Jo Wyton joined the conference committee last year in hope of getting some free cake. Sadly, she was left hanging, and has therefore been forced to take over the Conference Coordinator role in hope of better things this time around. 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 teams at Notes from the Slushpile and Space on the Bookshelf.
Mariam Vossough likes helping, but she hates spreadsheets. She volunteered to take charge of booking speakers for this year's conference (on the proviso that her exposure to spreadsheets was kept to a minimum). After writing full time for 13 years, she's taking a 'gap year' to set up her own vintage-inspired clothing boutique at www.bornbadbetty.com. Unfortunately, this too involves spreadsheets.
Mike Brownlow is indecisive. Or is he? He can't make his mind up. Anyway, his New Year's resolution was to just say 'yes' to things in future, instead of 'ermm...'. This rash decision led to him being part of this year's conference committee, finding speakers that might please our highly demanding, endlessly picky illustrator members. Mike is an illustrator and writer himself and has had lots of picture books published. He has a new one out this year called Ten Little Pirates, which first came blinking into the light of day, rubbing its little eyes, at this conference 3 years ago. He's nice to his Mum and doesn't kick cats. You can see more of his stuff at www.mikebrownlow.com.
Andy Dickenson is a journalist for ITV based in Brighton, who has bravely stepped up to control the hoardes of bookings this year. His first YA novel, The Last Days, has been hailed as "captivatingly visual... a spellbinding yarn" by critics and "thrilling" by authors alike. He's currently hard at work on his follow up, a sci-fi adventure called Water. http://www.thelastdays-online.co.uk
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
Sally Poyton is an avid list maker and spreadsheet creator who has joined the conference committee this year with a view to making pretty (and hopefully useful) spreadsheets whilst arranging the illustrator one-to-ones. Sally is an avid doodler, some of which can be found at www.art-sally.net. She is also a writer, and her YA novel Through Mortal Eyes was long-listed for both Undiscovered Voices 2012 and The Times/Chicken House Competition 2013. Sally blogs at www.sallypoyton.com and www.spaceonthebookshelf.blogspot.co.uk.
Abbie Todd is surprised that she’s ended up organising the conference party, given that she hasn’t been to one before. She hopes the trapeezing
meerkats and the foam machine will go down well. Abbie works as an editor for a large publisher in Oxford and is delighted to have found a profession where fastidiousness, nitpicking and a touch
of OCD are celebrated. Abbie was one of the winners of Undiscovered Voices in 2010 and is currently working with her lovely agent, Jodie Marsh, on her debut novel for teens.
Kate (Katherine) Ayling joined the SCWBI conference team this year via a picture-based application (a complete illustrator at heart!). She has recently returned to the illustration world and specialises in children's picture book illustration. Aside from working on her own personal picture book projects, she also spends her spare time dancing all over London. Kate will be our Front of House Captain at the conference in November so make sure you say hello (you wont miss her, she will be on the front desk!)
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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 20 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 the editor of numerous award-winning children’s books, author of Elephants Never Forget and Is This My Nose? and a Montessori teacher.
After spending four years building up the illustrator side of the conference, Anne-Marie Perks now handles the juried exhibition, the open portfolio display 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 illustrating a book for Books Beyond Words due out in 2014, and illustrations for a new film in the US alongside finding time for finishing her first picture book, Grandma Said, she is both writing and illustrating. 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
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.