Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2015 WRITERS RETREAT with Sally Nicholls

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Date(s) - 08/05/2015 - 11/05/2015
5:00 pm - 11:00 am

Dunford House Conference Centre
Dunford Hollow - Midhurst, GU29 OAF

THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL. Please email Tania at to be added to a waiting list.

Writers Retreat with Sally Nicholls

The popular spring SCBWI Writers Retreat returns to Dunford House, Sussex, Friday 8th May to Monday 11th May 2015. Why not escape your day-to-day demands and focus on your writing in a supportive atmosphere? Imagine a room of your own to write in… wandering among bluebell woods… delicious meals and endless cake…. Joining us will be award-winning author Sally NichollsLauren Buckland, Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books and Felicity Trew, literary agent at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. One-to-ones with the speakers will also be available.



Sally will be talking about her journey from little girl with a story in her head to published novelist, with particular reference to questions such as how she takes an idea and turns it into a novel, and why she writes all her books completely out of order, and how this can work better than you think. She will also be running a workshop on plotting a story, in which she will show that you're all much better at it than you think you are, and give you some tools for unsticking sticky stories.


Lauren aims to demystify the editorial process for writers. She is a hands-on editor, working closely with her authors to make their road to publication seamless, stress-free, creative, collaborative and supported. She will talk about what happens the moment she receives a manuscript on submission, how she takes it to Acquisitions and presents it to Sales and Marketing. You’ll find out how a structural edit works, how a cover is briefed, and what the lead-up to publication date looks like, and she’ll answer any of your questions.


Here's your chance to find out exactly what it is agents do and how and why having an agent is an essential part of your publishing journey.  Caroline will also tackle the time-old question of how to submit your work and how to stand out from the crowd especially in an ever-changing digital age. She will be giving invaluable insights into the submission process along with detailed advice, examples and checklists of things to avoid, remember, include and think more about. 



Sally Nicholls was born in Stockton, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. She has always loved stories, and spent her childhood trying to make real life work like it does in books. Sally has published six novels for children and teenagers, four with Scholastic: Ways to Live ForeverSeason of SecretsAll Fall Down and Close Your Pretty Eyes, and two with reluctant reader press Barrington Stoke: A Lily, A Rose and Shadow Girl. She has won many awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year, and the Die Zeit Luchs des Jahres.



Lauren Buckland is a Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, the Bookseller 2014 Children's Publisher of the Year. She has previously worked at Macmillan Children's Books and Random House Children's Publishers. Over her career she has worked with authors including China Mieville, Aidan Chambers, Theresa Breslin, Jonathan Stroud, Berlie Doherty, Beth Reekles and Laura Dockrill. Books she has edited have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (both YA and 9-11 categories) and the YA Romantic Novelists Association Award, and she has been longlisted twice for the Branford Boase Award alongside her authors. She is a champion of debut fiction writers who have a commercial, compelling voice and an original, captivating story to tell.



Caroline Sheldon has run the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency for nearly thirty years. She represents authors and illustrators in adult and children’s books, and among her stellar list of children’s clients are John Agard, Penny Dale, Julia Donaldson, Cathy McPhail, Jim Smith, Teri Terry and Lee Weatherly. She and her colleague Felicity Trew represent exciting talent in YA, middle grade and picture books and illustration. Before setting up her own agency nearly 30 years ago, Caroline worked as an editor at Random House Children’s Books and Walker Books.




Cost: £310 for SCBWI Members or £350 for non-members. This is inclusive of 3 nights’ accommodation (single-room occupancy), all meals, talks and a one-to-one with Sally, Lauren or Felicity.

Please secure your place with a non-refundable £50 deposit, the balance to be paid by 31st March 2015 by BACS. We will email details on how to pay the balance.

Priority is given to SCBWI members, so why not sign up and enjoy all the benefits and discounts that SCBWI Members receive?

The Writers Retreat will start around 5pm Friday 8th May and ends at 11am Monday 11th May 2015.

It will be held at Dunford House Conference Centre, Dunford Hollow, Midhurst, GU29 0AF.

For more information, email Tania Tay at

The full retreat programme is under construction and subject to change. 

Photo of Cake Table at SCBWI Retreat courtesy of Candy Gourlay.


This event is fully booked.