is actually quite easy when you have a WhatsApp group together! 

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

I haven’t needed to create boundaries yet because there is so little for me to do as a volunteer. The SCBWI London co-ordinators started around the same time we did, so we’re all just finding our feet together.


Favourite children’s book?

When I was a child, I had two favourite book series (I know! I’m being cheeky). One was the Wicca series by Cait Tiernan and the other was Secret Circle by LJ Smith. My favourite book now is The Black Magician’s trilogy by Trudy Canavan. I read it over 10 years ago and that ending still haunts me.

* Header illustration by Tita Berredo and Ell Rose
* Other images courtesy of Zeena Gosrani


Anne Boyere is one of Words & Pictures' Feature Editors and runs the #SCBWIchat on X (formerly Twitter) chat about books for all ages @SCBWI_BI. You can find her on X.


Ell Rose is a non-binary illustrator & animator based in Edinburgh and Illustration Features Editor for Words & Pictures. They have two cats that sometimes feature in their work in either comics or illustrations/animation. They are available for editorial, non-fiction and fiction books and commercial work as well as 2D motion graphics. Contact


Tita Berredo is Illustrator Coordinator of SCBWI British Isles and the Art Director of Words & Pictures. Follow her on Instagram, X and or contact her at:

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