Tag: Holly Bourne

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 www.bbc.co.uk/ywa

Good luck everyone and get writing! Holly x



“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.

The #BestMovieKiss shortlist

You voted. You agonised. You sent me ANGRY tweets about the poll results. And here we have it…the ultimate shortlist of Best Movie Kisses. 



The quarter-finalists:

– Bridget Jones’ Diary 

– Spiderman

– Romeo and Juliet

– Brokeback Mountain

– 10 Things I Hate About You

– Moulin Rouge

– Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter

– A Room With A View

– The Princess Bride

So, where do we go from here?

We’re battling it out again. I’ll upload a new Twitter poll using the #BestMovieKiss hashtag, this time only once a day. It’s sudden death. If the kiss doesn’t win, it’s not through. 

And there’s a twist!

You will realise there is NINE kisses on the shortlist and nine is an odd number. So one vote will be between THREE kisses. 

This will whittle us down to four – the semi-finals. 

Then the biggie – The Final. 

Keep checking out the hashtag to vote, and thanks so much for your enthusiasm and opinions and voting so far. It’s really helping my book research and I LOVE YOU ALL 

What’s the best movie kiss of all time?

What makes a really great Hollywood kiss?

I’m trying to find out. And I want you to FIGHT TO THE DEATH (well, not literally) for your favourite.

I’m currently writing a book I’m not allowed to talk about yet, and, yes, it involves kissing. For it, I need insight into what *you* like out of a kissing scene, and why. So, I asked the wonderful hive-mind of Twitter what your favourite movie kiss is.

A LOT of you had MANY OPINIONS and I’m delighted to reveal the longlist….

The Breakfast Club

Who kisses who? Claire and Bender

“Don’t YOU, forget about me… *AIR PUNCH*”


Bridget Jones’ Diary

Who kisses who? Bridget and Mark Darcy

“Nice boys don’t kiss like that.”

“Oh yes, they fucking do.”


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Who kisses who? Ron and Hermione




Who kisses who? Spiderman and Mary Jane

Upsidedown. Rain.


From Here to Eternity

Who kisses who? Sergeant Milton Warden and Karen Holmes

Top fact: This kiss inspired T-Spoon

(that fact may not be true)


The Princess Bride

Who kisses who? Westley and Buttercup

Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.


A Room With A View

Who kisses who? Lucy and George

A solid head-grabber, this one. “POOR CECIL”


Love Rosie

Who kisses who? Rosie and Alex

This is what happens when you let people vote for things…


My Beautiful Laundrette

Who kisses who? Omar and Johnny

Who knew a laundrette could be so sexual?


Moulin Rouge

Who kisses who? Christian and Satine

If you haven’t sang the boy-girl duet from ‘Elephant Love Melody’ during a traffic jam than you’re not living life, quite frankly.


Dirty Dancing

Who kisses who? Baby and Johnny

“Come ‘ERE LoverBoy.”



Who kisses who? Josh and Cher

No suck and blow here, thank you very much


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Who kisses who? Holly and Paul

Rain. Cat. Hints of prostitution…


The Notebook

Who kisses who? Noah and Aliie

“It wasn’t over, IT STILL ISN’T OVER.” …and, with that, every girl dies a little inside, whenever she kisses someone who isn’t Ryan Gosling


Brokeback Mountain

Who kisses who? Jack and Ennis

Proof that head-clutching is not a heteronormative kissing phenomenon


Romeo and Juliet

Who kisses who? Romeo and Juliet. Obvs.

The Stealthy Elevator kiss beat the Sexy Swimming Pool kiss by a hair of a whisker in the prelims. Will that damage its chances of an overall win?


10 Things I Hate About You

Who kisses who? Kat and Patrick

I have a lot of Heath fans on my timeline, it appears. HERE COMES THE HAIR TUCK!

My Girl

Who kisses who? Vadar and Thomas

Before the bees came… 

Holly, how the hell did you come up with this list?

There were too many nominations to fight them all to the death. This longlist was made up of each kiss that was nominated more than once.

What’s going to happen now?

Apart from all of us feeling dissatisfied by our own romantic lives? Well.. I’m going to randomly pull two kisses out of a hat (ASDA bag) and then pip them against each other on Twitter. Check the #BestMovieKiss hashtag once a day to make sure you can vote for your favourite.  

This is sudden death. If a kiss doesn’t win a Twitter poll, it’s out. We keep going until we get a WINNER.

My ode to Georgia Nicolson


Every time I do a school visit, or go to a festival, I’m consistently asked the same question.

“What’s your favourite book?”

Without hesitation, my answer is the same.

“Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging.”

So, I was completely devastated to hear the news that Louise Rennison, author of the Georgia Nicolson books, has died. She is my biggest influence as a writer and her books are so intrinsically linked to my own teenagehood. I’m so, so sad that she’s gone.

But her books remain. And what WHAT books they are. So, to help alleviate my grief, I’ve written a celebration of why the Georgia Nicolson books are so great.

They are beyond funny

Not just funny-for-a-girl funny. Not the-occasional-discrete-tittle-on-the-train funny. No. These books make you laugh until you snort. Actual snot has flown out of my nose and landed some way across my face whilst reading them. There are so, SO, many funny moments in these books, but off the top of my head, some of the best bits are:

  • Georgia dying a blonde streak in her hair with bleach and it snapping off in the Sex God’s hand
  • Getting one of his buttons shoved up her nose when he lays her head on his lap
  • Throwing her tennis racquet into the air after winning a match and knocking the umpire off their high chair
  • “Hi Dig” (you have to be a big fan to understand that one)

Georgia isn’t pretty

And not just in that oh-I-think-I’m-really-ugly-but-everyone-fancies-me-anyway way. Rennison is careful in making sure the reader knows Georgia isn’t a supermodel – from her big nose, to her lurking-lurker outbreaks. But – shock horror – boys still like her! Even though her friend Jas famously says “boys don’t like girls for funniness’, Jas is routinely proved wrong. Boys fall for Georgia precisely because she’s funny, random, loud and brash. She wins them over with hilarity and wit, not by batting her boy entrancers. It gave teenage me, fellow possessor of a larger nose, such hope. And, also, some pretty great relationship advice – boys won’t be put off you for being funny, in fact, they really quite like it.

Teen relationships don’t always last forever

The first few books are preoccupied with Georgia trying to ensnare Robbie the Sex God. But, once she gets him, they don’t wander off into the sunset together. They have fights, they break up for reasonable reasons, like him moving away. Georgia has other relationships with other people. No-one in these books marries their first ever partner. Not that there’s anything wrong with marrying your first ever partner, but, for most teens, love comes and goes. And these books were the first romances I read that recognised that.

Female friendships are everything

The Ace Gang were #SquadGoals before Taylor Swift had even hit puberty. Georgia and her friends were everything my friends and I wanted to be. Everything we were. We did mad things, we made each other laugh til we cried, we sometimes hated each other and fell out over silly stuff. From fish parties, to the snogging scale – the Ace Gang were dedicated to being there for each other and making each other laugh. I honestly don’t think the Spinster Club would exist if I hadn’t read these books. They taught me to prize my female friendships above everything else.

The ensemble cast

Like Friends, a lot of the best comedy came from the bit-part characters. Elvis the grumpy caretaker who posed in the nuddypants. Sven, the cossack-dancing, nordic madman who only seemed to know the word ‘jah’. Nauseating Pamela Green a.k.a the best comedic name of all time. The bullying Bummer Twins. Whelk Boy and his snogging lessons. Mark and his big gob and wandering hands. Wet Lindsay and her thong. Every single teacher at her school…

The lingo

I think you know you’ve made it as an author if readers adopt actual words you’ve made up. Think about words like ‘muggle’ for example. And this was true of Rennison’s books too. Since reading them, it’s never cold but nippy noodles. I never fancy someone, I’ve got the cosmic horn for them. My boobs are nunga nungas. Italy is Pizza-a-go-go land. My entire lexicon (I only learnt that word last year!) has expanded to fit the world she created.

Dave The Laugh

Essentially the best book boyfriend the world has ever known. I will never stop trying to find him in my own real life. Any boy who puts a ‘For Sale’ banner across the roof of his school is a keeper.

I am so sad today. But just writing this has cheered me up so much. And that’s what’s so amazing about authors – they never really leave us. They leave their books behind, their characters behind, their nip-nip eruptions behind. I will always feel so grateful that these books came into my life and they will never leave me. So, thank you Louise Rennison. I hope you are laughing like a loon on loon tablets away on a fast camel.