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. You can read our statement of intent on equality and inclusion here.

What does SCBWI British Isles do?

SCBWI British Isles is a dynamic and friendly chapter of over 1000 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 online webinars and conferences. A network of local coordinators run local critique groups and organise workshops and speaker and social events across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are also promotional opportunities, including the SCBWI showcase, Bookshop, the Mass book Launch, Debut Author Bootcamp and more. We have also made a commitment to offer 10% of places at all BI events to underrepresented authors and illustrators.


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 SCBWI administers a number of awards and grants:

  • New Voices in Nonfiction – Pre-published BIPOC authors and illustrators are eligible for this scholarship which provides full tuition to the SCBWI/Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop (November 2020)
  • Manuscript Award – Given in conjunction with the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, this award is for promising manuscripts submitted for individual critique at the Summer Conference.
  • Emerging Voices Award – Established with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.
  • Student Writer Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students in an English or creative writing program.
  • BIPOC Scholarship– All expense paid trip to the Winter or Summer Conference for Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
  • Work-in-Progress Awards – To assist children’s book writers and illustrators in the completion of a specific project currently not under contract. Given in the categories of: Picture Book Text, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction, Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction, and Translation.
  • Karen Cushman Late Bloomer Award – An award for a work-in-progress from an unpublished author over age 50.
  • Ann Whitford PaulWriter’s Digest Manuscript Award– An annual award given to the manuscript of a Most Promising Picture Book manuscript.
  • A. Orr Fantasy Grant– Awarded to young adult and middle grade writers working in the fantasy or science fiction genre.
  • Art Spot – Selected illustrations are chosen quarterly to be featured in the Bulletin.
  • Portfolio Awards – Given to the top portfolios submitted to the annual SCBWI Summer or Winter Conferences.
  • Student Illustrator Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students studying illustration.
  • Narrative Art Award– Given annually to an illustrator of promise based on a given prompt.
  • Don Freeman Work-in-Progress Grant – To assist illustrators in the completion of a book dummy or portfolio.
  • Featured Illustrator– One SCBWI illustrator member is chosen each month. You must have your art uploaded to the SCBWI Illustrator Galleryto qualify.
  • Draw This!– A monthly art prompt, part of the SCBWI publication Insight. All submissions shown on the online gallery, and two winners featured in Insight, the website, and in social media.
  • Bologna Illustrator Gallery (BIG)– Given bi-annually to an illustrator of promise. The winner is announced at the New York Conference, and the winning art is displayed prominently at the SCBWI Bologna Book Fair Booth.
  • New Voices in Nonfiction – Pre-published BIPOC authors and illustrators are eligible for this scholarship which provides full tuition to the SCBWI/Smithsonian Institution Nonfiction Workshop (November 2020).
  • Book Launch Award – Provides authors or illustrators with $2,000 in funds to help promote their newly published work.
  • Crystal Kite Awards – Peer-given award to recognize great books from fifteen SCBWI regional divisions around the world.
  • Golden Kite Awards – Instituted in 1973, the Golden Kite Awards are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers. The Golden Kite Awards recognize excellence in children’s literature in six categories: Young Reader and Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction Text for Younger Readers, Nonfiction Text for Older Readers, Picture Book Text, and Picture Book Illustration.
  • Jane Yolen Mid-List Author Grant – Critically acclaimed children’s book author Jane Yolen created this grant to honor the contribution of mid-list authors.
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award – The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award recognizes and encourages the publication of an excellent book of poetry or anthology for children and/or young adults. This award is given every three years.
  • Magazine Merit Award – For original magazine work for young people in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Illustration, and Poetry.
  • Martha Weston Grant – The Martha Weston Grant was established by the Hairston Family to remember author/illustrator Martha Weston. The grant helps authors and illustrators who want to switch children’s book genres.
  • Sid Fleischman Award – Given with the Golden Kite Awards, an award for exemplary writing for children in the genre of humor
  • Spark Award – An annual award that recognizes excellence in a children’s book published through a non-traditional publishing route.
  • Tomie DePaola Professional Development Award – SCBWI will annually award two emerging artists with a cash prize of $2,500, in memory of beloved author-illustrator Tomie DePaola.
  • Amber Brown – The Amber Brown Grant commemorates author and beloved school speaker Paula Danziger. One school is awarded each year with an author or illustrator visit and new books to continue Paula’s love of connecting children with creative influences.
  • Tribute Fund – The SCBWI Tribute Fund commemorates members of the children’s book community, their lives, and their work by funding all-expense scholarships to the SCBWI International Summer and Winter Conferences for the general membership.
  • Emergency Fund– The SCBWI Emergency Fund gives a grant of up to $1,500 to a member whose writing or illustration career is impeded because of a sudden emergency, disaster, or illness.
  • Disability Fund– The SCBWI Disability Fund gives grants to disabled members for anything that would help them create children’s literature. For nonmembers with disabilities, the funds may support memberships and/or registration to events.
  • Student Writer Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students in an English or creative writing program.
  • Student Illustrator Scholarship – Conference tuition for full-time university students studying illustration.
  • Member of the Year Award– Presented to a member who has given outstanding service to the organization.
  • Kate Dopirak Craft and Community Award– Provides conference tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference to the author of a promising manuscript who is is experiencing a financial barrier.
  • Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference Scholarship– Provides a scholarship to attend the Kweli Color of Children’s Literature Conference.
  • Margaret Carey Conference Scholarship – conference scholarship to attend the annual SCBWI-BI conference.

Further information

Main SCBWI Website: www.scbwi.org

SCBWI British Isles Website: britishisles.scbwi.org

Find your local Region: www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/Regional-Chapters