Tuesday 22 November 2011

Great Expectations at the SCBWI Conference 2011

All the links and photos you ever wanted about the 2011 Great Expectations Conference of SBWI British Isles

This past weekend we slushpilers five congregated with other devotees to the children's book craft at the Great Expectations conference of SCBWI in the British Isles. It's a generous and friendly conference. Over the years a sense of community has grown, and for many in attendance, this was a chance to hook up with friends made over SCBWI's social platforms - the Ning, Twitter and Facebook - a bit like blind-dating between children's book obsessives!

When some of us started attending the annual event in early 2000, the tables of conference bookseller P&G Wells were rarely graced by the books of members. This year it was stacked high with books by SCBWI authors. We were so proud!

There's a lot of buzz about the conference in the blogosphere, here are Candy's photos (and thanks to Steph, Kathy, Paul and Sue for the other pics) plus links that we will be updating as people put up their reports ... but really, you had to be there!

The nicest man in publishing - Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of unforgettable books like Millions and Cosmic gave an unforgettable keynote. Read Laura Atkins' blog post about Frank's keynote.

Illustrator and author Chris Riddell, almost a saint to SCBWI members, mucked in with us and showed us his beautiful sketchbooks. Many illustrator members were said to feel slightly suicidal at the sight of Chris's amazing work. Photo: Paul Morton
Chris has been obsessed with all things alien like since he started his career - but only now has been allowed to give vent to his passion via his new book Alienography.

Anthony McGowan also discussed controversy in YA fiction. Read Laura Atkins' report Tony also gave a break out on plotting. Laura reports here
Candy Gourlay, Jon Mayhew, Judy Hindley compiled a checklist for authors coming out with a new book. Photo: Stephanie McGregor
The Edge authors - Sara Grant, Dave Cousins, Bryony Pearce, Paula Rawsthorne, Miriam Halahmy.  Here's a brilliant report about the event by Bryony Pearce, plus lots about other talks at the conference. Photo: Stephanie McGregor

Natascha Biebow's picture book break-out. Natascha has for 13 years been regional advisor of SCBWI in the British Isles. She was formerly a commissioning editor for Random House children's books and has herself written a few. As one does. Photo: Paul Morton
No, this isn't a speed-dating session - these are authors and illustrators having one-to-one reviews with editors. Looks rather scary. Photo: Paul Morton
Interesting aerobics session conducted by Anthony McGowan (actually I think it was about plotting). Read the report by Mrs Bung aka Kathy Evans. Photo: Kathryn Evans

Paula Harrison showing sales copy for her forthcoming princess series at the Coming Out event. Photo: Stephanie McGregor

The State of the (children's book) Nation panel boasted the Guardian's children's book critic and editor Julia Eccleshare, Carnegie/Greenaway chair Ferelith Hordon, Tales on Moon Lane bookseller George Hanratty, Waterstone's Sarah Clarke, Anne MacNeill of Hodder and Neil Hoskins of digital publishers Winged Chariot Press. Photo: Paul Morton
... so you wanna be in the movies? Film agent Valerie Hoskins and Aardman scout Ed Jaspers tell us how to get into the movies. SCBWI star Janet Foxley whose book Muncle Trogg has just been optioned by Sony introduced them.

Every year we invite art directors, publishers and editors to our industry panel to give us the lowdown on what everyone wants (as well as to act as sitting ducks to eager to be published members): from left to right, art directors David McDougall (Walker Books) and Sharon Chai (MacMillan), editors Rachel Petty (Macmillan), Emma Layfield (Hodder), Amber Caravaeo (Orion), Sarah Odedina (Hot Key Books)

Shortlist for the Crystal Kite Members' Choice Award featuring presenters Maureen Oakley, Bridget Strevens Marzo and Christina Vinall

Candy is awarded the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe and delivers an acceptance speech. Read the speech on Candy's blog. Photo: Paul Morton

And here's the trophy! It came with soft white gloves for handling it. Photo: Kathy Evans
The packed auditorium. They managed to stay awake!

Later, there was a mass book launch and party for new books by SCBWI authors. Here's the brilliant cake. The party was crawling with editors and agents, yum! Photo: Paul Morton

Last year, we had the larger than life David Fickling of David Fickling Books to celebrate and introduce our launching authors at the Mass Book Launch. This year we had larger than a planet Klaus Flugge, living legend of Andersen Press to kiss everyone in! In the photo with Klaus is Juliet Clare Bell, author of Don't Panic Annika!

Since Klaus was kissing all the women, Jon Mayhew decided he deserved one too when his name was called. Photo: Stephanie McGregor

Our lovely authors numbered 28 this year!
Helen Bonney presents debut Miriam Halahmy with a poster of her poem. Photo: Paul Morton
Agent Jenny Savill with her authors Sara Grant and Helen Moss

Happy SCBWI people in high celebration mode! Sue Eves, Odette Elliott, Stephanie McGregor, Sheena Wilkinson, Shirley Jones
Klaus with SCBWI star Janet Foxley, author of award winning Muncle Trogg.

Rock and Roll authors Julienne Durber and Juliet Clare Bell

... they danced - Clare with Benjamin Scott, assistant regional advisor of SCBWI in British Isles

Candy Gourlay cuts the cake after winning the Outstanding Contribution Prize. Photo: Sue Eves


  1. Boy you've been busy! What a great round up - feel like I didn't miss the bits I missed :o)

  2. Thanks, Kathy! (and sorry to nick your photos!) ... we're still waiting to find a photo of the illustrators' exhibition!

  3. Great load of photos - looks like an awesome time!

  4. Hurrah! Gorgeous photos of a wonderful weekend. And really pleased you missed putting one in of me in a dress.

  5. I'm keeping that one on file. Carefully downloaded it from Facebook when I saw it. I have plans for that one. Wait, aren't you supposed to be writing, Teri?

  6. Candy, oh dear!
    And I AM writing. Er....

  7. Excellent overview with great pics. So hard to do this conference justice but I think, with hard work and effort between us all we're giving something of the flavour!

  8. Sol Loreto-Miller22 November 2011 at 10:26

    Aww – lovely pictures, looks like you had a wonderful time :)

  9. I don't know how we manage to squash so much loveliness into two days! Great post!

  10. What photos! What words! What larks!

  11. Wow! Looks almost as good as it was!


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