Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Book Now. SCBWI BI Annual Conference 2016.

General | Programme | Money | Accommodation | 1-1 Reviews | Party | Outstanding Contribution

Mass Book Launch | Book Sales | Pulse Track | Spark Track | Friday Night Critique | The Hook




I have a question about the conference – who can I ask?

Feel free to ping an email to conference co-chairs George Kirk and Rebecca Tudor They will be happy to help. Once at the conference, there will be plenty of people walking around wearing Volunteer badges just waiting to be side-tracked from whatever it is they’re panicking about!

How do I travel to Winchester?

Winchester is easily accessible by rail (there is a station in the town) or road. We've got maps and directions here.

How can I register for the conference?

You can register for the conference here. If you are an SCBWI member, you should log in first to get the members' discounted rate. If you are not a member, you can consider joining to get the discount, or you may register as a non-member. We offer discounts to Society of Authors and Association of Illustrators members – please contact them for a special discount code. 

When do I need to book my place by?

Bookings remain open until midnight, 31st October. Here are great reasons to book early:

1. Late booking may make it difficult to reserve accommodation in Winchester.

2. Places on the Sunday intensives are limited and booking early means you get your first choice. Booking early also assures that you get your choice of breakout session

3. 1-1 reviews run out! Booking early means you get a 1-1 portfolio or manuscript review with an editor an agent.

What deadlines should I be aware of?

If you've signed up for the conference, here is a handy list of deadlines you need to be aware of:

1. Scholarship applications: submissions until midnight, 22nd August 2016

2. Manuscript one to one reviews: deadline for receipt of manuscripts 30th September 2016

3. Artwork one to one reviews: book by 1st November 2016

4. The Hook: deadline for entries 30th September 2016

5. Friday Night Critique: manuscripts/extracts to be submitted by 6th November 2016

I’ve got an idea for next year’s conference – who can I pitch it to?

All ideas are welcome! Drop co-chairs Rebecca Tudor and George Kirk an e-mail at

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What is the Friday Fringe?

The Friday Fringe evolved over the years because travel and time meant many conference attendees had to arrive in Winchester on the Friday before the conference started. At first, early birds organised informal meet-ups. Then one year, a volunteer had the brilliant idea to have a big critique meet on the night before the conference. For many new members it is the first time they've experienced getting and giving feedback on a manuscript or portfolio. This then led to everyone traipsing to a restaurant and sharing a meal – ice was broken and friends were made. Over time more informal events have sprung up, with volunteers hosting sharing and craft sessions, etc. This year, the Friday Fringe has been coordinated by Jan Carr and volunteers have kindly stepped up to make the day before the conference a vibrant experience.

What is a Crawl?

Sketch Crawl. Photo by Paul Morton
Clare at last year's Sketch Craw. Photo by Paul Morton.


The Friday Fringe has sketch crawls and scrawl crawls. The Sketch Crawl – this year organised by veteran illustrator Paul Morton – is a chance for lovers of drawing to get together and draw together, while wandering through the historic city of Winchester. This year's Scrawl Crawl is organised by Lorraine Cooke. It's a chance for writers to do what the illustrators are up to, but writing instead of drawing. It goes without saying but we will say it: writers are welcome to the Sketch Crawl, and illustrators are welcome to the Scrawl Crawl! Read a blog report about the Sketch Crawl here.

What is the Friday Night Critique?

The Friday Night Critique is an optional event on the night before the Conference. It is a critique meet – that is, people break up into pre-assigned groups and give each other feedback on their manuscripts and artwork. How does it work?

1. Participants will be assigned to small groups according to genre by the end of October

2. Each group will have a facilitator who will keep you informed. 

3. You will need to have your manuscript (for picture book writers) or manuscript extract (2000 words for novels) ready to email to your facilitator by Friday, 6th November, to give everyone time to read in advance and prepare feedback. 

4. Illustrators do not need to send artwork in advance.

You can opt to attend on the booking form, which also lists the minimal amount to pay for the cost of the venue. It’s not just a way to get feedback on your work but a great way to meet the writers and illustrators you are about to spend the weekend with. Once you're signed up, you will receive an email nearer the time that will explain:

1. The rules of the event

2. How to send your manuscript excerpt if you're a writer

3. Who your group-mates are

What is the Friday night dinner?

The Friday night dinner began when people attending the Friday Night Critique piled into town and had dinner together. The restaurants weren't happy suddenly catering for hundreds of people and eventually a kind and rather gullible volunteer (Clare Bell) agreed to contact the restaurant in advance and make it easier for them. It was fun but hard on the volunteer (Clare Bell) who organised it because someone always forgot to pay their bill. This year, the university will be catering it and hopefully it will be an easy way for members to bond and chat and network before the conference has even got itself going. You don't even have to be at the critique event to attend!

What are Break-out Sessions?

Break-outs are sessions in which the audience splits up to attend a selection of events that happen concurrently. You can choose your preferred sessions on the booking form. Yeah, it's really hard.

What is the PULSE Track of the conference?

The PULSE Track of the conference focuses on the needs of our growing numbers of published authors and illustrators. It covers marketing and publicity, school visits, media training and self-promotion. This year, our PULSE track is curated by authors Mo O'Hara and Candy Gourlay.

What is the Spark Track of the conference?

The Spark Track of the conference focuses on the unique needs of our members who publish independently via  self publishing, online retail and distribution, print-on-demand, or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. This year  the Spark track was curated by Kickstarter entrepreneur Sarah Towle.

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How much does the conference cost?

It depends on whether you are a member of SCBWI or not, and what extras you want to sign up for. But the basic rates are the following:

SCBWI Member £220
Not a Member £250

Any discounts?

The Society of Authors and the Association of Illustrators get a special rate. Also certain SCBWI volunteers are issued discount coupons. 

Any additional costs to budget for?

You must organise your own accommodation and transportation. 

Lunch and coffee breaks are part of the Conference fee as well as the finger foods at the party on Saturday night. 

The booking form will enable you to tailor what you opt into. The following are additional costs are not included in the conference fee:

1. Friday Night Critique – £7

2. Optional Friday Night Dinner at the University – £17 for 2 courses

3. 1-1 Portfolio or Manuscript Review – £30 for members / £35 for non-members 

I have booked a place but I can no longer attend. Can I get a refund?

We are very sorry that you can no longer attend. Unfortunately, you must understand that the conference is carefully budgeted and planned way ahead of time so we are unable to offer refunds. Please contact if you have any queries. 

Do SCBWI volunteers get paid?

No! The SCBWI volunteers who deliver conferences and other events do not get paid. There are perks; the conference team for example attend the conference that they organised over a whole year for free, hurrah! Network heads and various volunteers get discounts. But mainly we volunteer because we like what we do and we like being around people who love children's books like we do. Oh, and we do get really, really close to the editors and agents.

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Where can I stay?

There are plenty of places to stay in Winchester depending on your budget – from cheap university accommodation to local Beds and Breakfasts. Winchester is a small town and if you book near the station or the university, you should be able to get to all the events on foot. Top tip: it is the habit for the less sleepy to retire to the Mercure Hotel bar after the Saturday night party (it's the only place that stays open late on a Saturday night!). The Visit Winchester website can be useful if you aren’t familiar with the town.

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What is a 1-1 review?

Authors can book (paid) 15 minute slots in which agents or editors give them feedback on a manuscript. Illustrators can book (paid) 15 minute slots with artist agents or editors to get feedback on their projects or portfolios. You can sign up for a 1-1 on the booking form.

How do I get a 1-1 review for my manuscript or portfolio and how much does it cost?

There are a limited number of 1-1 slots with agents/editors/art directors available, which you can book when you book your place in the conference. The cost of a review is £30 for members and £35 for non-members.

1-1s take place on Saturday and Sunday at appointed times. 

What can I submit?

Details of what to submit can be found on the 1-1 Review page here. In fairness to our reviewers, please do not exceed the maximum amounts indicated. This year, we are trialling enabling Picture Book writers to submit up to two texts. Please be aware that, as the review time will be the same, it may not be possible to give in-depth feedback on both texts.

How do I submit my work?

Full instructions for submitting work can be found on the 1-1 Review page here. Please read these carefully and submit your work by the stated deadlines. Priority of allocation of reviews and where possible, any stated preferences, will be given to delegates who submit work by the deadline.

Is review feedback written or verbal?

Sometimes a reviewer will annotate your work and sometimes they'll write separate notes and sometimes it will be just verbal!

Does getting a review with an agent/editor mean that they will take my work on?

The feedback is intended to help you better learn your craft and understand how your work might be more marketable with that publisher or agent. We always try and fit your work to a suitable person and if they like it, they may well ask to see more of it!

Can I choose who my 1-1 is with?

We cannot take requests for reviews with specific agents or editors but you may indicate whether you would prefer to see an agent or an editor. Pressure of numbers means that we cannot guarantee to meet this preference but we will do our very best to place you with a suitable reviewer. Please also remember to let us know if you have already seen a particular agent/editor (or your MS has been seen) so that we can endeavour to place you with someone new, where possible.

I already have an agent so can I see an editor instead?

Whilst we cannot guarantee any specific requests, we have been able to match agented members with editors in previous years. In the unlikely event that this cannot be accommodated for any reason, we will contact you to discuss this further.

Will I be told who I am seeing and when, before the conference?

Unfortunately, there are too many author reviewees to be able to do this and the timetable is subject to juggling up until the last moment. The timetable will be posted up on Friday evening in The Stripe building so you'll know who you are with and when. Illustrators having a portfolio review 1-1 will be informed whom this is with before the conference.

Got a question not answered here? Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know about 1-1s but if we haven’t, authors please email Liz and illustrators please email Paul

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What is the Saturday Night Party?

The party is a knees up for delegates on the Saturday night of the conference.  Our first parties were dressy events – black tie and long dresses. Then one year, the party fell on Halloween. This was when we discovered that the majority of SCBWI members loved dressing up! Oh the witches and the monsters! Last year, we dressed up as pirates to celebrate our illustrator keynote Jonny Duddle. This year, to celebrate our theme Cracking Characters, we are dressing up as our favourite storybook characters! Dressing up is optional! What is not optional is having fun! But don't forget to wear your name badge.

Highlights of this year's party will be: the Mass Book Launch for members who've been published in the past year and the awarding of the Crystal Kite Book Prize of 2016.  

Who's gonna be there? We're also inviting agents, editors, publishers and librarians! If you want to schmooze them, they will be there.

Can I come even if I'm not attending the conference?

We invite a number of PAL members to participate the Mass Book Launch (see FAQ about MBL participants). SCBWI British Isles also invites special industry guests (editors, publishers, agents and art directors) to come along and join the fun. Find out about the party here.

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What exactly is a Mass Book Launch and
what happens on the night?

Mass Book Launch 2015. Photo by Candy GourlayCelebrants of last year's mass book launch


It’s a bit like a débutante ball for writers, to celebrate our publishing successes from November 2015 to October 2016. Last year was incredibly moving and great fun for the participants. A speaker will introduce the MBL participants and, as a group, they will take centre stage at the party.

Who can participate in the Mass Book Launch?

1. We invite SCBWI British Isles PAL members (What's a PAL member? Find out here ) who have had/are having a book published between November 2015 and October 2016. Self-published books that have sold more than 1000 copies, and those written for charities, may also be included.

2. How do we know you've had a book published? We can only know this if you have made sure that your profile on the SCBWI website is up to date with your most recent publications. 

3. Emails are sent out to members who have recorded their latest books on the website. (Please check your Spam inbox, in case our emails go astray!)

4. The official line-up will be publicised on this page.

Will my book be for sale at the conference if I join the Mass Book Launch? 

Our bookseller P&G Wells will be selling Book Launch titles at the party. We give them instructions on which books to stock. However, SCBWI has no control over the book supply chain and occasionally there are logistical problems in stocking the full range of titles. Therefore, only if you are participating in the Mass Book Launch, please bring six copies of your book, just in case they’re out of stock.

The bookseller will be selling copies during the party as well as making them available for sale during the conference itself. 

Do book launching members have to pay for the conference? 

Yes. Unfortunately we’re not able to offer MBL participants free entry to the conference, but we’re hoping you’re planning on coming to the conference anyway.

Can I participate in the Mass Book Launch without attending the conference? 

Yes. It’s not compulsory to attend the conference to participate in the evening party. The party is a PAL event and it’s free for PAL members to participate. We are planning on selling additional tickets for the party – these will be announced later on in the year.

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What are the Outstanding Contribution Awards?

The Outstanding Contribution Awards will be announced on Sunday morning.

SCBWI British Isles is built with the hard work, enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers. As a way of recognising individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to our region we started the SCBWI British Isles Outstanding Contribution Award (OCA) in 2010. Read about it and winners of previous years here.

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What is The Hook?

The Hook. Photo by Candy Gourlay
Agents applaud Sheila Averburch, who won last year's The Hook


Seen Dragons' Den on the BBC? We have a SCBWI version! In The Hook, up to five conference delegates will each have ten minutes to pitch their work and themselves to a panel of five agents. The panel will together select the pitch that shows most promise. We can't guarantee a big deal at the end of it, BUT the winning author/illustrator does get to choose their one of the agent/editor panellists for a 1-1! It will be tense! 

How do I apply to be on The Hook?

Applications have now closed. The finalists have been informed but will not be announced until the day.

Who are the five Hook Agents?

Yasmin Standen, Davinia Andrew-Lynch, Anne Clark, Bryony Woods, Thérèse Coen are the five agents on the Hook panel.

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Can I sell my book at the conference?

Yes! Both published and self-published authors and illustrators attending the conference can nominate one title for the bookseller to stock on the booking form. Our bookseller P&G Wells will endeavour to stock these alongside a number of titles nominated by our conference speakers and faculty.  Please be aware however, that this will be subject to availability and we cannot guarantee all titles will be available . We would request that nominated books should have a clear connection to children's literature, even if they are not aimed at young people

Can I bring my own stock to sell?

Sorry, no as this would create a lot of problems and would be a discourtesy to our bookseller P&G Wells.

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Book Now. SCBWI BI Annual Conference 2016.



C O N F E R E N C E   S P O N S O R S

Our main sponsors are:

Main Sponsor: Aperture Books

Main Sponsor: Golden Egg

Sponsors: Society of Authors

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.