Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

SCBWI PICTURE BOOK RETREAT 2022 – bookings now closed.

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Date(s) - 08/07/2022 - 11/07/2022

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


This event has now SOLD OUT and bookings are closed.
Please email
If you would like to be added to a waiting list. Thank you!

If you are a writer or illustrator from a background traditionally  underrepresented in publishing and you applied, you will be hearing from us by 10 March 2022.


Picturing Words and Writing Pictures – 10th anniversary!

With guest speakers Garry Parsons and Pippa Goodhart

Friday, 8 July (3 pm onwards) to Monday, 11 July 2022 (leave after breakfast)


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


Are you ready for an invigorating weekend 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 picture book writing & illustrating, explore new techniques and experiment with words and images? Then join us at Holland House to do just those things.

As well as the creative activities in our facilitated sessions, there will be time for work on personal projects.


*Every attendee will be pre-assigned a faculty mentor (published authors / illustrators, commissioning editor or art director) for their 20 minute 1-to-1 review session.


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 this year’s speakers are award-winning picture book creators Pippa Goodhart and Garry Parsons.


We will be joined on Saturday and Sunday for the day by two visiting professionals from the publishing industry (tbc).

Two scholarship places are available to underrepresented writers and illustrators – please see below for how to apply.


Garry Parsons is an award-winning illustrator of books for children, including the bestselling picture book The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter. Garry’s illustrations have accompanied the words of many prestigious picture book authors, including Kes Gray, Ian Whybrow and Peter Bently.

Garry has also illustrated the popular fiction series The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey and the space adventure series George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking for slightly older readers. Garry has recently collaborated with Matt Edmondson on an acclaimed interactive novelty gift book, The Greatest Magician in the World. Garry’s books have been translated into many languages, and his illustrations are loved by children around the world. Garry lives in the Kent coast with his young family.


Pippa Goodhart (who also writes under the pen name of Laura Owen) comes from a background of selling children’s books, teaching, and children’s book publishing. She has been writing children’s books for about twenty years, with over eighty books published, ranging from a board book to novels for adults. You Choose, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, was winner of Mumsnet’s Best Book of the Year for Three to Four Year Olds and it has been picked again and again by Bookstart as one of their books to give three year-olds, (and by the Booked Up scheme to be given to twelve year-olds). Pippa also writes the Winnie the Witch young fiction range under the pen name of Laura Owen. As well as writing, Pippa does lots of school visits and also teaches a Writing for Children module at De Montfort University. Pippa is currently helping her architect husband to build a new house! She has lived in Leicester for twenty-five years.




Your SCBWI organisers and reviewers


Natascha BiebowNatascha Biebow, MBE, is the founder of storyshaping literary consultancy Blue Elephant Storyshaping and Editorial Director of Five Quills Press. With over 25 years’ experience editing novelty books, picture books, non-fiction and young fiction, her favourite job is working with authors and illustrators to discover the story they are passionate about.

She is also the author of The Crayon Man: the true story of the invention of Crayola crayons, winner of the Irma Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature and Best STEM Book 2020.


Paul MortonPaul Morton a professional illustrator for over 30 years running Hot Frog Graphics studio with a wide spectrum of clients including chocolate companies and games’ manufacturers. Paul’s debut illustrated early reader book came out in 2020, published by Five Quills. Bug Belly Babysitting Trouble tells the story of the greedy and ingenious frog Bug Belly, and his heroic rescue of hundreds of helpless little tadpoles. The 2nd book in the series is Bug Belly Froggy Rescue.




Clare Welsh is a former primary school teacher, turned children’s writer. She has published over 40 books, including picture books and early readers, and has more in the publishing pipeline. When Clare isn’t writing stories, she is inspiring people to write their own, running events for children and working as a writing tutor for Write Mentor. Clare’s publishers include Little Tiger Press, Quarto, Pan Macmillan, Andersen Press, Nosy Crow, Storyhouse Books, Ladybird, Schofield and Sims and Collins Big Cat.





Questions or queries, please email

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

The retreat begins on Friday, 8 July (arrival from 3 pm) and ends after breakfast on Monday, 11 July 2022.

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

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

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

*Word of warning, this postcode has sent people to a different location, so please check on your sat nav map that it is Holland House, Cropthorne as your target destination.

Retreat fees include accommodation and meals, plus a pre-assigned 20-minute 1-1 mentor session. Every attendee can have their own room.

*On the booking form please book as an illustrator, author/ illustrator or writer. This is to try for a balance of illustrators and writers at the retreat. Once the event is fully booked a waiting list will be created.

Non-refundable deposit to hold your place – £75 member (£95 non-member)

Full cost of the retreat for members – £380

Non-member full cost – £480

Balance due by 31 May 2022

If you do not pay the balance by 31 May 2022 you may forfeit your place and your deposit.



In addition, there will be 2 fully funded places available for writers and illustrators underrepresented in children’s publishing (BAME, LGBTQ+, socio-economically marginalised and writers with a disability).

We recognise all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA+, BAME, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities. We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction).

Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalisation.

To apply for a free funded place, please complete the application form here:

You’ll need to give a brief statement of why the place would be useful to you, and submit one completed picture book text or dummy book/sample illustrations & character sketches. Please ensure that you don’t include your name on your uploaded files as entries will be judged anonymously. 

The deadline for submitting applications for free places is midnight on 27 February 2022.  Applicants will be informed whether they have been successful, or not, by March 10th.

Please keep your own backup file of your entry in case any tech issues arise, in which case we’ll contact you and ask for your entry to be resent to us via email.


Questions or queries, please email

The full retreat programme is still being decided, and subject to change.



Below are a couple of pictures from past Retreats followed by some lovely testimonials from previous years.

Here’s what previous participants thought about Retreat 2019 …

Hi all. I’d just like to thank you for a most magical and inspiring retreat! It was so much fun and so lovely to meet you all. I particularly enjoyed getting back into the fun of experimenting and exploring with creativity – and just chatting with other eccentric, creative people. What a wonderful retreat! Can’t wait for next year.



A wonderful weekend and will change the way I work in many ways.

Many thanks again to our terrific organisers and to everyone for being such good and interesting company. It was fantastic to be in the company of so many talented and fun people.  And I can make origami swans now (sort of)



Echoing what everyone else has said… I had a great weekend and am feeling excited about editing some old projects and starting some new ones. And I got two ideas for new books in the car to the station with Paul and Viv, which I’m really looking forward to playing around with, so extra thanks, 



It was my first writers and illustrators retreat and I felt totally accepted as a newbie.

A wonderful group of friendly, funny and amazing writers and illustrators.

Thank you for all the constructive advice it was so helpful as I am only just beginning a new journey in this area of my life .

Thank you to all of you, you made my weekend very special.



I was just reflecting that when I signed up for this on a total leap of faith thinking hmmmn well – I’ll stick a deposit down and then see …then seeing all these email addresses of people I didn’t know, again thinking  – what am I doing?!! – little would I know… what a welcoming, fun, energising, supportive and great bunch of souls would coalesce. Thanks to the morning yogis :-), the chats, feedback, generous sharing of info and names, music and art.



I want to join the chorus of thanks to organisers and thanks to participants who made this weekend so special. I have made new friends and I’m excited for everyone’s projects as well as my own! Next year feels so far away! When can we book?



Yes, it really was a joy to meet you all. Thank-you for your support, kind words and making me feel incredibly welcome.

Best wishes for all of your upcoming projects – it was a honour to spend the weekend amongst such talent!

Right, now to return to my paper aeroplane practice ready for next year…