Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

PICTURE BOOK RETREAT: Picturing Words and Writing Pictures- Closed

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Date(s) - 13/07/2018 - 16/07/2018

Holland House
Main Street - Cropthorne Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3NB

Written and illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring, Anne and Otis, Macmillan, Two Hoots

The retreat weekend is now fully booked though a waiting list is in operation. Email to be added.

A long weekend of play, exploration, personal work time, group critiques and fun for picture book writers and illustrators.

Are you ready for a creative weekend for picture book writers and illustrators on the River Avon in Worcestershire? Ready to wake up each morning and jump into a creative workshop with our faculty to kick-start your writing, explore new techniques and experiment with words and image? Then join us at Holland House to do just those things.

An optional set project for writers and illustrators will be offered and ample time for work on this or on personal projects. Every attendee will be assigned a faculty mentor and will have the chance to book a slot with a commissioning editor or art director.

Evenings will be open for informal critique sessions, discussions on technique, craft and the children’s publishing industry.

After a change in planning we are proud to announce that joining us in July are award winning author illustrators Maisie Paradise Shearring  and Pam Smy, whose newest book, Thornhill, has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal for 2018.  Maisie and Pam form Orange Beak Studio with Ness Wood, an award winning book designer and art director who has worked for several major publishers and is now at David Fickling Books and works as a freelance art director and educator. Orange Beak Studio has hit the ground running in it’s first year and has already held several career developing events for writer illustrators.

Commissioning editor will be announced before the retreat. Be sure to check back!

Please note that sometimes facilitators and programmes change due to acts of ‘life’. Adam Stower and Zoë Tucker needed to back out of returning this year due to personal family commitments. They will be missed.

Most of the art materials for making dummies and optional craft techniques are supplied and a list of suggested art materials will be sent closer to the time of the retreat.

Pam Smy  has illustrated folktales, chapter books, nursery rhyme collections, picture books and novels, and specialises in older end fiction. Pam has just finished her first graphic novel, Thornhill with David Fickling Books. She has 18 years of art school teaching experience and, over this time, has developed an understanding of how to nurture creative process and work through ideas with illustrators. She has a passion for observational drawing and sketchbooks.



Maisie Paradise Shearing is an international award winning and published illustrator. In 2015, Maisie received the Bologna International Illustrators Award in recognition for her graphic novel, Susan’s School Days. Her first picturebook, The Happy Prince has been nominated for the 2017 Bratislava Biennial of Illustration. Maisie has a broad portfolio of work and she is currently working on her second picturebook as both author and illustrator with Two Hoots. Maisie is also a lecturer on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.

Ness Wood is an award-winning book designer, lecturer, published author and has qualifications in design history. Her wide-ranging accomplishments in both practical design and academia serve as a solid foundation for all her work. As a freelance designer and art director, Ness has worked for major publishers. She is known for her encouraging, straight-forward and collaborative approach with illustrators and students.


The retreat begins on Friday, 13 July (arrival from 2 pm) and ends after breakfast on Monday, 16 July 2018.

The retreat will be held at Holland House located on four acres of beautiful gardens in Cropthorne, Pershore, Worcestershire WR10 3NB. A magnet for writers and artists, Holland House is a perfect setting to find inspiration and new ideas, to experiment and share expertise.

The nearest British Rail station is Evesham. Once in Evesham you can take a taxi or bus to Holland House.

Directions: use postal code WR10 3NB for navigation settings or Google map directions.

Retreat fees include accommodation and meals. Every attendee will have their own room.

Please book as an illustrator, author illustrator or writer. This is to try for a balance of illustrators and writers at the retreat. A waiting list will be available when needed.

Non-refundable deposit to hold your place – £60

Full cost of the retreat for members – £345

Non-member full cost – £385

Balance due by 8 June 2018

If you do not pay the balance by 8 June 2018 you may forfeit your place and your deposit.

Questions or queries, email or

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