SCBWI Undiscovered Voices

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) British Isles will once again help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers through its Undiscovered Voices project.

“SCBWI Undiscovered Voices Competition now open to EU members, too”

From the three previous anthologies, 22 of the 36 selected authors have received publishing contracts for more than 70 books. These authors have been nominated for and won an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and nearly 30 regional awards.

This year submissions will only be accepted via an online submissions process between 1st July to 15th August 2013. There is no submissions’ fee, but only un-agented and unpublished members of SCBWI living in the UK and Europe (writing in the English language) are eligible. This is the first time that SCBWI members living in Europe also will be able to submit fiction and illustrations.

“Submissions open 1st July”

“The SCBWI British Isles region is thrilled to be at the forefront of this innovative project to support unpublished writers and illustrators,” said Natascha Biebow, Regional Advisor for the SCBWI British Isles. “What started out as a kernel of an idea has evolved into unprecedented opportunity to get discovered by publishers. Now expanded to encompass SCBWI Europe, we are excited to see what new talents will emerge. We wish all contestants the best of luck!”

The Undiscovered Voices anthology will include twelve fiction extracts – from early readers up through young adult novels – and twelve black-and-white illustrations. The anthology will be published in February 2014 and sent free of charge to editors, art directors and agents whose focus is children’s literature. The book will be produced by volunteers, with the financial support of Working Partners Ltd, a London-based company that creates series fiction.

“Working Partners is very proud to continue to support Undiscovered Voices,” said Chris Snowden, Managing Director of Working Partners. “It is hard to believe this will be the fourth edition of this wonderful vehicle for new authors! Undiscovered Voices is now an established and high profile launch pad for new writing and we can’t wait to see what talent is discovered and published this time around.”

“Undiscovered Voices has proven a successful path to publication for many UK writers”

For more details or to submit your novel extract or illustrations, visit: Undiscovered Voices

Award-winning author and illustrator Chris Riddell will serve as the honorary chair for this anthology. He has illustrated more than 100 books for children. With Paul Stewart, he is the creator of the successful Edge Chronicles, Barnaby Grimes and Far Flung Adventures. He is also a celebrated cartoonist for the Observer. “I am delighted to be taking part in this competition and looking forward to discovering new talent in children’s book writing and illustration,” Riddell said. “We’ve entered a new age of digital art and electronic publishing but classic storytelling and drawing skills are just as important as they ever were.”

The following judges will select the stories and illustrations to be included in the anthology:

  • Gemma Cooper, Literary Agent, The Bent Agency
  • Helen Graham-Cameron, Graham-Cameron Illustration Agency
  • Ben Horslen, Editorial Director, Puffin
  • Sarah Lambert, Editorial Director at Quercus Children’s Books
  • Francis McKay, Francis McKay Illustration Agency
  • Sara O’Connor, Editorial Director for Print & Digital at Hot Key Books
  • Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration; Course Leader, MA Children’s Book Illustration, and Director of The Centre for Children’s Book Studies
  • Samantha Smith, Fiction Publisher for Scholastic Children’s Books
  • Sallyanne Sweeney, Literary Agent, Watson, Little Ltd.
  • Ngheim Ta, Senior Designer/Digital Content Coordinator, Templar Books
  • An a representative from The Greenhouse Literary Agency


The Salon Series: a monthly mixer



We’re now hosting a monthly Salon Series in which we meet in an open forum as creatives to talk shop, be inspired by each other and encourage one another in our projects. This will be held the second Friday of each month at the perfect venue for such an event – The English Bookshop in the Jordaan. Check the Agenda under the Upcoming Events section of the site to see when the next one is and what the special subject of the evening will be.

every second Friday of the month at…

The English Bookshop
Lauriergracht 71
1016 RH Amsterdam


Reservation is not required, but it would be nice to hear from you if you are coming. Just drop us a line at nlscbwi [at] – let us know what you would like to see happen in the Salon Series in the upcoming year. Tot dan!


Promo Salon, Fall 2012

We held our first Promo Salon for Illustrators this month, and while it was a rather small turnout (just me and my good pal Winny) we had a productive meeting swapping ideas and images with each other and even fit a hands-on Adobe Illustrator lesson in the session. We also ate pie and drank coffee. That’s a successful salon as far as I’m concerned!

As promised, we are featuring our collateral that we discussed and designed at the salon.

Winny Ros just updated her website with some fancy new code and lovely new illustrations. Go have a look! Here are her current business cards. Always good to have a couple of options.


My priority was to finally come up with a business card design because I’m always forcing my unwieldy A6-sized promotional postcards on people. I wanted something smaller and more subtle. The QR code links directly to the contact page on my website, sneakily sidestepping the Flash animation on my home page that smart phone users can’t see anyway. I think of QR codes as the “elephant in the room” of current print design – they are big and clunky and we shan’t turn our eyes to them if we don’t have to. So I tried to find a way to insert it without being too horribly intrusive.


It was a fun and very productive session, and I’m glad we did it! Thanks for the pie, Win.


A Celebration of Soldier Bear: Thursday June 7th at 8:00 pm


Our former Regional Advisor Laura Watkinson translated Bibi Dumon Tak’s Soldier Bear (original title: Soldaat Wojtek, publ. Querido) for Eerdmans. It went on to win the 2012 Mildred L. Batchelder Award, bestowed by the American Library Association for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language. It also features delightful illustrations by Dutch Illustrator Philip Hopman.

We will be celebrating the award for Soldier Bear with Laura, Bibi, Philip and book designer Steef Liefting at the Boekhandel van Rossum on June 7th at 8:00 pm. The store will stay open until 9:00 pm and we will move the party to a neighboring café as the merriment is sure to continue.

Refreshments will be served at the bookstore and we ask that you RSVP us at to get a general headcount. Look forward to seeing you there!

Boekhandel van Rossum
Beethovenstraat 32
1077 JH Amsterdam
t: 020 470 70 77 

Meet the Speakers: An interview with Erik Raschke

Erik Raschke is the author of The Book of Samuel, numerous short stories and the forthcoming novel Action at a Distance. Erik grew up in Denver, Colorado and received a Masters in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. You can find more about Erik at his website:

Interviewed by Mina Witteman

Erik, tell us a bit more about yourself and about how writing and teaching about writing came into your life?

When I was seven I wrote a story about my dog conquering the universe. According my to father, it showed “promise.” Ever since then I’ve been writing for school newspapers, real newspapers, and literary magazines. Ironically, in my new novel, my dog is very focused on conquering every street corner of Amsterdam.

And as for teaching, it sort of runs in the family. Plus, I love reading, talking, and working with other writers!

You have written The Book of Samuel, the gripping story of 12-year-old Samuel Gerard growing up in Denver. Not an easy task with a father embarking on a religious quest. When and where did you find the inspiration for such a powerful story?

Always write about what you know first and foremost. Then change it a little. Actually, my life experience was a little more crazy than The Book of Samuel, but The Book of Samuel wasn’t a memoir. It’s fiction. It’s about violence and the repercussions of violence. But, yes, of course, it’s about me, but I wanted it also to be about something a bit more than my own past and more about the spiral of fighting and violence that my beloved country of U.S.A. set itself upon after 9/11. I was raised a Quaker and the power of non-violence has always intrigued me. I recently watched a great Danish movie, In a Better World, and realized that I wasn’t alone in my need to put the power of non-violence into a narrative.

Back to The book of Samuel: it was highly praised for being genuine and touching on complex life issues without ever losing the lightness and joys of childhood. Were you able to tap your own memories for this?

Yes. But I was also teaching Junior High School and used the language of the students I was teaching (Dominican students in Harlem, BTW), their body language, their bickering, etc., and applied that to my characters.
I wrote a little bit about this on my agent’s website.

Rewriting the Past, the workshop you will teach on Sunday April 15 in Amsterdam, is all about memories and how writers can color their narrative with them. Could you unveil a little about the contents of the workshop?

I want to help people tap the feelings of the past and apply them to a character they are working on. For example, if your main character is confronting bullies at school, then I want to help the writer remember a similar situation from their own youth and channel that emotion into their character. I want it to go from “On this sunny Denver day, I walked home by myself, wiping the tears from my face” to “Ruud walked home and even though the Amsterdam rain came sideways, he knew which were his tears and which weren’t.”

One last question Erik, and I will let you off the hook, so you can return to writing and preparing for the workshop. I am curious: how does a Denverite, born and raised at the foot of the impressive Rocky Mountains, end up in Amsterdam, where the highest point probably is the Herengracht bridge crossing Reguliersgracht?

Amsterdam is even better a foot below sea level, from a boat! It’s hard not to love this city.

Thanks for your time, Erik. We are looking forward to your April workshop!

Our Workshop Weekend is taking place on the 14-15 of April, 2012. There’s more information here on our blog or email us at nlscbwi [@}