Elaine Forrestal

10th Anniversary of SCBWI Rottnest Retreat

Cows? In the Salt Store? Only on a SCBWI Retreat weekend!

SCBWI West has just celebrated its 10th Rottnest Retreat and what a bumper crop of writers and illustrators it has produced in that time. From very small beginnings in 2009, when there were 25 participants housed in 8 cottages, to 61 people in 16 cottages this year, SCBWI has nurtured, encouraged and supported countless members through the trials and tribulations of writing and illustrating children’s books. Today we count winners of all the recognised Awards in Australia, and some of the overseas ones as well, among our members. But SCBWI has never just been about winning Awards. It has always encouraged a wide range of writers and illustrators, from those who are at the very beginning of their careers to those with multiple publications to their names. From those who are just dipping their toes in the see how it feels, to those who are absolutely dedicated and determined to succeed.

I think that this mix of people is one of the most remarkable and valuable aspects of the group. Everyone gains something from the others. Experienced writers like me learn so much about social media and how to make it work from the younger members of the group. And they, I hope, learn something from me – mostly about perseverance and never giving up. The way we share and support each other is crucial to our success. But we also have a lot of laughs along the way. Each year we remind ourselves just how funny the previous years have been. And we celebrate even the smallest successful step along the way. It is much easier to ride over the inevitable disappointments and dashed hopes experienced by every artist working in this field, when you have successful people you can call your friends. People who have also been there, done that and survived to tell the tale.

So with glass of red wine in hand I say thanks, congratulations, and here’s to at least another ten years of wonderful shared times at the SCBWI Rottnest Retreat.