Wednesday 28 November 2018

Why you should go to the annual SCBWI conference!

by Paula Harrison

Ten days ago I came back from the annual SCBWI (UK) conference in Winchester. It was a weekend of awesomeness! It was my 10th conference. I joined SCBWI or Scooby (which stands for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) in 2007, and have been to conference almost every year since then.

This year I was asked to run a workshop on the Saturday afternoon which was an absolute honour. I have to own up to having a rather large wobble when I found out I was delivering the session in the auditorium as I had pictured myself standing in front of 30 or so fellow writers/ illustrators in a classroom (a place of safety for an ex-teacher!) In the end, I reassured myself with the thought that if anyone hated the session they'd probably be too polite to say! I had several people tell me it was helpful, so if I helped a few people that's good enough for me.

First of all, an apology as this will be a shorter blog than normal (and also it's late - sorry Candy), but I wanted to share with you what is so brilliant about the conference. It's not cheap to go, of course, but it's so worth it in my opinion and there are a couple of bursaries you can apply for if needed.

The conference is amazing BECAUSE...

  1. I credit it with being the most useful thing I did on the road to getting published. The combination of talks and workshops by authors and industry professionals taught me so much about writing and the publishing industry.

  2. There is also the opportunity to have your work critiqued by a professional or, if that sounds a little scary, try the Friday night peer critique session.

  3. There are lots of competitions to go for such as the badge design comp and the 10 line pitch!

  4. You can make friends for life!

  5. You are finally among people who are just like you! (just as daft as you - as evidenced by the array of party costumes!)

  6. The party cake - covered with characters from the books launched that year - is a thing of beauty.

  7. You can take advantage of great opportunities such as appearing in The Hook like my brave friends George Kirk and Nick Cross!

  8. You can squeeze in seeing a bit of Winchester. The Christmas market is usually open and the cathedral is beautiful.

    So I'll finish with a few pics of the weekend including the cake, the costumes and the friends for life! If you haven't been to the conference I thoroughly recommend it.

Me and the one and only Kathy Evans!

Nick Cross telling us all about Riot Boyyy in The Hook

Janet Foxley won a costume prize!

How do they make the cake look so great?!

Me with Teri Terry and Sally Poyton (unicorns DO have more fun)

Winchester Cathedral

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