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Children’s Illustrators and Writers Group AGM and Panel 2021: New Directions in Bookselling

6 February @ 14:00 - 15:30 GMT

Virtual Event

Following the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) Annual General Meeting, join us for an industry insider panel discussion on bookshops and bookselling. From traditional bricks and mortar to online retailing and travelling carnivals, David Prescott (Blackwell’s), Jasper Sutcliffe (Bookshop.org) and Samantha Williams (Book Love) will discuss the challenges currently facing booksellers, how retailers work with publishers and authors, what customers are buying, and exciting innovations in the trade. This in-conversation event will be chaired by Dawn Finch (CWIG Chair).

This event is in conjunction with our Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group.

What will this session cover?

  • Information on the retail market pre, during and post lockdown
  • How the panellists reach customers – on the shop floor, in schools and online
  • How the panellists work with authors and publishers, including author events
  • Do’s and don’ts when working with booksellers
  • What needs to change and hopes for the future

Who is this talk for?

This session is for all authors interested in how books are sold and how they can support and work with bookshops – whatever stage of their career. There will be a particular focus on children’s publishing.


14.00-14.20: Children’s Illustrators and Writers Group AGM

Open to SoA Members only. Annual report, election of CWIG committee and member feedback and discussion. Followed by a 10-minute comfort break before the panel discussion.

14.30-15.30: Panel Discussion: New Directions in Bookselling

  • 30 minutes: Introduction from Dawn Finch, CWIG Chair, followed by panel discussion with David Prescott, Jasper Sutcliffe and Samantha Williams
  • 25 minutes: Audience Q&A
  • 5 minutes: Closing comments

Please send in any advance questions to Jo McCrum with ‘CWIG AGM and Panel – Question’ in the subject header.

The line-up

Dawn Finch – Author and CWIG Chair
Dawn Finch has worked with children’s books and reading for over 30 years. Dawn has both written and contributed to dozens of non-fiction books for children, and her bestselling books about prehistoric Britain are used in most primary schools. Dawn also writes fiction for young readers and has written about historical fiction for children and young readers. She began her career in public libraries before moving on to children’s and school libraries where she specialised in the development and support of young readers. She is an active and outspoken campaigner for libraries and literacy and is a Trustee and former President of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Dawn understands the challenges faced by booksellers as she is one of a small team running a community bookshop. Orb’s is an essential part of a farming community town in rural Aberdeenshire as it is a 60-mile round trip to the next nearest bookshop.

Dawn’s website | Dawn’s TwitterDawn’s Instagram

David Prescott – Blackwell’s
David Prescott is the Chief Executive of Blackwell’s – the UK’s largest independent bookseller. Founded in 1879 in Oxford, it now trades from 28 shops across the high street, universities and online. In a 25-year career with Blackwell’s, David has held a variety of roles across the company, starting in the goods-in department, as well as shop floor, management and regional roles – before being made Managing Director for Blackwell’s in January 2011, and Chief Executive for Blackwell’s Limited in May 2013. He has also taken an active role in the UK Booksellers Association as Chair of the Academic and Professional Bookselling Group and was Vice President of the Booksellers Association from 2011-17.

Blackwell’s website | Blackwell’s Twitter |Blackwell’s Instagram | Blackwell’s YouTube

Jasper Sutcliffe – UK Bookshop.org 
Jasper Sutcliffe is the Publishing and Affiliate Manager for Bookshop.org in the UK. Jasper was previously the Head of Buying at Foyles where he worked for 21 years, starting on the shop floor in the Fiction Dept progressing through the business to the position of Head of Buying. 

Bookshop.org’s website | Bookshop.org’s Twitter |Bookshop.org’s Instagram 

Samantha Williams – Founder, Book Love
After 15 years of working in the media and with no publishing experience whatsoever, the frustrations Samantha encountered regarding the lack of diversity and cultural representation in TV and in books motivated her to create Book Love. The award-winning book carnival, now into its fourth year, sources global multicultural content for both children and adults. Book Love travels to schools, markets, festivals and places of work up and down the country helping teachers and people find the best culturally diverse books and toys available.

Book Love websiteBook Love Twitter | Book Love InstagramBook Love Go FundMe



Book your place using the registration form below. Please note: only SoA Members can attend the AGM, and only Full Members have voting rights.

The panel discussion is free to attend but, if you can afford it, we recommend a minimum £5 donation to the Authors’ Contingency Fund to help us support authors facing financial hardship during the health crisis. DONATE HERE


6 February
14:00 - 15:30 GMT
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