Four members join SoA’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators committee

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.
Ian Billings, A M Dassu, Chitra Soundar and Isabel Thomas will represent children’s fiction, poetry, scriptwriting, audio drama, educational books and more on the Group's committee.

At the upcoming Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) AGM the group will say goodbye to committee members Sita Brahmachari, Keren David, Candy Gourlay, Curtis Jobling; and will welcome Ian Billings, A M Dassu, Chitra Soundar and Isabel Thomas. These candidates will be elected unopposed on 6 February 2021 and will assist us in our future campaigning, advocacy and guidance for members.

  • Ian Billings is a stand-up comic for kids, fiction author, poet, and scriptwriter of award-winning audio drama, TV and theatre
  • A M Dassu is Deputy Editor of SCBWI-BI’s magazine, Words & Pictures, is a Director of Inclusive Minds, and is a writer of fiction and non-fiction including the widely acclaimed MG novel Boy, Everywhere, which has just been announced as one of The Guardian’s Best Children’s Books of 2020
  • Chitra Soundar is the author of over 40 books for children for trade and education, fiction and non-fiction
  • Isabel Thomas is an award-winning science writer and the author of more than 160 books for children.

Here’s what they have to say:

Ian Billings:

As a writer and performer with a wide range of experience in differing sectors, I’m hoping to bring a unique view to all aspects of the committee’s work and support the collective community’s development, improvement and diversity.

A M Dassu:

I am delighted and honoured to be joining the committee. I am keen to increase representation of children’s authors geographically (outside of London and surrounding counties) and, due to my connections with established, debut and aspiring authors, can bring a fresh view to the table on what sort of professional development is needed, and also look at how we can increase representation in terms of age, disability and ethnicity.

Chitra Soundar:

I am honoured to serve on the Group’s committee to help bring about visible changes in children’s publishing across the value chain to value and support diverse voices. In particular, I’d also like to support new authors to gain an understanding of the landscape, contracts, revenue streams.

Isabel Thomas:

Life as a professional writer can be bumpy, the ups and downs magnified by the freelance nature of the role. My SoA membership has been invaluable throughout my career, not only for practical support but for the feeling of community that comes with membership of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group. I am delighted to join the committee and am looking forward to supporting the Group’s work – finding new ways to nurture the sense of community and belonging for members, to improve access to writing careers to people from low-income and non-privileged backgrounds, and to be a voice for writers of children’s non-fiction, scientific and reference works.

What does the Group do?

The Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group was formed to address the issues particular to those working in children’s publishing and bring those members together professionally and socially. The committee advise on industry standards, terms and fees offered to our members and hold regular meetings and events on various aspects of the industry.

The Group campaigns for better contract terms, such as those offered for special sales; to support libraries; and for the promotion of literacy, including a Reading for Pleasure Award that members can immediately give to schools.

The next deadline for committee applications will be 1 June 2021 for tenures beginning February 2022 (there will be at least two vacancies). If you any queries, get in touch with the Group’s Administrator Jo McCrum – we are happy to discuss the roles and responsibilities before you make a formal application.

Alice Harman joins the SoA’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators committee

29 September 2021

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