Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


First Impressions & First Pages 2019

Anyone who’s written for a while knows that critique is one of the most effective ways of improving our work. Being part of a trusted group of fellow writers who give you their honest and constructive opinion, can help you identify what works and what needs a little tweak. You also learn huge amounts from seeing others’ work and hearing the feedback on how to take it to the next level.


Likewise for illustrators, getting feedback on your work is invaluable, especially if you are trying something new or have an idea that you are really passionate about.


Imagine how useful it would be to get that kind of input from a panel of industry professionals: priceless! This is the idea behind our First Impressions and First Pages panels.


This is a rare opportunity to hear honest and professional opinions of real examples from real people. And we’re looking for writers and illustrators willing to take part…



First Impressions


The FIRST IMPRESSIONS panel will be Art Director Strawberrie Donnelly of Scholastic, Arabella Stein of the Bright Agency and Illustrator Bridget Marzo. They will discuss the do and don’ts of an attention grabbing submission and give their honest reactions to work they haven’t seen before.



Illustrators are invited to submit ONE promotional image or single promo sheet to by 15th September 10 am. The conference team will select a range that will be ANONYMOUSLY presented to the panel who will be seeing the work for the first time.


We recommend sending the image you think has the WOW factor, the strongest piece in your portfolio and the sort of thing you might send out as a promotion of your work. There will not be time, unfortunately, to show full dummy books or manuscripts, but if that’s what you have why not choose the best spread, or create a character sheet? 


If you haven’t submitted your illustration work before this is a safe and encouraging way of taking that first step, or if you are an experienced illustrator it is a great way of seeing that first reaction (in a way you just don’t get via email). And if you are not ready to submit, come along anyway find out what an exciting submission looks like and what common mistakes you can avoid, whilst looking at real examples. 


First Pages


The FRIST PAGES panel will be Bella Pearson of Guppy Books, Becky Bagnell of The Lindsay Literary Agency and author Benjamin Scott.



Writers are invited to submit the FIRST PAGE ONLY of their manuscript to by 15th September 10 am.

Those selected will be presented, ANONYMOUSLY, to the panel, who will then react just as they would when opening submissions on their slushpile.


In order to get the most out of the experience, we recommend you have a mature submission and already understand the basic guidelines for submitting work to agents, art directors and publishers. However if this is all new to you, why not come and watch anyway, there will be lots of great tips being shared to help you with your work too.


The thought of pitching your work in front of one of our panels might seem a little nerve-wracking, but don’t worry. We’ve hand-picked the panelists and selected people with both professionalism and bags of kindness. The conference team will also be there to provide any help and support needed





Our main sponsors are:


Society of Authors Main Sponsor: Golden Egg

SCBWI would like to thank the sponsors for their support. SCBWI is a non-profit organization
and does not endorse any products or services provided by external companies.


Illustrations © Mini Grey 2019