Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators




As ever, we have a feast of opportunities for writers at this year’s SCBWI Conference. There is a selection of award-winning published authors, agents, publishers and editors to help you hone your skills and get feedback on your work. Whether you are a picture book, middle grade or young adult author, there are industry experts for you. Develop your craft and share the energy of fellow authors and artists to help you on your writing journey.

Keynote Speakers

Author Alex Wheatle MBE is our keynote speaker for writers this year, and will be sharing his insights as a multi-award winning author.

Considered a major voice in British children’s literature, Alex is the best-selling author of several books including the modern classic Brixton Rock, and the multi-award winning Crongton series. He was awarded an MBE for his services to literature in 2008, has been twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, and has won numerous awards including Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. He lives in London.

Alex will also join the panel for the session – Power, Politics and Censorship in YA Fiction along with Danielle Jawando and Louisa Reid.


Our PULSE keynote speakers are authors, Karen Sands O’Connor and Darren Chetty who will talk about the astonishing four year project, Beyond the Secret Garden, which has explored the representation of BAME authors and characters in children’s books.

Darren is a lecturer at University College London, who taught in primary schools for twenty years. He is an award-winning Philosophy for Children practitioner, has written for children and young adults and is active in the children’s literature more widely. He has judged the YA Book Prize, The Little Rebels Award, The Blue Peter Book Award and advised on the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards. He is a member of the Steering Committee for CLPE Reflecting Realities research and for the Lit In Colour Campaign.

Karen Sands-O’Connor is the British Academy Global Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University, where she recently taught the UK’s first postgraduate module on Children’s Literature and Black Britain. An internationally-recognised expert on Black British children’s literature, Sands-O’Connor works with national organisations, including Seven Stories, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the British Library on issues of diversity.



Our keynote speaker Alex Wheatle will take part in a panel discussion alongside fellow YA authors Danielle Jawando and Louisa Reid, titled Power, Politics and Censorship in YA Fiction . Host Candy Gourlay will invite the panel to discuss how authors navigate themes of gender, decolonisation, refugees, #metoo and #blacklivesmatter that have led to controversy.

We also have some industry insights on offer in Publishing 101: The Truth About Publishing, Warts and All which will see debut author Camilla Chester and literary agents Becky Bagnall (Lindsay Literary Agency) and Katie Blagden (Bright Agency) in discussion. Camilla will share her journey to publication to help you gain realistic expectations and perhaps inspire new options for your own writing career. While Becky and Katie will speak about how best to submit your YA, MG or picture book to literary agents and what a literary agent can do for you.



New to writing? Already published? We have a whole host of workshops to cater to a range of experiences and needs.

Don’t Lose the Plot with Lil Chase. Whether you are a planner or a pantser this workshop has something for everyone as Lil shares her long experience as an author and editor.

What Captain America Taught Me About Voice: Writing with Superhero POW! with Marie Basting. Using words to dramatic effect, Marie explores language and structure and how it builds your writing voice.

Acting Up: Using Performance Techniques to Bring your Characters to Life on the Page (Full day) with Connie and Steve Hartley. Explore acting techniques and how they help you bring your own characters to life in this fun-filled workshop.

The Suspense is Killing Me with Sue Wallman and Tracy Darnton. Want to write a tense teen thriller? This is the workshop for you.

Writing a Novel in Verse with Louisa Reid. Explore the world of Verse Novels and how they are created. The session will offer space to explore the craft and experiment with this exciting and popular form.

Caryl Hart will deliver two picture book workshops: the first, From Idea to Manuscript, will explore techniques for generating and exploring new ideas, helping you turn your notions into well-rounded, multi-layered stories. The second, Picture Books to Change the World, will look at ways you can challenge yourself to create stand-out books that will truly help build a better future.



Alongside the writers talks and workshops we also have sessions specifically aimed at our published members:

Power, Politics and Censorship in YA Fiction with Alex Wheatle, Danielle Jawando and Louisa Reid. Our experts discuss how to navigate current themes in our changing world.

How to Successfully Launch Your Book with A M Dassu, Liz Scott and Julia Churchill. An author, Publicist and Agent share their wisdom on launching your work.

Creating Additional Income streams for Published Children’s Authors with Juliet Clare Bell and Rebecca Colby. Two established creatives share what they know about increasing your earnings.

How to Independently Publish – and sell – Your Children’s Book with Lucy Reynolds and Jenna Harmen. If you have a children’s book afoot, but no agent or publisher, this seminar is for you! Find out how to take your creation from storyboard onto the shelves with author/ illustrator duo Doodles & Scribbles.


Meet the Agents & Editors

Author 1-1s

This can be the most valuable 15 minutes of your conference! You, the first ten pages of your manuscript, and an agent or editor providing direct feedback and empowering, constructive criticism. Get your work read and critiqued by one of our industry professionals. Please see the Professional 1-1 Reviews page for full details.

Please note – Author 1-1s must be booked in advance and cost an additional £40 (or £45 for non-members) in addition to your Conference attendance fee. A booking link will be sent to all attendees once the agent/editor time slots are confirmed (so best to book your conference ticket asap). These are very popular so book quickly to avoid disappointment..


Friday Night Fringe

Meeting up with old friends, making new ones, quelling those newbie nerves, the Friday Fringe night offers a whole host of activities to get you in the mood for the weekend’s conference, including a dinner social and quiz night. More information can be found here once Friday Fringe registration opens.

If you would like to attend, please select this option when booking for the conference and you will be notified when the Fringe registration opens.


Pitch Event

Saturday afternoon. More details will follow . . .


Competition Time

We have the 10 word pitch competition judged by our regional team. We also have a host of raffle prizes to be won including one to ones with agents. Competitions have been a staple of our conferences for many years. Partake and you never know, a little luck may be just what you need to find your power.



Book Conference Here


Book Friday Fringe Here


Book Saturday Night Party Here (incl MBL)



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Illustrations © Jim Field 2022