Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Our Team

Elaine RidgeElaine Ridge (SCBWI SA Co-Regional Advisor – writer, editor, translator and academic)

Elaine Ridge has taught in England, Scotland and South Africa. She has also been involved in teaching Childen's literaturae to pre-service teachers at the University of Stellenbosch since 1983. In 1997 she presented lectures on SA children's literature in Sweden while she was a visiting professor at the University of Linkøping. She has also presented a course on English editing (and at times on translation) for the Art and Social Sciences Faculty at SU.
She has had three of her translations of children's books published and has edited a number of children's books for South African publishers. She was also part of  team that wrote a series of English text books.

Marjorie van Heerden 01Marjorie van Heerden (SCBWI SA Co-Regional Advisor – writer / illustrator)

Marjorie is a South African writer and illustrator of children's books. Since the publication of her first children's picture book in 1983 she has been published as illustrator or writer/illustrator in more than 130 children's books in 35 languages in Africa, Britain, Europe, The East, Canada and the USA. In 2003 Marjorie, with Paddy Bouma, started the South African chapter of the Society. Earlier, in 2000, she and a friend also started the SCBWI chapter in Athens, Greece. She is currently the co-regional adviser, with Elaine Ridge, of the SA chapter. Marjorie's CV can be seen at: To see a list of selected published children's books illustrated or written and illustrated by Marjorie go to:

Jenny-HattonJenny Hatton (Assistant Regional Adviser SCBWI SA – writer, editor)

Since leaving the Gauteng Dept of Education, Jenny has written and edited numerous English and Life Orientation textbooks and published 3 picture books illustrated by Joan Rankin. Finding Aunt Joan and Moving House were Bookchat’s Books of the Year, 2011; Finding Aunt Joan won the Crystal Kite award in 2012. Jenny is now writing a story to be illustrated by Marleen Visser and a novel for young adults. 
( Jenny organises events in Gauteng for SCBWI SA since 2007 )

Samantha van RietSamantha van Riet (Illustrator Co-ordinator SCBWI SA – writer / illustrator)

Samantha van Riet has been involved in the South African publishing industry for nearly twenty years. Her projects are children’s books and educational books, published in South-Africa, Namibia and Botswana. She works in watercolour, ink and pastels and her style ranges from realistic to animated, and particularly enjoys illustrating fantasy and animal stories. She is hoping to publish her own stories in the near future.

Paddy BoumaPaddy Bouma (Committee member SCBWI SA – writer / illustrator)

With Marjorie, Paddy was Co-Regional-Adviser to SCBWI SA from 2003 – 2007. Paddy taught Illustration in the Dept. of Visual Arts, Stellenbosch University. Her picture books have been published in SA, the UK and USA. They include illustrations for the picture-book version of Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom. Paddy has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and the MER Prize. She lives and works on a small farm in Jonkershoek Valley, Stellenbosch.;

Cecily-van-Straten-2Cicely van Straten (Committee member SCBWI SA – youth book writer)

Cicely writes mostly for young adults. Her novel Flowers of the Thorn is set in a Kenya boarding school during the Mau Mau period. She has also written faction in the story of Huberta, a lone hippo who travelled 1000 km down the South African coast in the 1920’s and hit headlines across the world. Huberta’s Journey won a White Raven award in 1988. Realizing that millions of children in South African townships have lost their story heritage, she did a Master’s Degree at Pretoria University: The Fairytale as Paradigm of Inner Transformation: a Comparative Study of European and Southern African Fairytales. This enabled her to find Southern African prototypes of classic European fairytales and to recommend age-appropriate indigenous tales to teachers.

Hazel Cuthbertson (Committee member SCBWI SA – Hazel-Cgraphic designer, writer / illustrato)

Helps Jenny Hattob organise events in Gauteng area. At the age of 4, Hazel’s nursery school report said that “she is a happy little girl who spends the morning painting and drawing”. She still is, and still does. Hazel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History of Art, Fine Art and English from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and worked as a graphic designer, copy writer and editor before specialising in illustration. She works in Photoshop, acrylics, watercolour, Derwent pencil crayons, and embroidery, and loves painting naïve animals and fantastic plants. Her favourite colour is Mountain Violet ( how could it not be? ).

Julia-du-Plessis-Julia du Plessis  (Committee member SCBWI SA – graphic designer, illustrator)

Helps Jenny Hatton in the Gauteng area. Julia has always been passionate about drawing, and an avid bookworm from an early age.  Her interest in cartooning was probably kindled at college and her first job was in advertising. Then she moved on to publishing, magazine design and illustration . With the arrival of her children, work followed her home where she has been freelancing ever since! Lately, she has begun specializing morein children’s educational books and poster illustration
"The materials I am currently working with are Pantone markers and blender fluid, which I find softens the harsh commercial feel of kokis. Although initially expensive I find they last for ages and I can mix my own colours using refills. course there is no buckling, and I can redraw using a light box.I also enjoy acrylics on canvas."

Celeste Beckerling with Friend squareCeleste Beckerling (Member, Content Manager/Webmaster – illustrator and writer)

After working ten years in the publishing industry, Celeste's made the leap to illustrating children's books. She uses a mix of watercolours and pencil crayons for her picture books, pen and pencil for chapter books and occassionally digital illustrations, depending on her clients. She has done a number of self-publisher books, illustrated for Burnet media, Book Dash, as well as Penguin Random House. Celeste also sells her art online and at the occassional craft market.

To see her children book illustrations, you can visit her online portfolio and blog.

To see her other art, go to her online store and blog at Inspired Things.