Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Outstanding Contribution Award

Outstanding Contribution Award
The Outstanding Contribution Award





This year, Jan Carr has embraced the SCBWI spirit more than anybody: she has undertaken the mammoth task of getting Words & Pictures going again, and she has succeeded in remarkable fashion.

Words & Pictures needed someone to make the vision happen, to be the editorial voice of our blogzine. Jan has delivered more than we ever could have expected – not only has she delivered, but she’s built on the vision. And while she's at it, she also manages a huge team of volunteers who help her to keep it all going.

Jan’s hard work and endless enthusiasm has brought an online community to SCBWI, a place where advice is offered, support provided, book deals celebrated and applause given. And Jan makes sure that all of this happens every single day! On top of which, she also writes a weekly editorial column, which is always heartfelt and thought-provoking. So many people enjoy Words & Pictures.

It's provides a great learning opportunity for everybody, volunteers and readers alike. So thank you, Jan – what an amazing year



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Benjamin on his way to accept the award at the 2012 Conference.



In his role as Asistant Regional Advisor from 2010-2013, Benjamin worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring members together into a stronger, more assertive organisation.

In 2008 he took on the role of network coordinator for Central East and, when in 2010, he became Assistant Regional Adviser, alongside RA Natascha Biebow, his moving and shaking talents came to the fore.

He's an innovator with zillions of ideas, which have pepped up the SCBWI-BI.

Where to begin? Conference committee member, party supremo, badge-man, and retreat co-coordinator. He is an administrator par excellence and it's this behind-the-scenes work that binds the SCBWI- BI further together and strengthens it.

He made sure that everything is ticketty-boo with members, with the networks coordinators and the yahoo group moderator. Through his dedication and dynamism, he brought cohesion to SCBWI -BI, and helped to consolidate its reputation as a respected force in children's publishing.

One cannot champion Benjamin without also saying what a kind, thoughtful and modest man he is. He manages to combine these qualities with a cool calm-under-fire and facilitates events with great aplomb and humour. So, thanks, Benjamin, for the vision and dedication that has helped to make the SCBWI-BI what it is today. You have worked above and beyond what your role calls for. Bravo, Benjamin!




Candy Gourlay joined in 2002. After being involved in the designing of the Expressions Online newsletter of SCBWI in France, she helped Lee Carr McGovern to build the first British Isles website, little realising it would led to becoming British Isles webmaster herself!

In all her roles, Candy has shown herself to not only someone who makes things happen, but someone who can do it with friendliness, determination and good humour!

She has been one of our most innovative volunteers, constantly aware of what we need to do before we knew it ourselves. Candy is by her own admission, “a compulsive volunteer”, and is always willing to devote selfless hours in making these new ideas happen.

She has twice re-designed the website, helped to organise five conferences, set up the Online Critique network and the Ning, dreamed up the Night-Before Critique and the Plus Pages, and has helped to redevelop Words & Pictures into an online blog.

Her endless supply of great ideas made the new PULSE panels, which she moderated gracefully, an amazing hit at the 2010 conference. Candy’s tireless work has created a vibrant SCBWI community that sparkles both online and face-to-face.

In 2011 she handed on the mantle of webmaster to Nick Cross, but continued as an active member of the steering and conference committees. She continues to be willing to share her success and advice with members. We hope that her boundless enthusiasm and infectious optimism will continue to shape the British Isles for many years to come.




Margaret Carey accepts the Outstanding Contribution AwardIn her many roles, the late Margaret Carey was often the first friendly face encountered by new members. At first, Margaret organised the Illustrator’s Day alongside Anne-Marie Perks, inviting speakers, greeting attendees and ensuring the day ran smoothly. When we proposed the illustrator masterclass series, there was Margaret, brimming with enthusiasm and ideas.

Alongside this, Margaret ran the popular Professional Series for three years with Sara Grant, growing it from its modest living-room start to sell-out success. She sought out interesting speakers, moved the event to a new central London venue, and constantly welcomed new members, helping to make them feel part of the SCBWI-BI family.

Margaret CareyIn 2009, Margaret took on a leadership role as Conference Coordinator. With regional advisor Natascha Biebow on maternity leave and too sleep-deprived to be much help, Margaret unflappably took up the reigns and made it happen. This is just what makes her such an outstanding volunteer.

Her citation reads: “Not only is she steadfast and responsible, but truly one of the kindest and most down-to-earth people that I have met in this field. Such a genuine and calming influence, she listens to and is true to her own voice. There is simply no one like Margaret.”

After her death in 2011, a SCBWI Conference scholarship was set up to remember Margaret's life and work. The scholarship funds attendance to SCBWI British isles' yearly conference. Find out more here


Our annual award recognises a special volunteer who embodies the welcoming and supportive ‘spirit of SCBWI’ and has made an outstanding contribution to shaping and growing our chapter.

If you are interested in volunteering – whether in a local capacity with your regional network or on one of the main events or even if you have a good idea that you would like to pitch – do get in touch via the contact form below! 






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