Sheila's enthusiasm and drive have made SCBWI BI South East Scotland Network (SES) what it is today. This network has only been up and running since last year but already the fantastic teach-ins and events organised by Sheila and the SES team have opened up many areas of the writing process. Sheila's lust for life is contagious. Her encouragement and determination to succeed rubs off on others and her energy for the literary world is contagious. SCBWI BI South East Scotland is impossible to imagine without Sheila.
Clare Bell is one of our unsung SCBWI BI heroes. She’s completely dedicated to assisting other members on their writing journeys and gives generously of her time and knowledge. On a local level, she has long held the volunteer role of Joint Central West Network Organiser. Each year she works at growing her local branch and organises industry events and critique meet-ups. On a national level, she’s been organising the annual conference’s Friday night critique event and social since 2010, ensuring a productive and memorable start to the conference each year. Even without all she does as a volunteer, her dedication to the organisation would shine through. She’s committed to raising the profile of SCBWI, helping other writers and fostering a love of literacy in children. She’s a true SCBWI BI star!
Volunteers have come and gone, but Regional Advisor Natascha remains steering the course for SCBWI British Isles. With kindness, enthusiasm and grace, she has helped grow our region from tiny beginnings 15 years ago to one of the largest outside the US. She welcomes new initiatives and builds bridges among newbie writers, PAL members, agents and publishers. From Undiscovered Voices, Words & Pictures, website redesigns, conferences, and a hundred other etceteras, it is Natascha who must query HQ, defend and persuade. She’s a confident, and organised leader who selflessly works behind the scenes to quietly orchestrate everything. In a world where the loudest get noticed, she gets on with what needs to be done, never glory-seeking, just wanting the British Isles to be the best it can be. And as we grow, so too grows the mountain of paperwork, the number of people clamouring for answers NOW, the projects that need to be assessed. Being RA brings the responsibilities and workload of a full-time job without the pay, but Natascha does this while bringing up a family, running her own editorial business and completing a teaching degree. Natascha deserves our utmost thanks – please vote for this amazing woman.
Do spreadsheets make you break out in hives? Budgets give you the heebie-jeebies? Ask Kathy! Like a trusty beaver, Kathy works away to make sure that our finances make sense and we have money to reinvest. She keeps track of every event's budgets and payments. With 30 events annually, that is A LOT to keep track of! The growth of the organization puts pressure on all the top members, but with the new website, and payments challenges galore, the workload on Kathy has increased tremendously. She also seamlessly tackles the mammoth task of compiling the BI year-end accounts. Her patience, commitment and goodwill have been unfailing at a time when her own other work commitments have intensified. It's mind-boggling at times, but Kathy is always the epitome of calm. Generous with her advice and enthusiastic about everything SCBWI BI has to offer, without her, the day-to-day running of the region would be impossible. As if this weren't enough, Kathy also runs the South East Network and organises the conference badge competition. She is the kind of volunteer who always tries to help out if she can, generously helps new members and for whom nothing is too much trouble.
In Central North Network the members are so far apart that they would need an astronomer's telescope to see each other if it weren't for Addy and her excellent web of communications. She sits in the centre of this like a lovely, very good-natured little spider, making sure that her far-flung members gain all possible benefits by organising events for us and by passing on her own expertise and passion for what we all love best. Anyone who sets foot in the Central North Network instantly becomes a member of Addy's "extra family" and she makes time for all of us. Equally, she is determined to raise the profile of SCBWI BI itself and is always ready to support its initiatives, despite the amount of travelling involved. In Addy Farmer, SCBWI BI has an ambassador who knows how to put the heart into writers and illustrators, and the fun into "making books".
Candy won the OCA in 2011, but never one to rest on her laurels, Candy has continued to forge new paths for SCBWI BI with amazing dedication and good humour. She has worked tirelessly over the long term to provide SCBWI BI with a slick, professional online presence. This year, Candy has rebuilt our website (again) into one of the best amongst SCBWI regions and helped to organize a PAL Librarian event. As if this weren’t enough, she has introduced an entire new PULSE strand to the annual conference and, rather than just leaving it to others to organise, she has done most of the logistical hard work herself that will make this aspiration a reality. Her constant hard work and dedication are a powerhouse that helps the rest of the team to push forward, motivated, inspired and in focus. She is tireless in her efforts and never shirks a job, even when busy on all her other projects. She always has a good word to say and is welcoming and courteous with all those around her. Her energy and enthusiasm seems boundless. She is constantly innovating and really deserves to win the Outstanding Contribution Award again.
Sara Grant’s efforts to help new and established writers further their success is unstinting and full of energy and warmth. Together with Sara O'Connor, she is responsible for creation and running of the Undiscovered Voices anthology. The anthology has launched the careers of over 24 writers and led to the publication of over 70 books since 2008 and is extremely well-respected within the industry. I am sure everyone would like to recognise the triumphant success the UV anthology has achieved and take this opportunity to thank the brains behind it!
Sara Grant also managed the Slush Pile Challenge for its first year (leading to a debut author securing a UK/US deal that’s since featured on the New York Times best seller list!). Also, alongside Margaret Carey, she led the Professional Series for many years, during which it moved to its central London venue. Sara is a delight as a person and a loyal and giving friend. She is warm, generous and funny. She is also a truly talented writer and editor. She handles her many successes (publications, book awards, scholarships) with great modesty. Despite her demanding writing commitments, she gives generously of herself and her expertise to the SCBWI BI every year. She would be a truly deserving recipient of the award.
M Louise Kelly
Without Louise’s drive, vision and enthusiasm the South East Scotland Network might never have been established. In tandem with the wonderful Sheila M Averbuch, she has resurrected a significant SCBWI presence in this part of the British Isles and for which many are eternally grateful. Louise is talented, generous, thoughtful and completely tireless in her quest to put SCBWI BI on the map throughout Scotland. She truly embodies the spirit of SCBWI BI and is more than worthy of this award.
is never one to blow her own trumpet, but she manages two demanding roles. As the Membership Coordinator she quietly tries to steer the demands of the region with the flow of information from headquarters – welcoming new members as quickly as she can and dealing with problems arising. She works with an admirable candour, earnestness and determination to get things rights. As the London Network Organiser, Anita shows another side to herself – encouraging members and well-known writers and illustrators to gather for socials that become the talk of Facebook. Finding different pubs and different guests of honour, Anita brings a lot of fun to her network. As a member of SCBWI BI since 2001 and a volunteer for a number of years, Anita is not only a prolific writer, but also a shining example of a volunteer who is willing to tackle admin as well as the glitz and always with a smile.
Maureen works tirelessly to arrange exciting, inpirational events in the North East Network, including the Professional Series. She is especially friendly and supportive of new members, treating everyone with equality and respect as well as constant enthusiasm. She is always looking for ways to bring the North East Network together, making connections around the region with the likes of Seven Stories. Maureen is an exceptional person and deserves recognition for her efforts.
Having organised one event recently, I am in awe of anyone who takes on the responsibility for the entire SCBWI British Isles events machine. Steph Macgregor has stepped up so cheerfully. She is quick to respond to problems and does so kindly, plus she had the BRILLIANT idea of creating a youtube video to show anyone organising an event through how to add a new event to the SCBWI website. Members and non-members coming to an event will not realise the TON of work needed to create our excellent programme of masterclasses, retreats and workshops. While SCBWI BI's online life is great – the opportunities to meet each other, industry professionals and published authors at real life events is what truly knits the organisation together. Her support of events is significant in helping to grow SCBWI here in the British Isles. It's people like Steph who are willing to shoulder the huge organisational responsibilities that make this happen.
Lesley organises the South West Network write-ins, she ensures everyone has all the info and is the friendly, welcoming face for all new members when they first attend, she is very encouraging to new writers and offers sound advice, she is the first to compliment anyone on successes and she deserves recognition for all her hard work.
Anne-Marie Perks Our region’s Illustrator Coordinator is one of our longest-standing SCBWI members. Anne-Marie has continued to provide events and opportunities for illustrators for many years, including running the Illustrator Masterclass series, organising the Picture Book retreat and working on the conference committee. She is a careful organizer, keeping her smile and an open mind as she manages the difficult balance between work deadlines and the demands of an increasingly active illustrator membership. She is very generous with her time and knowledge as a professional illustrator and university lecturer. She makes sure that illustrators remain close members of the SCBWI BI family rather than distant relatives and manages a small but steadily growing team of illustrators who share this vision.
We are proud to present the nominees for this year's Outstanding Contribution Award. The OCA honours members who have made an outstanding contribution to our region. Nominees are individuals who embody the spirit of SCBWI and whose ideas and hard work have had a major impact on the success and growth of our region. The enthusiasm, dedication, initiative and innovation of these nominees have made a real difference to our members, helping us hone our craft and develop our careers.
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