Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

PICTURE BOOK RETREAT 2019: Picturing Words and Writing Pictures – Join Waiting List!

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 12/07/2019 - 15/07/2019

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

The Retreat is now fully booked.

Please email to join the waiting list or in case we make more places available, thanks.

Illustration by Viv Schwarz


Illustration by James Mayhew


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 beautiful 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.

We are very pleased to announce that joining us in July this year are award winning author illustrators James Mayhew and Viv Schwarz.


James Mayhew is an illustrator and author, best known for the Katie books, Ella Bella Ballerina and Gaspard the Fox. Alongside his books, James also collaborates with musicians and orchestras in concerts for children, painting illustrations live on stage in time to the music. For many years he taught on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.





Viviane Schwarz has written and/or illustrated over a dozen picture books and a graphic novel. Her books have been translated and published internationally and have won several awards including two shortlisting for the CILIP Kate Greenaway, winner of the 2016 Little Rebels Award and an IBBY Honour nomination for illustration in 2018. She also designs games and interactive installations and has lectured at multiple universities, teaching illustration and games design, most recently at Kingston and Goldsmiths College



We can now confirm that on the Sunday we will be joined by Libby Hamilton.

Libby Hamilton is Editorial Director, Picture Books at Andersen Press. She has worked in publishing for almost 20 years, and has been fortunate enough to edit some incredible authors and illustrators including Jonny Duddle, Levi Pinfold, Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross, David McKee, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Foreman and Joseph Coelho. Books that she has collaborated on as editor have won the Kate Greenaway Medal (twice) and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, among other awards. 


Saturday’s visiting speaker is still be confirmed, watch this space.

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.

The retreat begins on Friday, 12 July (arrival from 2 pm) and ends after breakfast on Monday, 15 July 2019.

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 – £350

Non-member full cost – £395

Balance due by 31 May 2019

If you do not pay the balance by 31 May 2019 you may forfeit your place and your deposit.

Questions or queries, email

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