This weekend I will be getting on the train at Paddington and heading down to the beautiful city of Winchester for an Event. I don’t know why I’ve never been there before, but I haven’t. It is, after all, less than an hour and a half from London. I’ve heard that it’s very beautiful and well worth the visit. It’s a paradise for shopping connoisseurs, apparently, although I’m not going for the shopping, and it’s packed with museums and historic buildings. It even boasts a couple of haunted inns and a theatre!
In my bag I will have packed something that passes for smart evening wear for the Event. I’ve agonised over it, read the messages toing and froing between the people attending it, and have settled on an outfit that doesn’t involve any of the banned items of clothing – jeans, slippers and a comfy jumper! But does involve a few sequins and some bling. I will be finishing the look with the only type of heels I can guarantee I won’t fall over in – wedged boots! (If I do fall over, it’ll happen at the end of the night and it won’t have anything to do with the heels!) As long as no one looks at my feet, I’ll be fine!
But of course no one is going to be looking at my feet. We’re all going to be too busy talking books, chatting, drinking, eating, and generally having a good time. It’s SCBWI’s annual conference – their tenth anniversary, and it promises to be a fantastic event, complete with sparkling wine and a string quartet.
For those of you who do not know about SCBWI here’s what it’s all about. SCBWI stands for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and it’s open to published writers and illustrators and those yet to be published. SCBWI is international, and it runs lots of events from writing workshops, critique groups, discussion groups, talks by published writers to meeting in a pub and sharing stories. It’s great for networking and learning the ins and outs of the craft of writing and working in the children’s book industry.
I came to SCBWI very late having already had my novel published. I did a lot of things the wrong way round, but better that way round than not at all. But there is still so much that the organisation can offer in terms of advice, guidance and support even after you have been published. And when you feel confident enough, there are many writers who have yet to find the elusive publication deal, who might benefit from knowing what a published writer has learnt along the way. Once they have found that deal, we might see their names on the SAS roll call as well as SCBWI’s.
So cheers to SCBWI - I’m really looking forward to Saturday night, meeting lots of new children’s writers and talking children’s books.