Volunteering with SCBWI ( Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators )

I have been a member of SCBWI for many years and for the last few years I have been a volunteer social liaison in the Midlands area of Ireland. SCBWI is an international organization that originated in the USA.

Their mission is…

‘The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a nonprofit organization, is the only professional organization specifically for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults. Our mission is to support the creation and availability of quality children’s books in every region of the world.

Through our awards, events, and publications, we give established writers and illustrators the tools and resources to manage their careers, as well as educate those just starting out. SCBWI is also proud to serve as a consolidated voice for our members within the publishing industry.

Membership in SCBWI is open to anyone with an active interest in children’s literature, from picture books to young adult novels. We welcome aspiring and published writers and illustrators, as well as librarians, educators, translators, artists, students, dramatists, musicians, filmmakers, and others. A passion for children’s literature is our number one criterion. ‘

To find out more about membership go here https://www.scbwi.org/membership-categories-new/

As part of my volunteer work I hold quarterly social meetings with people who are interested in different aspects of children’s literature. Last week I spoke about a couple of anthologies I am involved in. One of these is an anthology for children which is to be named Quirky Tales- A treasury of illustrated stories and poems for children. Here is the report I did for our latest meeting…

Midlands Winter Social Event (November 2019)

Written by volunteer social liaison Eileen Moynihan

The SCBWI Ireland – Midlands Winter social was held on Saturday, November 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, County Longford. We had a very productive morning discussing illustrations, editing, publishing and a title for our upcoming anthology. We were sustained by large amounts of cake, washed down by coffee and tea.

Photo: Martina Cooney with cake!

Annette Corkery spent a lot of time laying out the book, and she showed us samples of the layout on her computer. We looked at the various pictures that had been sent in by children and adults and enjoyed choosing ones that we thought should go in the anthology.

Photo (left to right): Dan Flynn, Rose Moran, Martina, Eileen Moynihan, Annette Corkery (standing), and Cara Martin

Dan Flynn and Eddy Lane did some editing of the stories and poems. After discussing what they thought still needed editing, we all agreed to hand have Annette and Ann Gerety-Smyth look at the texts and coordinate all the editing.

Annette and I had researched a few printers and received quotes. We decided to go with eprint Limited based in Dublin. We decided to invest some of our own money in the project to hopefully earn it back from book sales. We have also approached the local Arts Officer for arts grant funding and will be following that up.

Photo (left to right): Rose, Martina, and Eileen (standing)

Finally, we discussed the title and eventually came up with “Quirky Tales: A Treasury of Illustrated Stories and Poems for Children”. Everybody was happy with this title, because there are some quirky tales in the book, and the word sounds strange but interesting for children.

It’s thrilling to plan and follow through on our project, and to see the final version of the anthology taking shape! We decided to hold a book launch on Saturday, December 7th at 2:00 p.m. in the Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre.

Photo (left to right): Martina, Eileen, Annette(standing),  Ann Gerety-Smyth, Dan, Cara, and Rose

What people said:

Annette Corkery: “Very productive morning, I’m excited about seeing the finished product now.”

Ann Gerety-Smyth: “We had a very productive Saturday morning which went very fast because we were so focused and mostly because we had cake!”

Sally Martin: “Great morning. It was fun but we also got a lot done. I agree with Ann that coffee and cake definitely helped. Annette had a great amount of work done putting our anthology together. Overall a really productive, enjoyable morning.”

Martina Cooney: “It was a very successful meeting considering we managed the book title, also children’s pictures organised and illustrations almost completed.”

Rose Moran: “A very enjoyable morning looking at all the lovely artwork submitted for the book of stories and poems for children. Enjoyed the great hospitality at Ardagh and the work of Annette.”

Dan Flynn: “We’ve got a great little book and a wonderful title.”

Cara Martin: “I had a fantastic time. We got a lot done. Being just 14, I love the way that age makes no difference in the group. I love the drawings, and I am looking forward to the finished book.”

Photo (left to right): Dan, Annette (standing), Ann, and Cara

Photographs taken by Sally and Eileen.

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