Bekki Hill is our conference co-ordinator. That's the person who carries the conference around in her head like a massive headache. Also answers to the name of: chief nagger, official worrier, and she-who-pulls-everything-together. Bekki served as South East Network Coordinator from 2009 - 2012 and has been Conference Coordinator since 2010. She is a writer's coach, freelance writer, columnist and the author of Coach Yourself to Writing Success and The Bullet Guide to Life Coaching. She hopes that one day she will also be a published children's author. Her website is www.thewritecoach.co.uk
Candy Gourlay foolishly agrees to build the website every year (this is her fourth conference website). She just can't help herself. Candy is a compulsive volunteer for everything but is now trying to control these urges. She is the author of Tall Story, winner of SCBWI's Crystal Kite Prize for Europe. It was shortlisted for 13 prizes (woo hoo!). Her second novel Shine is out in January 2013. She is published by a man in a red bowtie. She founded the team blog Notes from the Slushpile and also blogs on her website www.candygourlay.com (Everlasting thanks to Raymund Rivera for the photo.)
Mo O'Hara had no idea sorting out the programme would require that most demanding of motherly skills: nagging. She has managed to recruit speakers, organize their bios and photos, negotiate all the bits that need negotiating and do her school run as well. Mo writes series books and is a storyteller, voice-over artist and sketch comedienne. Her debut novel My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish is out next spring with Macmillan.
Addy Farmer was sucked into the maelstrom of 1-2-1 reviews last year and is still coming back for more. She lives in rural North Lincolnshire where she teaches, cycles, fences and (oh yeah) writes. She is the author of Grandad's Bench and Siddharth and Rinki and is signed to Frances Lincoln for a picture book, Worlds Apart. Her work is often reviewed as "heart warming". She's hoping that her story about zombie ninjas from outer space may strike a different chord. Addy blogs on Notes from the Slushpile. Author website: www.addyfarmer.jimdo.com
Jeannette Towey's unfazed by most technical things, so it seemed only right to saddle her with the online booking system yet again. When she's not struggling to get all the booking spreadsheets to synchronise she writes science fiction and fantasy. She also reviews books (and SCBWI events) and ever so occasionally she picks up a paint brush too. She blogs on www.jetowey.com
Jo Wyton joined the conference committee this year in hope of getting some free cake. Sadly, she was left hanging, and has therefore been forced to occupy herself by assisting Bekki in her role as coordinator, and trying to remember the bazillions of things that go into organising the conference. Jo was one of the winners of Undiscovered Voices 2012 with her novel Magpie. She writes contemporary YA and is represented by Molly Ker Hawn. Jo blogs at Let's Get Serious and is also part of the blogging team on Notes from the Slushpile.
Loretta Schauer joined SCBWI three years ago. As well as inviting this year's illustrator conference speakers, she helps with the Illustrator Series Masterclasses and helped organise the first Undiscovered Voices Illustrator competition in 2011. Having never been to art school, Loretta began illustrating by attending evening classes and lots of wonderful SCBWI workshops. Last year she won the Waterstone’s Picture This competition to find a new children’s illustrator and earlier this year she finished illustrating her first picture book for Harper Collins, Michael Morpurgo’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast, to be published in September.
Mark Jones is the new Party Co-ordinator, dedicated to making sure you have a good time. He joined SCBWI in 2010 and writes over a wide range of subjects just so long as he can cram in some giant robots. Mark's greatest literary achievement is coming first in the Presteigne Primary School Eisteddfod Creative Writing Competition in 1989.
Liz de Jager is an old-time SCBWI Volunteer working on the agents party and the slush pile challenge. This is her first year as a volunteer on the conference and like Jo, joined for the cake. Sadly, with Mo and Bekki in charge, there is more hard work than cake, so she’s hoping for a fantastic party where she will wear her tiara and red Doc Martin boots. Liz is currently working on a contemporary urban fantasy for teens and has a middle grade actioner in the pipeline aimed at adventurous boys and girls. She also reviews books at her blog: My Favourite Books.
The Conference is also brought to you by ...
Natascha Biebow's organized so many of these conferences that her expert opinion is much solicited. She's been Regional Advisor (Chair) of SCBWI British Isles since 1998 and remembers when just a handful of members attended our annual events. She has 19 years experience editing children books and now runs Blue Elephant Storyshaping - a coaching, editing and mentoring service empowering writers and illustrators to fine-tune their work pre-submission. She's also a teacher and author of Elephants Never Forget and Is This My Nose?, and the editor of numerous award-winning children’s books.
After spending four years building up the illustrator side of the conference, Anne-Marie Perks now has too many demands on her expertise. But we didn’t let her escape that easily! This year she’s handling the juried exhibition, the open portfolio show and illustrator competitions. Anne-Marie teaches animation, design and illustration and is also the illustrator of books including The Tortoise Who Bragged. She was included in the anthology Lines in the Sand, New Writing on War and Peace and is currently writing a YA fantasy and working on her first picture book as an author/illustrator, Grandma Says. www.annemarieperks.com
It will be Juliet Clare Bell's third year of organising the much-enjoyed Night-Before-Conference Critique which involves matching groups of authors and illustrators and pieces of work - a lot like running an internet dating website. And she has to book the restaurant. Two nightmares for the price of one! Clare (joint network coordinator for Central West)'s debut picture book Don't Panic Annika (illustrated by Jennifer E Morris; Piccadilly Press) came out in May 2011; Pirate Picnic (Franklin Watts) and The Kite Princess (illustrated by Laura-Kate Chapman, read by Imelda Staunton; Barefoot Books) are out in 2012. She’s on a roll! www.julietclarebell.com
Kathy Evans is a menace. Her chief role in SCBWI is pouncing on people. She runs the badge competition (legitimate pouncing), Chichester Scbwi (more pouncing), is part of FunEverse (Chief Pouncer Maureen Lynas) and YACritique (mutual pouncing). She is South East Network Coordinator with Mariam Vossough (pounced into friendship years ago). Mother, belly dancer and fencer, Kathy and her husband are also strawberry suppliers to Buckingham Palace. She has never knowingly pounced on the Queen. Kathy writes for teens and 7+. Her agent is Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd. www.mrsbung.wordpress.com
Liz Miller likes to make lists to fool herself that she is an organized person. Sometimes she can even appear organized to the outside world and so this year she is assisting Addy with 1-2-1 reviews and hoping that her cover will not be blown. She is co-admin in PB Too and helped set up the Early Readers e-critique group. She lives in Nottingham and takes frequent breaks from list making to write picture book texts which one day she hopes to get published.
Vanessa Harbour is organising the conference’s first Sketch and Scrawl Crawl, wandering around bits of Winchester. She also organises the Winchester SCBWI Socials and has a creative writing PhD which explores the representation of sex, drugs and alcohol in young adult fiction, as well as writing young adult fiction. Vanessa blogs on Chaosmos