Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators







Marie Basting
Co-chair of Conference Committee
Marie’s bio here
@McSquorge |
Alison Gardiner
Co-chair of Conference Committee
Author of MG fantasy The Serpent of Eridor also Alchemy. Alison has written several picture books and 2 YF books, currently being re-re-edited. Her brain is so full of bits of ideas it really needs de-fragging. 
Doctor, mother, radio voice performer, writer, reasonable cook, terrible gardener (ironically), Alison Gardiner loves all her roles, but sometimes her priorities get muddled (except for being the banana-bread chef; that’s always number 1).
 Alison Gardiner loves to travel, having spent her early years in Jamaica, USA, Gibraltar and Scotland. She loves gathering flashes of ideas to weave into tales. She’s ridden a camel, fed elephants, cuddled snakes and patted a hippo. She attributes her wildlife fearlessness to having four children.
Natascha Biebow
Co-Regional Advisor (Co-Chair)
RA since 1998, Natascha has been involved in planning SCBWI BI conferences since the beginning. She is the author of the award-winning, bestselling The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons. With over 25 years’ experience, her favourite task is shaping stories as the editor of numerous award-winning children’s books. She is the founder of Blue Elephant Storyshaping, an editing, coaching and mentoring service, empowering writers and illustrators at all levels to fine-tune their work pre-submission. She teaches picture book craft webinars and is the Editorial Director of Five Quills. In 2018 she was awarded an MBE for her services to children’s authors and illustrators. She is the recipient of the SCBWI Stephen Mooser Member of the Year Award and a member of the SCBWI Council of Advisors.
She blogs on Picture Book Den and as The Picture Book Storyshaper. | |
Kathryn Evans
Co-Regional Advisor (Finance)
Kathryn Evans is represented by Sophie Hicks of SHA and writes ‘weird, creepy stories with a science fiction twist.’ Published by Usborne, and translated into multiple languages, her debut novel, More of Me, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, won the EIBF first book award (the first YA novel ever to do so) and the SCBWI Crystal Kite. Kathryn’s second novel, Beauty Sleep, won the 2020 CrimeFest award and was shortlisted for the Steam Prize. Kathryn loves author events and is part of the BBC Teach series for GCSE English. She lives on the family farm with her husband, several spaniels and cats and whichever of her grown up children she can entice home to stay. A passionate supporter of SCBWI, Kathryn has been badge co-ordinator, South East Co-ordinator, Finance co-ordinator and is now CO-RA with responsibility for Finance. | | @KathrynEvansInk
BB Taylor
ARA Member Services (PR/Comms)
BB Taylor bio | | @KathrynEvansInk
Catherine Whitmore
ARA Networks
Catherine’s Bio here  | @julietclarebell
Ashley Taylor
ARA Events
Ashley’s Bio
Paul Morton
Illustration Programming
Paul’s Bio here
mo ohara Mo O’Hara
Mo first joined the conference committee about 9 years ago and worked in a speaker co-ordinator role for a while. For the last several years she has been working with Candy Gourlay to develop the PULSE events aimed at our published members. When she is not doing SCBWI stuff, Mo writes funny fiction books for kids (like her Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series) or picture books like More People to Love Me or Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex. Her last book with illustrator Jess Bradley, Agent Moose, is out now with Scholastic.She would love to hear about any ideas for PULSE events or suggestions you might have.
Email Candy and her on | @mo_ohara
Natalie Yates
Front of House & Raffle
Natalie has been an active SCBWI member since 2015 and when she’s not working as a Teaching Assistant in the local secondary school, she loves to write for young adults. Her themes range from contemporary realism to spooky and dark. In 2016 she was longlisted for the Commonword Diversity Writing for Children prize, the year in which she also gained an MA in Creative Writing from Hull University. Natalie is also Writing Features Editor and organises Opening Lines for Words & Pictures. You can connect with Natalie on Twitter @eastyorknat
Email Natalie on:
Tania Tay Tania Tay
Speaker Coordinator
Since Tania started volunteering for SCBWI she’s met the most amazing people and made good friends. She’s helped run the Writers Retreat and edited a column in Words and Pictures. She used to run the London Network and helped run many events in London. And now she’s excited to be the Speaker Coordinator for the SCBWI conference in one of her favourite cities… Manchester. In her writing, Tania likes to explore themes about female friendship and difficult mothers. Her stories often have a dark or supernatural twist. She’s an advertising copywriter, ghostwriter and dabbles in writing spec screenplays. Last year, she was shortlisted for BBC Drama Room and was part of BBC writersroom London Voices. Tania graduated from the University of Edinburgh.
Anna Cole Anna Cole
Saturday Party and Pitch Co-ordinator
Anna is the conference party co-ordinator. Having always scribbled ideas and the beginnings of stories on any bit of paper she could find (think envelopes, leaflets and receipts) she decided to take her writing more seriously, so brought a notebook and began work on a middle grade fantasy novel. With a short interlude to work in a ski resort (and snowboard every day), Anna now writes at every opportunity.
dom conlon Dom Conlon
Print Materials and University Liaison
Dom is the university liaison which means he deals with all the onsite things from organising which sessions go into which rooms, to choosing what everybody eats and catering for special dietary requirements. He’ll also be seen dragging tables around and putting microphones onto people. He arranges all the print materials too. He is a member of the North West battalion of SCBWI and his book of Badtime Stories is currently open to support on Unbound. He likes a biscuit with his tea but cake with his coffee. | @dom_conlon
Holly Butcher
Assistant Co-ordinator, 1-1 Writer Reviews
Holly is assisting with the writer 1-to-1’s at the conference this year. She joined SCBWI earlier in the year and is passionate about writing for young people with an MA in Writing for Children from The University of Winchester. Holly also runs her own podcast series called Active Voice, where she interviews children’s authors about their writing processes, how they were first published, and anything to do with the world of children’s literature. | @HollyRoseWrites

  Marie Basting

SCBWI BI Networks Co-ordinator

Marie Basting is the SCBWI BI Networks Coordinator. Managing activity across the ten British Networks, Marie works with the Network Organisers to deliver a varied programme of events and activities at a local level. Marie lives in Manchester, where she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing for Children. She writes YA and 7+.
george kirk George Kirk
Speaker Co-ordinator for Writers
George is a conference old hand. She attended her first conference in 2011 and was immediately hooked. She soon joined the committee and has held many roles including Co-Chair. She is now speaker co-ordinator for authors. That means she is responsible for inviting speakers to deliver the writing strands of the conference. She ensures they have everything they need and know exactly where and when they need to be. As a previous year 1 class teacher, she feels supremely qualified for this role. Authors can’t be any harder to organise than 6 year olds… can they? | | @georgekirk2
Kate Mallinder Kate Mallinder
Co-Host of The Hook
Kate Mallinder has been a member of SCBWI for yonks and loves it. Her debut teen novel, Summer of No Regrets, came out in May and she’s been having a lovely time getting used to that fact. She’s constantly surprised by where saying ‘yes’ to new things takes her. Twitter: @KateMallinder
Soni Speight
Illustrator Liaison
Soni Speight is a freelance illustrator and designer who also champions the #PicturesMeanBusiness campaign. She has taken over from Patrick to coordinate the illustrators speakers, sessions and reviews for the conference. Her aim is to ensure the illustrators and author-illustrators, unpublished and published alike, have plenty to be inspired by this year. | @sonispeight
Lou Minns Louise Minns
Assistant Regional Advisor, Member Services
Lou Minns grew up with five brothers and loves to write stories featuring strong girls. After living in Australia and the US, camping with lizards, bears and kangaroos, Lou now lives in a very old creaky house in Shropshire. She enjoys being a bit scared, but also likes to sleep at night and is grateful to science for a rational explanation. She is an Assistant Regional Advisor (Member Services) for SCBWI British Isles. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University, and was selected for the 2019/2020 Writing West Midlands Room 204 Emerging Writers group. Lou has taught in high schools across the country and thinks teenagers are actually rather nice if often misunderstood. | @LMMinns | Insta @LouMinns|
Jeff Crosby
Assistant Speaker Coordinator for Illustrators
This is Jeff’s first year as a volunteer for the SCBWI British Isles conference. He will be working with Soni Speight to recruit and organize the Illustration program speakers. Jeff is the illustrator/author of Wiener Wolf (DisneyHyperion 2012) and The Rockabilly Goats Gruff (Holiday House 2014). He moved to Cambridge over a year ago from Austin, Texas where he volunteered in various roles for that chapter of SCBWI for eight years.
  Sean Noonan
Bookings Co-ordinator and Website
Sean is your Bookings Coordinator once more. He’s been an active member of SCBWI since 2010. This will be the fourth conference he’s helped organise with the rest of the team. If you have an inkling to be a volunteer, don’t hesitate, its worthwhile. Not just for yourself, but for others.
Writing-wise, he is currently compiling a trilogy of trilogies in MG magical fantasy adventure, with the help of his scoobies friends. | @Grumphspawn
Ashely Taylor Ashley Taylor
Assistant Regional Advisor for Events
Ashley is an ex-pat American actress and writer living on the white cliffs of the Kent coast. She began volunteering for SCBWI in 2015 as the Agents’ Party organizer and then took over as the ARA Events coordinator in 2016. She has written a YA and a middle grade manuscript and is secretly ghostwriting a romance novel involving a lumberjack. Ashley has had many jobs in the past but regards this as the most hilarious one of all.
Emma Greenwood
Friday Fringe Co-ordinator
Emma Greenwood is the Director of, a small friendly editorial agency specialising in children’s, teen and YA stories. She has worked as a columnist and magazine feature writer and is the fashion editor for a print glossy. She has short stories and a non-fiction title published and is working on a teen novel.
Kim A Howard
Newbies Liaison
Kim was encouraged to join SCBWI in 2013 as part of her MA in Writing for Children at the University of Winchester. It is a decision she has never regretted, even (or especially) when she hasn’t felt able to write. When she does put pen to paper her stories are usually for MG and based in the real world – or somewhere quite close by.
As an ex student of U of W Kim is well placed to help guide any SCBWI Newbie around the conference venue and to make suggestions about the local area as well. To make sure she can be easily found throughout the conference she plans on wearing a stylish purple hat. Ask her anything. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll know someone who does.
sue wallman Sue Wallman
Organiser of the SCBWI-BI Margaret Carey and other Scholarships
Sue is the conference scholarships organiser. She’s been a member of SCBWI for eight years, and is the award-winning author of YA thrillers Lying About Last Summer, See How They Lie, Your Turn to Die and Dead Popular (August 2019). She’s a former magazine journalist who now works in a secondary school library. If you have any questions about the scholarship, please email her at | @SueWallman
Sheila M. Averbuch
Assistant Organiser of the SCBWI-BI Margaret Carey and other Scholarships
Photo credit: Rob McDougall for the Scottish Book Trust
Sheila M. Averbuch is a former journalist who’s interviewed billionaires, hackers and would-be Mars colonists. She writes fiction for middle grade and is bewitched by and suspicious of technology in equal measure. Sheila co-founded the Scotland network of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and was first winner of The Hook, SCBWI’s national live pitching competition in the UK. She’s a 2019 awardee of the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writers Award and has read her work at the Portobello Book Festival and Listen Softly.
Originally from Massachusetts, Sheila did a degree in history and literature at Harvard and a journalism MA at Stanford before moving to Ireland, where she covered the Northern Ireland Troubles for USA Today and set up Ireland’s first IT news service. She’s founder of the content agency ENNclick and lives today with her family in Scotland, outside Edinburgh.
| @sheilamaverbuch





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Illustrations © Mini Grey 2019