Category: Journal

Welcome to the #SignForOurBookshops campaign

I’m so excited to launch a national campaign to support bookshops throughout lockdown – #SignForOurBookshops. During the last lockdown, bookshops moved mountains to remain operational – taking orders online, or over the phone. They now face a second lockdown in the build-up to Christmas, their busiest sales period. 

#SignForOurBookshops is a national show of support from UK authors, urging people to keep buying through bookshops by offering exclusive signed bookplates to stores and customers. Over 200 authors are taking part so far, including Matt Haig, Dolly Alderton, Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen, David Nicholls and so many more. 

The former Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, has designed bespoke bookplates for the campaign. Buying a #SignForOurBookshops book is buying a slice of positive history in a challenging year. What better Christmas present idea than that? 

What the heck is a ‘bookplate’?

It’s a signed label that can be stuck into the front page of books, so it’s like having a personalised, signed, copy. In the lead-up to Christmas, authors usually travel around bookshops signing stock for the holiday trade, but obviously can’t do that this year. A bookplate makes a book into a individualised, signed copy 🙂

How can I buy an exclusive #SignForOurBookshops book?

Check out the hashtag and see which authors are involved, and how you can buy their signed copies. Some authors are sending out personalised notes to any customer who gives them proof-of-purchase from a bookshop, where others have nominated their favourite bookshops to send signed plates to. There are so many exciting books up for grabs by amazing authors – including bestselling crime writers, children’s authors, romance authors, and non-fiction. Please do get online, and start supporting bookshops. They are amazing pillars of our community, and I want them all to still be open when this awful pandemic has passed.

What am I pledging? 

If you want a signed Holly Bourne book, here is what I’m currently pledging as part of the campaign:

  • I will send signed, personalised, bookplates to 50 people who buy one of my books through a bookshop during lockdown.
  • I will send signed bookplates to 10 bookshops
  • I will send signed bookplates to 20 Usborne sales reps. 

How can I get a Holly Bourne book?

I’m offering this on a first-come-first-serve business.

If you are interested in the above, please email me on 

Customers, please do not buy the book first! Email first to reserve one, so I don’t overcommit to numbers. I will then email back to let you know if you’ve got a spot, then you can buy and send me proof-of-purchase, and I can make up your personalised bookplate and pop it in the post. 

Bookshops and Usborne reps, the same applies. Thank you.

Is this UK only?

I’m afraid this is currently only a UK campaign. Although Irish authors are pledging for Irish customers too, so check out the hashtag to see who’s involved. 

And please support bookshops!

If you buy a signed copy, do try and pick other books up while you’re shopping with that store. I know I’m hugely biased, but books make such incredible, thoughtful Christmas presents – even if they’re not signed. 


Become a kindness ambassador

A group dedicated to making the world a kinder place. Every small act of kindness makes a small difference. So join us and change the world with  us. Because, together, snowflakes create avalanches.

Because kindness is contagious, and Holly Bourne wants to show you how.

BBC Young Writers’ Award

Whenever I visit schools, I’m always telling you that your voice matters and your experience matters and that you don’t need permission to shout from the rooftops. With that in mind, I’m so SO excited to be judging the BBC Young Writer’s Award. Guys, this is going to be EPIC!

Joining me on the judging panel will be Nikesh Shukla, editor of youth
magazine Rife and the amazing anthology The Good Immigrant, and the awesome Alice Levine, BBC Radio 1 DJ, as chair extraordinaire.  


Open to all young people aged 14 to 18, who
live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1000 words on any
topic with the judges eager to see stories that show real imagination and
creativity; high quality writing that can capture and hold the reader.  The shortlist of the top five stories will be
announced Saturday 30 September 2017 (subject to change) with the finalists invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award 2017
ceremony in London on Tuesday 3 October
, where the winner will be announced.

The talented winning writer of the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 will have
their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring
session with an author to help develop their writing skills. All five shortlisted
writers will be given a guided visit to BBC Broadcasting House and have the
chance to meet high-profile authors, publishers, agents and broadcasters. The
shortlist will also have their stories published on the BBC Radio 1 website and
receive a copy of the BBC National Short
Story Award 2017

deadline for receipt of entries is 5pm (BST) Friday 21 April 2017.
The Terms & Conditions and Entry Form, along with a host of resources to
help writers get started with their stories, are available at

Good luck everyone and get writing! Holly x


Holly Bourne appearances this summer

A few of you have been asking where you can see Holly this summer,
so we’ve pulled together a handy list below for you. Let us know if you’re
going to any!


Welcome to Camp Reset: an origami workshop

Be kind to
yourself today and start your Sunday at a slower pace at Usborne YA’s Camp
Reset. We’ll teach you how to create messages of kindness in a laid back
origami workshop based on Holly Bourne’s brand new – and exclusively available
at YALC! – book Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? Because
Kindness is contagious, and Holly Bourne wants to show you how.

Sunday 29th July

11.00 – 11.45

Real World, Real Me

Sunday 29th July

13.00 – 13.45

Edinburgh Festival

Holly Bourne & Cat Clarke: Finding Resolve

Thursday 16th August, 17.30

Holly Bourne: Writing for Resilience Workshop

Friday 17th August 10.30am

Looking forward to seeing you out there!

What’s a Girl Gotta Do…to make a book?


Being one of the first people to read a brand-new Holly
Bourne book is, quite frankly, one of the best parts of my job. Getting drawn
back into Amber, Evie and Lottie’s lives is like gossiping with old friends.
What have they been up to? Any new disasters or triumphs? Any new crushes?

In October 2015, the first draft of Lottie’s story landed in
our inboxes here at Usborne towers and the anticipation was electric. But what
happens between first draft and publication date? Ten months might seem like a
long time, but there are plenty of stages we work through to make sure everything’s

Stage 1: the edit
We editors read the manuscript (which was – as you’d expect – awesome from the start!) and then consulted closely with Holly, tossing around suggestions and ideas – and flagging our favourite bits (as you can see below)…


We repeated this process over the next few months with the second edit (January) and the third (March) until it was time for…

Stage 2: the copyedit (April)
The edited manuscript was given to copyeditor Hannah to make sure there were no inconsistencies left in the text and note if there were any elements for our designer to look out for.


Stage 3: design (May)
Our brilliant designer Sarah transformed the Word document into actual page proofs (this is the stage when a manuscript starts to look like a real book) – in time for us to send them out for…

Stage 4: the proofread (May)
Two proofreaders read the page proofs to check for any last

spelling errors etc…


…before we made our final checks and sent the book to production in June:


Finished copies arrived in July – here’s Holly signing some (*hand cramp*):


And the book officially hit the shops on 1st August – woohoo!


Ta dah! So now you know.


“Feminist: A person who believes in the social, political, and economic
equality of all genders, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class,
religion, ability and sexual orientation.”

I am a feminist because I am too scared to walk alone at night.

I am a feminist because I got lined up in a classroom in order
of who had the nicest arse, aged thirteen, by all the boys in the class.

I am a feminist because everyone asks me if I’m feeling OK on
the days I don’t wear makeup.  

I am a feminist because a man I was managing was paid the same as me.

I am a feminist because every girl I know was sexually harassed
before the age of sixteen.  

I am a feminist because women write insightful and beautiful
books about relationships and they’re labelled chick lit. I am a feminist
because men write insightful and beautiful books about relationships and get
longlisted for the Booker prize.  

I am a feminist because 50% of the films nominated for Best
Picture Academy Awards did not pass the simple Bechdel test.

I am a feminist because whenever I watch a movie, music video,
or open a magazine, I feel instantly insecure about my body.

I am a feminist because my two-year-old niece pointed to a
picture of a blue hat in a book and said, “Boy’s hat”.

I am a feminist because I am regularly interrupted by men
whenever I dare to open my mouth.  

I am a feminist because when I do mixed-sex school visits, the
girls never, ever put their hand up to ask a question. But, when it’s just
girls, we usually have to leave extra time for questions.

I am a feminist because I feel I need to hide my tampon up my
sleeve on the way to the toilet.

I am a feminist because teenage boys come up to me at events
and ask if they’re “allowed” to read my books.

I am a feminist for all the boys I supported, working at a
charity, who would rather harm themselves than cry.

I am a feminist because my wonderful, caring, brilliant
feminist father has still never cleaned a toilet in his life.  

I am a feminist because this is only the tip of it. The tip of
it in my privileged, first-world, pale-skinned, straight, fully-abled

I am feminist for all the women for whom it is unimaginably
harder than it is for me.

I am a feminist because I am angry and exhausted and terrified
and frustrated and confused. And even though it’s so much harder to fight, so
much easier to roll over, I am a feminist because… how can you not be a

I am a feminist for all the things I’m damaged by that I don’t
want to share here today.  

I am a feminist. And I’m not saying that to make you feel
guilty and defensive. I’m not saying that because I think you’re a bad person.
I’m not saying that because I hate half of the human population and want them
all punished.  

I am saying that because I believe every human being should
have an equal shot at a healthy and happy life, no matter what body they are
born into. And that’s not going to happen unless we fight, unless we speak up,
unless we occasionally make people feel uncomfortable, unless we – at the very
freaking least – TRY.

That’s why #IAmAFeminist. Now, how about you?


Since, Am I Normal Yet? was published, I’ve had so many of you asking if you can make your own Spinster Club. And my answer is always ‘YES OF COURSE!’ In fact, that was what I hoped my books would inspire. So I’m delighted to introduce the Spinster Club Hub – providing you with everything you need to set up your own club.

Because you really can change the world by sitting around with your friends, eating cheesy snacks, and talking about the all the weirdness that you have to put up with by being a girl. In fact there’s a posh word for Spinster Clubs. They’re called ‘consciousness raising groups’ and historically a LOT of world-changing stuff has come out of them. You’ve got to know about a problem before you can solve it. You’ve got to name it, got to talk about it, got to accept that it’s there. And where better to do this than surrounded by friends you love, and sharing your stories somewhere you feel safe?

Talking and sharing leads to campaigning and protesting. So, please go nuts! Get the cheese in. Download the AMAZING Spinster Club resources here and go forth spinsters and start spinstering! And please, please, do tweet me/Instagram me all your Spinsterly movements. I cannot wait to see all the amazing stuff you do. 

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? COVER REVEAL and giveaway

We’re super excited to reveal the cover of What’s A Girl Gotta Do?, the third title in Holly Bourne’s Normal series, this week. 

What’s A Girl Gotta Do?

is Lottie’s hilarious and heart-rending story about the sacrifices you have to make to fight for what’s right …

To celebrate the news, we’ve given Maximum Pop three early proofs to give away! That’s THREE SUPER EARLY COPIES OF WHAT’S A GIRL GOTTA DO?!

All you need to do to be entered is: follow @maximumpopbooks, RT the competition tweet and fill in the easy form!

ENDS 28/5, 9PM. UK ONLY.

Good luck!

What’s A Girl Gotta Do? publishes in August, and we can’t wait for you all to read Lottie’s story.

It’s World Book Night week!


It’s World Book Night week and we are EXCITED! Holly’s novel Am I
Normal Yet?
is one of 15 amazing books on the list by authors and poets
such as Jonathan Coe, Carol Ann Duffy and Matt Haig. You can see the full list
on the WBN website – and what a list it is!

On Saturday, volunteers
across the UK and Ireland will be armed with 16 copies of their chosen book to give out in
their community to encourage reading for pleasure, and to reach those who don’t
regularly read or own books.

Reading for pleasure, particularly for young
adults, is something we are seriously passionate about, and Holly feels the

“Stories are there to be
enjoyed, not slogged through. That’s why I’m so passionate about reading for
pleasure and so delighted to be on the World Book Night list. I was always told
growing up that’s it’s not what you read that matters, but that it’s great to
be reading anything. So I devoured comedy books like Roald Dahl and Louise
Rennison, and now try to write books that are as engaging and hilarious as they

So we want
to hear from YOU!
Do you have 16 copies of Am I Normal Yet? to give out on
Saturday 23rd April? How will you be gifting them? We’d LOVE to see
your photos from the night and hear all about the people you meet! Tweet or
Instagram your photos and stories using #AmINormalYet and #WorldBookNight – we’ll be online
sharing all your posts and we’ll also collect all the photos and do a round-up
right here on Holly’s tumblr.


On Saturday
evening Holly will be at the flagship event and celebration at the British
Library where she’ll be speaking alongside Matt Haig, Dreda Say Mitchell, S. J.
Parris, Sathnam Sanghera and chaired by Cathy Rentzenbrink. Tickets are still
available via the British Library Box Office.