Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators



Bookings opening soon!


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

Feel free to email our conference co-chairs, Tracy Liennard  and AJ de Montjoie at We’re more than happy to help.

Once attending the conference, Volunteers wear badges.

They are friendly and will sort any issues. Whatsoever!

How do I travel to Winchester?

Winchester is accessible by rail or road. (If coming from farther afield Southampton is the nearest airport, Heathrow is also more than doable) Maps and directions can be found on our How To Get There guide.

How can I book the conference?

To book the conference click on our ‘Book Now’ link at the bottom of this page. If you are an SCBWI member log in first to receive the members’ discounted rate. 

If you are not a member,  consider joining for the discount.

We also offer discounts to Society of Authors and Association of Illustrators members – please contact them for our voucher code.

When do I need to book my place by?

Bookings remain open till midnight, 2nd November 2018.

Here are the reasons to book early:

  1. Late bookings make it difficult to find accommodation in Winchester.
  2. Places can be few,  sessions limited. Booking early means your first choice is guaranteed.
  3. 1-1 professional reviews run out! Booking early gives you a 1-1 portfolio or manuscript review with a industry professional editor an agent.

What deadlines should I be aware of?

  1. Scholarship applications: submissions until midnight, Saturday 25th August 2018
  2. Manuscript (one to one reviews) deadline for receipt of MS 1st October 2018
  3. The Hook: deadline for entries 1st October 2018
  4. Conference booking deadline: midnight, 02nd November 2018
  5. Artwork one to one reviews: book by 1st November 2018
  6. Friday Night Critique: manuscripts/extracts to be submitted by 4th November 2018

I’ve got an idea for next year’s conference, who do I pitch it to? All ideas welcome!  Please drop co-chairs AJ de Montjoie and Tracy Liennard an e-mail at

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Why the Friday Fringe?

The Friday Fringe evolved over the years. Travel and time (our theme for this year, don’t forget the party and fancy dress) meant many attendees arrived in Winchester on the Friday before the conference.

At first, early birds organised informal meet-ups. However, one year, a volunteer conceived a brilliant idea. Why not hold a critique meet-up the night before the conference. For many new members it was, and is, the first time they’ve experienced receiving, or giving feedback, on a manuscript, or portfolio. This led to everyone traipsing to a restaurant and sharing a meal – ice was broken, friends made.

Over time informal events sprung up. Volunteers hosting and sharing craft sessions, etc. This year, the Friday Fringe will be coordinated by xxx and volunteers have kindly stepped up to make the day a vibrant experience.

What is a Crawl?

The Friday Fringe has sketch and scrawl crawl events. The Sketch Crawl – this year organised by veteran illustrator Paul Morton – for lovers of drawing while wandering through the historic city of Winchester will start at xxxx. This year’s Scrawl Crawl is organised by Lorraine Cooke. It’s a chance for illustrators to do what they do best.

Writing will be husbanded by XXXXXXX.

It goes without saying writers are welcome to the Sketch Crawl, and illustrators welcome to the Scrawl Crawl! Hic: I know I have crossed genres in the past. Read a blog report about the Sketch Crawl.

Clare at one of our Sketch Crawls. Photo by Paul Morton.

Clare at one of our Sketch Crawls. Photo by Paul Morton.

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 Sunday, 11th 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. It’s not just a way to acquire feedback on your work but a great way to meet the writers and illustrators you will spend the weekend with. Once you’re signed up, you will receive an email nearer the time to 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. Over time, things changed slightly and it is now catered by the university. If you wish to attend the dinner, remember to tick the box on the form along with your food choice and you will be charged for the meal at the same time as your conference fee. Remember, you don’t even have to be at the critique event to attend!

What are Breakout Sessions?

Breakouts are when the audience splits up to attend professional events that happen concurrently. You can choose your preferred sessions on the booking form. Yeah, we know it’s really hard to choose.

What is the PULSE/SPARK track of the conference?

The PULSE track of SCBWI-BI focus on the needs of our growing numbers of published authors and illustrators. While the SPARK track focuses on the unique needs of our members who publish independently. Once published, however, their need is the same: how to get their books into the hands of readers. This year the two tracks team up. With conference sessions dedicated to effective video marketing and publicity, how to understand sales information, and developing your perfect school visit. The combined PULSE/SPARK track is co-curated this year by author Mo O’Hara and author-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 £235
  • Not a Member £265

Any discounts?

SCWBI volunteers, of course. Also the Society of Authors and the Association of Illustrators get a special rate. Please contact those organisations for your discount code.

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 which are not included in the conference fee:

  1. Friday Night Critique – £7
  2. Optional Friday Night Dinner at the University – £17.75 for 2 courses
  3. 1-1 Portfolio or Manuscript Review – £30 for members / £35 for non-members
  4. Party (MBL) for Non conference goers/ plus ones – £17.00

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

We are very sorry you can no longer attend. Unfortunately, you must understand, the conference is carefully budgeted and planned ahead of time. We are unable to offer refunds, we are a charity organisation.

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. Winchester is a small town,  if you book near the station or the university, you should be able to get to all the events on foot.

Top tip: the committee and some of the speakers will be staying at the Winchester Royal Hotel, where the bar is being kept open until late (but payments after 11pm have to be charged to room accounts, so if you’re not staying you’ll have to team up with a resident and pay them back for the drinks!). The Visit Winchester website can be useful if you aren’t familiar with the town.

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1-1 Professional Reviews

Authors book (paid) a 15 minute slot in which agents or editors will give them feedback on a manuscript. Illustrators book (paid) 25 minute slots with artist agents or editors to receive 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. Author 1-1s take place on Saturday, and illustrator 1-1s will take place on the Saturday, unless you are notified otherwise.  All reviews will be at appointed times.

What can I submit?

Details of what to submit can be found on the 1-1 Reviews page. In fairness to our reviewers, please do not exceed the maximum amounts indicated. You may however send less than the maximum amount if you prefer.

How do I submit my work?

Full instructions for submitting work can be found on the 1-1 Reviews page. 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 learn. 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 manuscript has been seen) so that we can endeavour to place you with someone new, where possible. Details of reviewers can be found on our 1-1 Reviews page

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? (See also Mass Book Launch)

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 as something that will make us laugh. This year your imagination can go wild as you consider the theme of Travelling through Time … grab your best Victorian sleuth outfit, space costume or fantasy pixie, we know you can be creative. 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 2018. 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 in 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.

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Mass Book Launch 2016

Participants in last year’s Mass Book Launch

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

It’s a bit like a débutante ball for writers, to celebrate our publishing successes from November 2017 to October 2018. A speaker will introduce the MBL participants and, in small groups, 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?) who have had/are having a book published between November 2017 and October 2018. 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.The deadline for updating your profile on the SCBWI website is 5pm, Friday 10th August
  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. Book(s) information will be collected on a new format this year. Through the SCWBI BI event MBL Registration

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, if you think there may be problems with sourcing your book, 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, if they are attending the conference. Unfortunately we’re not able to offer MBL participants free entry to the conference, but we’re hoping you’re planning on coming 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. Please see the party pages for further information.

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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.

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What is 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 four 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 one of the agent panellists for a 1-1!

It will be tense!

How do I apply to be on ‘The Hook’?

  1. 1. BOOK FOR THE CONFERENCE You can be published but not currently or at the time of the conference have an agent.
  2. 2. PLEASE SEND:
    • • Your pitch: we’re looking for a few sentences that tell us clearly, concisely and perhaps most importantly, engagingly (hookily!), what your story is about – a short paragraph that paints a compelling mental picture of your story. Like a poem – every word counts! You have up to three minutes to deliver it but the pithier the better. (This might be like the blurb for the back cover or the paragraph about your story you’d use in your cover letter to an agent.)

Submit your pitch in the body of your email and include your name, email address, and the title of your story / the name of your character.

  • • WITH YOUR PITCH please submit a single attachment with the following: 
    • AUTHORS – The first 600 words of a completed MG/YA novel
    • PB AUTHORS – A full PB MS for one picture book
    • AUTHOR-ILLUSTRATORS – a full dummy (completed text plus one colour spread and b & w artwork) or text and character sketches.
    • ILLUSTRATORS – up to 5 character sketches for the SAME CHARACTER that in themselves tell a story.

Ensure your attachment includes the title or your story / the name of your character (it’s helpful to use this as the file name of your document). All entries will be judged anonymously so please DO NOT include your name or other identifying information anywhere on your attachment.

Please send all submissions as word documents for authors and PDFs for illustrators as to by Midnight (BST) Monday 1st October 2018.

If selected, your submission to The Hook, not including your pitch, will be sent to the panellists a few days before the conference and made available at the time of the event on and Words & Pictures for the audience to read too. The panellists are asked not to confer about the submissions before the event.

If selected, you may hone your pitch if you wish but it must be for the same novel/PB or character originally submitted. On the day you can use notes if you need to. The panel will be looking for content much more than a super confident performance.

On the day, each author/illustrator has TEN minutes to: Introduce themselves (2-3 minutes); Deliver their elevator pitch (2-3 minutes) (you can read from notes); Receive feedback from the panel (4-5 minutes). When all the pitches have been heard, the panel will confer for a few minutes to choose a winner, then the winner will choose the panellist with whom they would most like to receive the prize of a one hour 1-1 with their work.

This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone brave enough to have a go! All the selected participants will receive constructive and encouraging feedback from the panel, plus – as we all know how subjective the industry is – even if your work doesn’t ‘win’ on the day, who knows who’s listening and reading in the audience?!

Who are the four Hook Agents?

Chloe Seager (Northbank Talent), Alice Sutherland-Hawes (Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency), Molly Ker Hawn (The Bent Agency), and Ben Illis (The BIA)

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What is ‘Speed Dating’ with Stories? 

One of the brilliant things about the conference is the opportunity to meet industry professionals like agents and editors. This session allows you not only to pitch your story idea, but also to get feedback on it. Then you have time to make any changes you like before you pitch it again. As with singles’ speed dating, you get roughly three minutes to chat, but with this session you get professional feedback from an agent or editor about the thing you’re most passionate about (i.e. your story) rather than having to chat to a random person about your favourite pizza topping…

Will I need to prepare anything in advance?

It would be a much more useful experience for you if you have prepared a pitch in advance of the session. Pitching will start almost from the very beginning of the session so there won’t be much time to write one from scratch. You will not need to submit anything to the agents/editors before the session though. Come armed only with your pitch and some paper and pens so you can jot things down during the session. There is plenty of information online about how to prepare a good pitch, and you may choose to go to Emma Greenwood’s Friday Fringe session to get some more help.

Is it only for authors?

Illustrators, there won’t be the opportunity to bring your whole portfolio and show that. This session is designed to be about the spoken word so pitches will need to be communicated that way. However, if you are an author-illustrator pitching a picture book concept or a graphic novel concept, this is definitely for you. Also illustrators, if you have ideas for worlds and the characters within it then the pitching of that story would work even without demonstrating the characters themselves.

How similar is this session to 1-1s and the Hook?

Well, ‘speed dating’ involves pitching verbally. With 1-1s you get feedback over a much larger portion of your manuscript and your synopsis as well, both of which will have been considered by the agent/editor before the conference. With the Hook you will also submit some work beforehand and it will be a very different experience from this session, even though they both focus on pitching. The Hook is also only for delegates with a completed manuscript, whereas here you can pitch an idea even if you haven’t written a word of it yet. There’s nothing to stop you from applying to be involved in all three!

Why are the numbers limited?

We want to try to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to pitch to as many of the agents/editors involved with the session as they want to. This will not be possible if numbers are unlimited. Please book early if you want to attend this session, to avoid disappointment.

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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 on the booking form for the bookseller to stock. 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?

There has occasionally been difficulty with stocking some titles. If you think this may apply to you, and you are able to do so, you may wish to bring up to six copies of your own book. If you present them to our bookseller – P&G Wells – at their stand at the conference, they will sell the titles for you if they have not been able to source copies of their own. They will then settle up after the conference. We politely request that you please do not sell copies other than through our bookseller.

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C O N F E R E N C E  S P O N S O R S
Our main sponsors are:

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