Society of
Children's Book Writers
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Date(s) - 06/05/2016 - 09/05/2016

Dunford House Conference Centre
Dunford Hollow - Midhurst, GU29 OAF


Find focus and inspiration at the 2016 SCBWI Writers Retreat


The popular SCBWI Writers Retreat returns to Dunford House, Sussex, 6th May to 9th May 2016. Imagine strolling through bluebell woods before returning to write in a supportive atmosphere….

Joining us will be award-winning author Melvin Burgess, Commissioning Editor Rachel Mann of Simon & Schuster, and Felicity Trew, literary agent at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. All talks and a one-to-one with a speaker is included in the price.


Melvin Burgess – Getting in touch with your inner child

Melvin Final1 copy

For most of us writing for young people, the single biggest resource is our own childhood and adolescence. But memories suffer from the problem of recall – they look back. This workshop is designed to help you recover not just what happened, but what it felt like to be there as a young person.






Rachel Mann 2015


Rachel Mann – Both for the Book: How to make the most of the editorial process

Editing seems to be something that authors either love or dread – and more often the latter! Though sometimes gruelling, it can be such an educational and enjoyable process – and will only ever improve your work. This talk will explain the process in detail, give tips on what to expect, what to avoid and what you will embrace. Rachel's talk will help you make your submission stand out, as well as helping you look forward to enjoying a positive working relationship with your editors.



Felicity Trew: The Role of an Agent

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. Felicity 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.





Speakers Biographies

Melvin Burgess was born in Sussex in 1954. His first book, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990, and was short listed for the Carnegie Medal. He was since won various awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award for, JUNK, which was also voted one of the top ten Carnegie winners of all time, and and the LA Times Best Young Adult Book of the Year award for Doing It. His work has been widely adapted for stage and TV and film. Melvin lives and works in Hebden Bridge with his partner, Anita.

Rachel Mann is currently Commissioning Editor for children’s fiction at Simon & Schuster UK, having previously been at both Random House and Penguin Children’s. She has worked with authors such as Michael Morpurgo, Darren Shan, Steve Cole and Gayle Forman, and is particularly interested in unconventional storytelling and strong, contemporary voices. She was a judge for the Undiscovered Writers competition 2016, and is an editorial mentor for the Arts Council-funded diversity initiative, Megaphone Writes. She is (very slowly) completing an MA in Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton, and is also Founding Director of literacy and education charity, The Saltpond Education Project.

Felicity Trew is a literary agent at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and is looking to build-up a list in adult fiction and children’s books. Dream projects to arrive on Felicity’s desk today might include: a spellbinding novel for our time, a bold contemporary UK teen voice, an accessible, well-plotted (and don't hold back on the funny) book for middle grade and a potentially classic picture book text for younger children. Felicity holds an MA in Renaissance Literature and is eagerly spotting talent to develop in the future.



One-to-one with a speaker

Included is a 15 minute one-to-one with one of the speakers. You will be required to email material in advance for this. We will try our best to match you with your requested speaker but please be aware that you may not get your choice.



Three nights’ accommodation and all meals are included. Special diets are catered for.

The venue is YMCA building Dunford House so please don’t expect four star hotel standard. You may not be able to work in your room but there are some wonderful libraries and drawing rooms to work in downstairs. The rooms are all very different. Most have an en-suite bathroom but two rooms have a shared bathroom. There is a £20 discount for the shared bathroom rooms, and this is reflected in the deposit required.

All rooms are single accommodation, but if you wish to share with a friend this can be arranged subject to availability. 

Several rooms are in the attic and there are steep stairs. Please let us know if you have any disability issues and would prefer a ground floor room.

For more information about the venue please see:



The total price (includes 3 nights' accommodation, all meals, talks and a one-to-one with a speaker):

£330 for SCBWI members (£310 for shared bathroom rooms)  

£370 for non-members (£350 for shared bathroom rooms) 

To book your place, please pay a deposit of £50 or £30 for the shared bathroom rooms. 

The balance of £280 for members or £320 for non-members will then be payable by BACS any time before 31st March 2016.

If you require a payment plan please email me and this can be arranged. 

If you do not pay the balance by 31st March 2016 you may forfeit your place and your deposit.


For more information, email Tania at

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



This event is fully booked.