Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

LONDON Industry Insiders What Makes a Bestseller?

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 13/06/2017
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

The Lukin Pub
4 Conway Mews - Fitzrovia, London W1T 6BB


From Winnie the Pooh to Harry Potter, from Tom Gates to The Hunger Games, what are the universal features of those children’s books that take the world by storm? And what role does marketing have to play in the success of stories such as these?

In this panel event, a high profile editor, agent and author will discuss these and other questions, followed by a Q&A.


Barry Cunningham OBE, Publisher and Managing Director, Chicken House

thBarry Cunningham has had an impressive career in publishing. After an English degree at Cambridge, he joined Penguin Books in 1977. As Children’s Marketing Director for Puffin, he worked with all the great names in children’s books including Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan, and was responsible for the re-launch of Beatrix Potter. In 1984 he was promoted to the Penguin Board and became responsible for the marketing of all Penguin Books, a position he held until 1988, when he was headhunted by Random House.

In 1994 he was approached by Bloomsbury to set up their first children’s book list. Not only was the new list a success, but Barry soon became one of the best known names in publishing after he signed J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Barry left Bloomsbury at the height of its success and, in early 2000, decided to start his own publishing company. The result was Chicken House, a lively and creative company publishing highly original and enjoyable children’s books, with a special emphasis on new fiction.

Robin Stevens, Author of the Murder Most Unladylike series

Robin Stevens Author Picture by Max von SeiboldRobin Stevens was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where Alice in Wonderland lived. She has been making up stories all her life.

When she was twelve, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realised that she wanted to be Agatha Christie when she grew up.

She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies' College, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she'd get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn't). She went to university, where she studied crime fiction, and then worked in children's publishing. She is now a full-time writer, and her Murder Most Unladylike series are bestselling and award-winning.

Robin now lives in London with her husband and her pet bearded dragon, Watson.

Stephanie Thwaites, Literary Agent at Curtis Brown

BIO to follow!

Date: Tuesday 13th June 2017 Time: 7-9.30 pm

Venue: The Lukin Pub, 4 Conway Mews, Fitzrovia, London W1T 6BB

Tickets: £12 members, £18 non-members

For questions please write to Mandy Rabin at

Tickets to SCBWI events are not refundable once purchased.


This event is fully booked.