Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators


Author and Illustrator Masterclasses!

Book now for Author Masterclass Series 2018

Saturday 17th March – WRITING YOUNG SERIES FICTION: Plotting, planning and what publishers want with Paula Harrison

A comprehensive look at creating fiction for ages 5 – 9, including plotting and planning your idea,
and a discussion of what publishers are looking for.
Young series books are the stories that first hook children into reading independently and it’s crucial that they encourage children to love books. So how can you create a stand-out chapter book idea? How should you plot and plan out your series? How should you present your series to an agent or publisher? How can you keep your series going over a number of books? What kinds of things are publishers looking for and is the market changing? How can you promote your young chapter book series after publication? There will be short exercises on plotting and on how to keep a series going over a number of books. Paula will share her experiences and talk about what has worked for her. This will be an informal day with questions encouraged throughout.

Paula Harrison is a million selling author with three chapter book series and five middle grade novels published. She is best known for The Rescue Princesses – a 12 book series about a team of princesses that rescue animals. Her background is in primary school teaching. Find out more from:

Saturday 5th May – PICTURE BOOK FOCUS: Leave it out: Keep your picture book word count down without losing the plot with Michelle Robinson

Picture books are written with as many words as necessary – and as few as possible. But how do you keep your storytelling pithy? How do you chop when it doesn’t seem possible? What can you leave to an illustrator and how can you write directions that don’t constrain them? Prepare to tighten your writing and become your own ruthless editor.

Michelle Robinson is the bestselling author of umpteen picture books including There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes, winner of the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award. Her bestselling Goodnight Spaceman was broadcast from the International Space Station by ESA astronaut Tim Peake. Michelle’s background in writing copy for huge brands helped hone her editing skills. Her work has won a following among reviewers, who enjoy her witty prose and the delightful illustrations that accompany them. Find out more from:

Delegates are invited to bring along a picture book text to work on in class if they wish, but be prepared to get ruthless!

Please turn over for more …

Saturday 15th September – POETRY FOCUS: Striking a chord – using poetry to help your fiction sing with Joseph Coelho

Poetry is at the heart of all language. A poetic line that strikes a chord, tugs at the heart strings and leaves a mark does not just make a good poem, it makes for good writing full stop. Poet, playwright and author, Joseph Coelho will lead you through a highly practical session unearthing all the ways that poetry can help us find new ways to bring our writing to life. Drawing on poetic techniques and different poetic forms, Joseph will demonstrate how an understanding and appreciation of how poetry is written can have a huge impact on all mediums from picture books to non-fiction and beyond.

Joseph Coelho’s poems have been published in several Macmillan anthologies including Green Glass Beads ed. by Jacqueline Wilson. His debut children’s collection. Werewolf Club Rules, illustrated by John O’Leary, is published by Frances Lincoln and was the winner of the 2015 CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award. His latest collection, Overheard In A Tower Block, illustrated by Kate Milner, was a Sunday Times Book of the Week. As well as poetry Joseph has written across mediums including pictures books such as Luna Loves Library Day, illustrated by Fiona Lumbers and non-fiction including How To Write Poems, illustrated by Matt Robertson. Joseph has been a guest poet on Cbeebies Rhyme Rocket and worked alongside Valerie Bloom and Michael Rosen for Cbeebies Radio show Poetry Playtime.

Saturday 20st October – FICTION FOCUS: What’s the Big Idea? with Linas Alsenas

Middle-grade and young adult fiction is an increasingly crowded market full of well-written stories. This course will have you thinking like a publisher, asking yourself: what sets your idea or text apart? What about your book will make an editor fall in love with it? To get noticed and published successfully, you need a concept that is easily communicated, so the consumer appeal is a no-brainer. With a keener understanding of what goes on in agent pitches, editorial discussions and acquisitions meetings, you’ll be able to develop and position your big idea to cut through the noise and make an impact.

Linas Alsenas has been working in the children’s book industry for over 15 years, for American and British publishers. Today he works as a commissioning editor in Scholastic UK’s fiction team, working with authors such as Sue Wallman, Michael Rosen, Simon James Green and Michael Morpurgo. Linas is also the author of several books for young people: four picture books that he wrote and illustrated, a young adult novel (Beyond Clueless) and a non-fiction history book for teens.

Plus: Linas will look at cover letters and first chapters for any delegate wishing to submit them. Details will be confirmed nearer the time of the class.

Class Information for 2018 Masterclass Series:

Venue: The Theodore Bullfrog Pub, First floor meeting room, 26-30 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HL

Time: All classes start at 12:00pm with a break for lunch from 1pm until 1:30pm. Class finishes at 4:00pm.

Cost: PRICES HELD FROM 2016! £35 per class for SCBWI members, £42 for non members, £128 special SCBWI member discount when you book for four classes. (All prices include pre-ordered lunchtime food and an afternoon tea or coffee.)

Places are limited and can be booked online at

All events are subject to change, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Alison Smith and Cath Jones at:

Please note that unfortunately we are unable to offer any refunds unless the Masterclass is cancelled. The programme may be subject to change.