What we do

Since Covid we've met monthly online. Contact us for more details.

We write and illustrate for children, from picture books and middle grade chapter books right through to young adult texts. Some of us are published but most of us are still working towards publication or just simply write and illustrate for fun.

We're from all professions and backgrounds and use SSWAG in a variety of ways; our core activity being our monthly critique meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to provide constructive feedback of our writing and/or illustrations in all aspects; grammar, plot, character design etc. Experienced members share their knowledge and new members bring fresh perspectives and ideas. Members aren't expected to attend every month and they don't have to submit work to be part of the critique session.

As well as providing critique we combine our experiences of pitching to industry professionals and support each other in this process. Ad-hoc submission preparation meetings may be held prior to competition entries; or if several members are ready to send work to an agent or publisher; or if an event is coming up where members have the opportunity to be in front of industry professionals.

SSWAG members (Swaggers) take their professional development seriously. We take part in workshops, classes, events and residential courses. However, since most events related to publishing are based in the South, even stalwart Swaggers don't have the means to get to all of them. When we do, we share what we've learned. We've organised successful workshops locally and we encourage industry speakers to the beautiful North East.

SSWAG also run a book group which is led by one of our members. This group meet to discuss children's literature. Visit the book group Facebook site to find out more.

Our name

Until 2013 the SSWAG acronym stood for Seven Stories Writers and Artists Group, as the group was formed some years ago by request of Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books. Our first members attended a writing class at the Centre for Lifelong Learning and jumped at the chance to be involved with Seven Stories, a vibrant organisation set in the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle. Links with Seven Stories still remain, but in 2013 an ever-growing SSWAG became independent and it made sense to keep our acronym as we'd networked energetically over the years and were known by that name - more often than not it raises a smile! It took a while, but we plumped for Swagbag Stories Writers and Artists Group, inspired by a lovely illustration that was originally our logo.