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Jul 05, 2024 - Jul 08, 2024

Holland House, Main Street, Cropthorne, Pershore WR10 3NB

A long luxurious weekend of play, exploration, personal work time, group critiques and fun for picture book writers and illustrators. As well as the creative activities in our facilitated sessions, there will be time for work on personal projects. Evenings will be open for informal critique sessions, discussions on technique, craft and the children's publishing industry.

Are you ready for an invigorating weekend on the beautiful River Avon in Worcestershire? Ready to wake up each morning and jump into a creative workshop with our faculty to kick-start your picture book writing and illustrating, explore new techniques and experiment with words and images? Then join us at Holland House to do just those things!

As well as the creative activities in our facilitated sessions, there will be time for work on personal projects. Evenings will be open for informal critique sessions, discussions on technique, craft and the children's publishing industry.

This year's speakers:


Chris Haughton

Chris Haughton is an acclaimed Irish illustrator and author based in London. His debut book A Bit Lost was first published in Korean. It has been translated into 27 languages and has won 10 awards in 8 countries. Oh No George (Walker Books, 2012) was an Amazon Top 10 Picture Book of 2012. With SHH! We Have a Plan (Walker Books, 2014) he won, among other prizes, the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Irish Book Award. His beautiful bedtime book Goodnight Everyone (Walker Books, 2016) was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award. Don’t Worry, Little Crab (Walker Books, 2019) is about a little crab who doesn't love the sea. His interactive projects include Hatmonkey, an app which released in 2014, and Little Earth, a virtual reality experience launched in August 2017.

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Caryl Hart

Caryl Hart is an award-winning children’s author who writes picture books and young fiction. She runs creative literacy workshops for schools, libraries, communities and festivals. The Girl who Planted Trees won Teach Early Years Best Picture Book Award 2022 and was chosen as one of the best books of 2022 by the Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho. Meet the Weather was one of 25 books for 4-5 year olds selected for Book Trust's Great Books Guide, 2023. Meet the Oceans was one of Waterstones’ Best Books for Babies & Toddlers 2021 and Books for Topics’ Best EYFS Curriculum Support 2021. Girls Can Do Anything was shortlisted for the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2019. Her best-selling Albie and Princesses Series have each sold over a quarter of a million copies and her books are published in numerous languages all over the world. Caryl lives in Sheffield and loves walking in the hills, cycling and wild swimming.

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Molly Littleboy

Molly Littleboy is Senior Editor for Picture Books and Preschool at Hachette Children’s Group, working across the Hodder and Orchard lists. Previously at Little Tiger, Molly is lucky enough to work with a plethora of talented, award-winning authors and illustrators, helping them to turn their exciting ideas into books that are published all over the world.


Paul Morton
Author, Illustrator
Natascha Biebow
Co-Regional Advisor
Tita Berredo
Illustrator Coordinator



Holland House

For attendees:

What to bring

For the Welcome Session on Friday

Bring one or two of your favourite picture books, maybe it’s the book YOU would like to have created? We’ll introduce ourselves and show one of these books. Afterwards we’ll set up ‘library tables’ in the lounge where we can all browse through these books over the weekend during the breaks. 

We will provide some A3 and A4 sheets of paper but please also bring your own notebooks and sketchbooks etc. Bring whatever art materials you like to use or even some you’ve always wanted to experiment with.

For Chris’s workshops - Combination Exercise

Please bring images of work from two of your favourite artists or art movements.

We’re going to mix and combine these images to create a new style.

Choose 3 pieces from one source and 3 more from a totally different source.

The more different the two are, the better. What would a mix between ‘Mongolian textiles’ and ‘1950 modern infographics’ look like? Cubism and Pop-Art?

*Note: For writers who are uncomfortable in doing this visual exercise they can also do this for writing. Choose two writers they love.To get an appreciation of the different ways of writing the same text they can reference Raymond Quineau’s book ‘Exercises in Style’. This book takes a simple everyday scene, a man getting on a bus in Paris, and writes it in around one hundred and twenty different ‘styles’. From telling the story in only exclamations to telling it as a comedy, or as philosophy to stage directions as a theatre script. It shows how limitless the way we choose to tell the same story is.

For Caryl’s Workshops

Is my Story any Good - Evaluating your own work to improve chances of success

Let’s Play - Let’s start creating stories: 1. Fractured Fairy Tales 2. Narrative through play

Please bring drawing and writing materials. Other craft materials will be provided

For Tita’s Workshop - Social Media Know-how

Elevate your online impact and embark on a practical workshop on leveraging Instagram for self-promotion! The workshop aims to give creators the confidence to navigate Instagram and establish a strong online presence, regardless of their prior digital experience. This is your launchpad to self-promotion autonomy, merging fundamental insights into Instagram navigation with the art of building a vibrant social presence. 

Bring your phone! Maybe separate a picture of one of your book cover/ illustration/ text extraction from your stories. Tita's Instagram @titaberredo

For Clare Bell’s workshop - Quantity Writing Techniques

Prior to Clare’s intriguing session please check out her link on Picture Book Den.


* Bring cash for the HONESTY BAR SYSTEM at Holland House

*No yoga this year unfortunately, so bring comfy walking shoes for those that want to get out for a jaunt before breakfast.

*Please bring a 2nd class postage stamp


We will be having an informal ‘open portfolio and writing display’ in the chapel where we can wander around and chat and discuss our work. Illustrators please bring your portfolios and dummy books. Writers we’d also love to see your manuscripts, dummy books and extracts if you’re happy to share them. It would be nice to see published books and promotional cards here too. 

SATURDAY EVENING CRITIQUES - Bring a piece of work for group discussion and feedback. This will be in small informal peer groups. No need to send anything in advance for this, but please bring 5 copies to pass around. 

PROCREATE POP-UP - Not actually found space for this in the busy schedule this time, but just in case we can carve out a spare 30 mins - bring your iPads and pencils and any special tips that you’d like to share.

ONE LINE PITCH -  Hopefully you’ll write a one line pitch after getting some new ideas. We’ll supply the postcards to stick on the wall for judging. With prizes!

PAPER AEROPLANE COMPETITION - Can you fold a winning design? The longest flight (22 yards so far) and the best design will win a prize.

MENTOR 1-1 SCHEDULE - You have each been paired with a faculty member for your 20 min 1-1. We will display a large copy of the timetable in the conference room.

Faculty Members

Organisers this year are Paul MortonTita Berredo and Natascha Biebow

The facilitators this year are Caryl Hart and Chris Haughton 

And for the first time ever our ‘visiting agent’ is actually staying with us this year!

It is Molly Littleboy of Hachette. 

We usually ask a ‘first timer’ to write up a report after the Retreat to appear in Words and Pictures. Let us know if you'd like to be that person!

We’d love you to promote the Retreat and take photos over the weekend:

@SCBWI_BI @scbwi_illustrat #picbookretreat24

If we don’t already have your mobile number and you’d like to be in the WhatsApp just click here to join it. You can also find all this information on the Picture Book Retreat SCBWI webpage.

Getting there

Holland HouseMain StreetCropthornePershore WR10 3NB

Tel: 01386 860330

*Those travelling by car the post code for the car park is WR10 3ND (Kennel Bank) 

Evesham Station is the closest railway station to Holland House. (3.9 miles away.) There is no public transport that goes directly to Holland House, so you'll probably need to get a taxi from the station. It might be worth checking on social media to see if anyone is on the same train and able to share a ride.

If you’re arriving by car, there are plenty of free parking spaces provided at the River Avon end of the grounds.You can arrive at Holland House from 3pm on Friday 5th to check the room plan and settle into your room. Tea and coffee will be served at 4pm and we will begin the first activity at about 4.30.

We realise you’ll all be arriving at slightly different times. This is fine – the people who run Holland House staff are very welcoming and will let you know where we all are. 

The Retreat officially finishes on Monday morning 8th, at 10am (after breakfast). If the weather is fine Holland House don't mind people hanging about in the garden afterwards to chat and take photos, so long as your rooms are clear in order that they can get the house ready for the next guests. 

Click here for the Holland House Handy Guide

*Note! we can arrive from 3pm, not 2pm as it says there.

Please also note that HH doesn’t have locks on doors. This has never been a problem for them, or us, in the past 11 years, but I know it came as a surprise to some attendees last year.

Wow, that’s it!!! See you all in Cropthorne!

Paul, Tita and Natascha

SCBWI Picture Book Retreat Team

The retreat begins on Friday 5th July (arrival from 3 pm) and ends after breakfast on Monday 8th July 2024.

The retreat will be held at Holland House located in four acres of beautiful gardens in Cropthorne, Pershore, Worcestershire. A magnet for writers and artists, Holland House is a perfect setting to find inspiration and new ideas, to experiment and share expertise. The nearest British Rail station is Evesham. Once in Evesham you can take a taxi or bus to Holland House.

Directions: use post code WR10 3NB * for navigation settings or Google map directions. *Word of warning, this postcode has sent people to a different location, so please check on your sat nav map that it is Holland House, Cropthorne as your target destination.

Every attendee will be pre-assigned a faculty mentor (published author / illustrator, agent or art director) for their 20 minute 1-to-1 review session.

Most art materials for making dummies and optional craft techniques are supplied, and a list of suggested art materials for bringing along with you will be sent closer to the time of the retreat.

Retreat fees include accommodation and meals, plus a pre-assigned 20-minute 1-1 mentor session.

Questions or queries, please email

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10th Anniversary

Get excited by having a glimpse of what goes on during the Picture Book Retreat! On its 10th anniversary, Illustrator Coordinator Tita Berredo went to Holland House to capture this insightful, productive, magical experience.

To help accommodate as many attendees as possible were are hoping to fill all the twin rooms that HH has to offer. So please consider sharing a room, at a reduced rate, to help as many people attend our ever-popular event. If you have a friend willing to share, or a preference for sharing, please let us know and we will try our best to ensure that happens.


Single - £505 per person (£160 deposit)

Sharing - £450 per person (£150 deposit)

You will be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit to hold your place. An email link will be sent to pay the balance, due by 31st May 2024.

If you do not pay the balance by 31st May 2024 you may forfeit your place and your deposit.

The full retreat programme is still being decided, and subject to change. Once you book the ticket, all further details will be emailed to you.

Questions or queries, please email