Posted on: May 23, 2017
The Château de Cheneau, just south of Brussels, was the site of the 2017 Europolitan conference May 13-14, 2017. This year’s theme, “Pens, Pencils & Partnerships,” was underlined by the friendly, supportive atmosphere and approachable faculty at the event, which included writers and industry professionals from the US and the UK.
In her opening remarks, best-selling and award-winning author Robin Stevens, of the Murder Most Unladylike series, spoke about the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Panels and workshops throughout the weekend focused on various aspects of craft and publishing – Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, discussed how to develop character in illustrations; and Kendra Levin, Executive Editor Viking Children's Books, taught participants how they can be the heroes of their own story, just to name two.
The weekend closed with a moving speech by Crystal Kite award winner Angela Cerrito on just how important a book can be in the life of a child. Writers and illustrators left feeling encouraged and energized, with many new friends, contacts and resources for the future. So special thanks to Belgium Resident Advisor Dina Von Lowenkraft, and all the other European RA’s and helpers for putting together such an amazing weekend for the SCBWI community!
Posted on: March 4, 2017
Two-part Master Class with Legendary Editor SARAH ODEDINA
Friday, March 10 and April 21 from 5-7pm
*Sign up for BOTH sessions and get a free critique.*
Sarah began her publishing career selling translation rights and moved in to editorial as the Publishing Director of the children’s list of Bloomsbury Publishing where she worked for 14 years and oversaw the publication of the Harry Potter series as well as many other best-selling prize-winning novels and picture books. In 2011 Sarah founded the successful and award-winning Hot Key Books. Sarah is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press commissioning titles for the children's and YA list. She is also Editor-in-Chief of SCOOP, a magazine for children. Sarah regularly talks at writers conferences around the world and is the Director of the Children's Program of FlipSide Literary Festival in Suffolk, England.
PART ONE: Writing with Clarity and Purpose, Friday, March 10 from 5-7pm
Spend two hours in this intensive workshop and learn how to focus on clarity and purpose in your writing and how to make the plot, characters and writing appeal. Sarah will look at common mistakes (overly descriptive writing, poor outline/synopsis, dialogue issues) as well as point out great examples of each. You’ll leave this session with a better understanding of how to make your submission stand out, what to include, and what to leave out. Also, get insider tips on what Sarah is looking for as an editor as Pushkin Children’s Books.
PART TWO: Polished Writing, Friday, April 21 from 5-7pm
Join us for the 2nd part of this intensive workshop. In this two-hour session, Sarah will focus on the details of polishing writing skills. She will help you hone fine dialogue, analyze plotting, and study descriptive passages. We’ll end with a look at submission pitches which will stand out to harried and over worked publishers and literary agents.
80E or 50E for one session
(includes a free critique for members who register for BOTH sessions)
110E or 65E for one session
For the Critique: submit the first 10 pages of your project and receive written feedback from Sarah. Submissions must be properly formatted. (Information on how to do this is available on the SCBWI website, under the Resource Library menu.)
To reserve you place, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: February 6, 2017
Building Your Fictional World with Strong Secondary Characters
On February 27, Coe Booth led an excellent workshop that attendees are still talking about.
In the two-hour masterclass designed to improve writing skills, she shared how she builds fictional families that strengthen the readers’ sense of the story world using tools that she depended on when she was as a social worker in New York.
Through exercises, examples, and discussion we delved into our main character’s relationships to create a memorable, believable protagonist with conflicts and emotional moments that resonate with readers.
Coe Booth has taught at Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA program, published four books forScholastic, and been a social worker.
Posted on: April 18, 2016
One of the great things about having the Bologna book fair close by, is that agents often swing through Paris on their way back home. This year we were spoiled by having two agents from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency available to participate in a SCBWI workshop: Jennifer Laughran (@literaticat) and Jennifer Mattson (@jannmatt).
The focus of the workshop was pitching – what makes a great pitch and how to do it successfully. As the agents explained, authors often have only one minute to get across the essence of their book, so learning to distill the important points is extremely important. As Jennifer Laughran explained, a good pitch should give an idea of what the book is about, i.e. who the main character is, what he or she wants, what’s stopping them from getting it, and what choices they must face.
The agents also emphasized that while it is good for the tone of the pitch to match your book, it’s important to keep it simple and – no opening with rhetorical questions or didactic explanations of the themes. Be specific, and don’t forget to mention the genre and age range. Using comparative titles (books, movies or TV shows that are similar to your project in story or style) is also a useful tool. Finally, Jennifer Mattson reminded illustrators to include samples of their work and a description of the mediums used.
Everyone in attendance got a chance to practice pitching their work and have the agents respond, which was an invaluable learning experience. Towards the end of the workshop, we broke into smaller groups so we could pick the agents’ brains about everything from the role of an editor to where to workshop query letters (the SCBWI Blue Boards, of course).
We’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who participated, and especially to Jennifer Laughran and Jennifer Mattson for sharing their time and experience with us.
Reported by Elizabeth Brahy Photo by Marie Cambolieu
Posted on: April 28, 2015
It's always nice getting together with fellow SCBWI members for our monthly meetups, but sometimes we have surprise guests who make the gathering extra special. This time we were joined by: Bree Despain, YA author of the DARK DIVINE and INTO THE DARK trilogies, YA thriller author J. R. Johansson of the NIGHT WALKER series and CUT ME FREE, and Mark Pett, author and illustrator, or as he likes to say, authorstrator of the wordless picturebook THE BOY AND THE AIRPLANE and THE GIRL AND THE BICYCLE. I'm particularly fond of his book THE GIRL WHO NEVER MADE MISTAKES You can't see her in this photo, but Brodi Ashton, author of the EVERNEATH triology also joined us for a cup of very good hot chocolate.
Hope you will join us next time for Show & Tell.
Posted on: April 8, 2015
Hello fellow SCBWI France members. I just wanted to give those who couldn’t make it to Europolitan15 a little recap our wonderful weekend. The second edition of our European conference was held in Amsterdam and it set the bar pretty high for the next one. For those unsure about what the conference entails, it is a mix of panel discussions with authors and industry professionals and workshops aimed at writers and illustrators. These break-out sessions are focused on the craft of children’s books as well as the business of children’s publishing. Attending the conference is not only a great way to meet fellow members and improve our skills, but also to make connections with professionals we otherwise might not have access to.
The Amsterdam conference was impeccably organized by the regional advisors (including our very own Tioka Tokedira, Andi Ipaktchi and Dana Carey). Major kudos goes to Netherlands team, especially RA Mina Witteman, who bullied – I mean persuaded – her husband to let us use the offices of the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, a non-profit internet exchange point in the heart of the city. The venue was spacious and light and the staff of AMS-IX were incredibly friendly and helpful (as an added bonus, they provided an endless supply of chocolate and pastries).
This year’s theme was diversity in books and included several lively talks from agents, editors, authors and publishers about what that means and how to achieve it. There were many different workshops on offer and the only problem with the conference was that it was impossible to attend them all. I’m always floored by how much more I have to learn about writing, and got something valuable out of each session that I can apply directly to my WIP. Personal highlights included author Sandra Nickel’s seminar on antagonists and author Dee White’s workshop on conflict.
I want to point out that, lest you think you have to already have experience in kidlit to attend (a concern I heard from several participants), many of the sessions are directly aimed at people just getting started. In order to get the most out of the conference, it probably does help to already have a project in mind, but it is not a necessity. A passion for children’s books is all that’s required.
The next conference will be in Brussels in 2017 so you all have time to prepare. In the meantime, keep checking the SCBWI France Facebook page for events and announcements.
SCBWI France Board Member
Posted on: September 13, 2014
As of now, applicants may nominate themselves——they do not need to be nominated by another member. This change is effective immediately, in the hopes that we will receive more applications by the nomination deadline, which is October 1, 2014.
Critically acclaimed children’s book author Jane Yolen created this grant to honor the contribution of mid-list authors. The grant awards $3,000 to mid-list authors and aims to help raise awareness about their current works in progress. Jane was the first SCBWI Regional Advisor and currently sits on the SCBWI Board of Advisors.
For more details, please visit www.scbwi.org.
Posted on: October 21, 2013
… and our new blog.
Here we will place information and news from the world of children's literature for our SCBWI France members. We look forward to meeting you and hearing from you soon.