Conference Volunteer TEam

The SCBWI British Isles Conference is put together by a fantastic team of enthusiastic, creative and hard-working volunteers!

Kate Peridot, Conference Co-Chair

Kate Peridot has been a member of SCBWI since 2014. This is her first year as conference co-chair. She writes illustrated fiction and non-fiction. After many years trying to find a publisher, she took part in a Twitter pitch party and her non-fiction pitch caught the eye of agent, Becky Bagnell. Kate signed with Becky in 2020, and she has since sold ten titles, and three have been released in 2023 - Caring Conservationists who are Changing the Planet (Walker), My Animal Family (DK) and Meet the Bears (Welbeck). She blends creative fiction techniques with facts to capture children’s imaginations about the natural world, real people, or STEM. @kateperidot

Tracey Guiry, Conference Co-Chair

Tracey Guiry has specialised in arts management in the creative industries for over 25 years. Her career has taken in film-making, cinema design, visitor attraction planning, heritage capital development and literature development and she launched 'Literature Works' to support writers and poets in the South West of England. She is Director of the Poetry Archive and gained her PhD in 2021 doing research into the representations of dementia in children's fiction. She is a newbie writer and is trying to stop writing her first novel, a woodland adventure story for 7-11 year-olds, and is looking forward to meeting other newbies at the Conference this year.

Natascha Biebow, MBE, Author, Editor, Co-Chair SCBWI BI

Natascha Biebow is the long-time Co-Regional Advisor of SCBWI British Isles and has organized more conferences than she can count! She is a member of the SCBWI Advisory Council, and was awarded an MBE for her services to children's writers and illustrators, and the Stephen Mooser SCBWI Member of the Year. She is the founder of Blue Elephant Storyshaping, where she coaches and mentors authors and illustrators at all levels. With 30 years' experience commissioning for large and small UK publishers, she is currently Editorial Director at Five Quills. Her book The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons, illustrated by Steven Salerno, is winner of the Irma Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, voted for by children, an NSTA Best STEM book and JLG Gold Selection. She loves true stories and is currently working on more nonfiction picture books, a chapter book series and a novel. More about Natascha at www.nataschabiebow.com

Alison Gardiner, Co-Chair SCBWI BI

Author of two MG fantasies, The Serpent of Eridor and Alchemy, Alison has also written several picture books. Currently her YF fantasy Re-Inc is on it’s twelfth (or twenty-third) re-edit. She loves gathering flashes of ideas to weave into tales. Her brain is so full of a swirl of random ideas that it really needs de-fragging. Family doctor, mother, radio voice performer, writer, SCBWI volunteer, reasonable cook, terrible gardener (ironically), Alison Gardiner loves all her roles, but sometimes gets her priorities muddled (except for banana-bread chef; that’s always right up there). Alison lives in England and loves to travel, having spent her early years in Jamaica, USA, Gibraltar and Scotland. Despite playing tennis, racquetball also swimming and going to the gym, she still can’t touch her toes. More yoga required! She’s ridden a camel, fed elephants, cuddled snakes and patted a hippo. She attributes her wildlife fearlessness to having four children.

Tita Berredo, SCBWI BI Illustrator Coordinator

Tita Berredo is a Brazilian children's writer and illustrator based in Glasgow. She has a background in Marketing and Publicity, and a Master's degree in Children's Literature and Illustration from Goldsmiths. Tita is the Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI SCBWI British Isles. She volunteers as a picture book reviewer for My Book Corner, and was previously a committee member of the Society of Authors in Scotland. Her wordless picture book, The Dress, has recently been selected by dPICTUS for the Unpublished Picture Book Showcase and will be exhibited this year at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

Tania Tay, Speaker Coordinator

Tania first wrote stories and plays on her mum’s old typewriter in the school holidays. Working as an advertising copywriter in Singapore and London was great training in writing commercial fiction. One day at a job interview, she was asked if she was a “brave writer”. It triggered her join a short story class at the City Lit, with Leone Ross where she wrote a few weird, dark tales. Writing as Crystal Sung, Tania Tay is working in partnership with inclusive fiction studio Storymix on a new series titled SPELLCASTERS. Tania is also debuting with a domestic suspense novel. Tania is second generation British Malaysian Chinese.

Mo O'Hara, PULSE Programme Coordinator

Mo O'Hara is the author of the New York Times bestselling series, My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish. She writes picture books like More People to Love Me and Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex and write the graphic novel series Agent Moose which Jess Bradley illustrates. She is currently writing a young fiction series with Anderson Press called Honey's Hive. Mo lives in London with her husband, two cats and two nearly grown-up kids. She enjoys travelling around the country ( and the world) telling stories, leading workshops and talking about books with kids.

Candy Gourlay, PULSE Programme Coordinator

Candy Gourlay was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. She has been shortlisted for the Waterstones and the Blue Peter Prize (Tall Story), the Guardian Prize (Shine) and the Costa and Carnegie (Bone Talk). Her latest novel for young adults Wild Song transports its characters to the 1904 World Fair in America. She loves making comics and waging war on the snails in her garden. “Wild Song is a stunning achievement” The Bookseller. Find her @candygourlay

Paul Morton, Illustration Programme Coordinator

A professional illustrator for over 30 years and illustration organiser for SCBWI. Paul has worked for commercial advertising as well as children’s games and educational books. His first 2 fully illustrated early reader series of books feature Bug Belly the greedy frog, pub. by Five Quills. Currently working on illustrated YF, graphic novels and PB’s, and actively seeking representation.

Mike Brownlow, 1-1 Professional Illustrator Review Coordinator

Mike Brownlow has written and illustrated many books for children, most noticeably the best-selling, award-winning Ten Little series, now on its thirteenth title, and Little Robots, which became a much-loved TV series, shown all over the world. He’s worked for many leading publishers, including Orchard, Bloomsbury, MacMillan and OUP. He and Simon Rickerty created a new Ten Little title, which was one of the featured books of World Book Day 2019. His agent is Caroline Walsh at David Higham Assoc.

Philip Kavvadias, Scholarship Coordinator, ARA Networks SCBWI BI

Philip writes plays, scripts. poems, biographies, essays, speeches, short stories, novellas and novels. He is passionate about Sustainability, which is not only his day job (for one of the biggest brands in the world), but also a main activity outside work – for example, he is a founding member of the Society Of Authors' Sustainability Working Group. Apart from writing for young people, Philip also loves working with them as a Scout Leader.

Jo Dearden, 1-1 Professional Reviews for Writers

Ex-magazine journalist Jo Dearden writes picture book texts (rhyme and prose) and illustrated non-fiction. Last year she won the Writing Magazine Picture Book Prize. Currently un-agented. @its_Jo_Dearden

Rebecca Colby, Mass Book Launch Coordinator

Rebecca Colby is a picture book author, poet and screenwriter. She has published 43 children’s books with Macmillan, Viking/PRH, Simon & Schuster, Collins, Maverick, Nosy Crow and The National Trust, amongst others. She also works as a Retreat Manager for the prestigious Rocaberti Writers’ Retreats in France.

Anna Cole, Party & Pitch Event

Anna is the conference party co-ordinator. Having always scribbled ideas and the beginnings of stories on any bit of paper she could find (think envelopes, leaflets and receipts) she decided to take her writing more seriously, so brought a notebook and began work on a middle grade fantasy novel. With a short interlude to work in a ski resort (and snowboard every day), Anna now writes at every opportunity.

B B Taylor, ARA Member Services SCBWI BI

B B Taylor, children's author has produced over 13 books from short rhyming stories about animals to stories about fairies monsters and zombies with humour. She is the founder and owner of Books and Banter in Burton Upon Trent. Full time daydreamer and Superhero in training, she loves nothing more than adventures and storytelling.

Ramona Karoor, Conference Front of House