The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is the only international professional organisation dedicated to serving people who share a vital interest in children’s literature, magazines, film, television and/or multimedia.
Whether you’re a professional children’s writer or illustrator, or a newcomer to the field, the SCBWI has plenty to offer you, from local to national to international events, from advice on getting your first deal to help in navigating your career as a writer or illustrator. Established in 1971, SCBWI now has over 22,000 members in 70 regional chapters worldwide. Membership benefits include professional development and networking opportunities, marketing information, events, publications, online profiles, grants and awards.
What does SCBWI British Isles do?
SCBWI British Isles is a dynamic and friendly chapter of over 850 members, which aims to support aspiring and published writers and illustrators and provide opportunities for them to network, hone their craft and develop their careers. Events include an annual two-day conference, writing retreats, an agents’ party, professional series, illustrators’ series, sketch and scrawl crawls, masterclasses and PULSE events for published members. A network of local coordinators run local critique groups and organise workshops and speaker and social events across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What SCBWI does for its members
SCBWI is a professional guild. It speaks as a consolidated global voice for professional children’s book writers and illustrators. In recent years, the SCBWI has successfully lobbied for such issues as new copyright legislation, equitable treatment of authors and artists, and fair contract terms;
- It keeps members up to date with industry developments through the SCBWI PULSE series, with opportunities to learn more about the ’business‘ of writing and illustrating, and network with librarians and booksellers at exclusive events;
- It offers members invaluable exposure to editors, art directors and agents through one-to-one manuscript or portfolio reviews at the annual conference and retreat, the members-only Agents’ Party, and the Slush Pile Challenge and biennial SCBWI Undiscovered Voices (www.undiscoveredvoices.com) competitions;
- It supports professional development for members to hone their craft through the Masterclass series, conference workshops and highly- successful critique groups;
- It gives members increased visibility online with a free profile on the main SCBWI websites, often a point of call for agents and editors;
- It provides support and a network of like-minded people, helping to answer members’ queries through a variety of online resources, including an email forum and social networking site;
- It facilitates networking opportunities with professionals worldwide;
- Publications include the SCBWI international magazine, the Bulletin, Words & Pictures newsletter blog and resources including the annual publications and market guide.
- Website resources include book launch parties, members’ bookshop, discussion boards, illustrator gallery, find-a-speaker search facility, webinars and podcasts.
- The Golden and Crystal Kite Awards for the most outstanding books published by SCBWI members each year, voted for by SCBWI peers;
- The Sid Fleischman Humour Award is presented to authors whose work exemplifies the excellence of writing in the genre of humour;
- The annual Spark Award recognises excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route;
- The Book Launch Award provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to help the promotion of their newly published work and take the marketing strategy into their own creative hands;
- The Emerging Voices Award fosters the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books;
- The Multi-Cultural Work-in-Progress Grant assists writers in the completion of a manuscript featuring a voice traditionally underrepresented in children’s books;
- Magazine Merit Awards are presented for outstanding original magazine work for young people published during that year;
- The Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award is presented to the best manuscript submitted for individual critique at the LA Conference;
- The Martha Weston Grant encourages authors and illustrators to nurture their creativity in a different genre of children’s books;
- The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award recognises and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children or young adults (given every three years);
- The Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant honouring the contribution of mid-list authors.
- The Portfolio Award is presented to the best art portfolio on view at the Juried Portfolio Display at the LA conference;
- Student Illustrator Scholarship – conference scholarships for full-time graduate and undergraduate students of children’s book illustration;
- Student Writer Scholarships – conference scholarships to the Summer and Winter conferences for full-time university students in an English or Creative Writing programme;
- Work-in-progress Grants – several grants are available each year;
- Margaret Carey Conference Scholarship – conference scholarship to attend the annual SCBWI-BI conference.
Main SCBWI Website: www.scbwi.org
SCBWI British Isles Website: britishisles.scbwi.org
Find your local Region: www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Regional-Chapters