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Diversity in publishing campaigner nominated for CILIP Carnegie Medal

Abiola Bello's ‘Emily Knight' nominated for CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019


5thNovember 2018, London, United Kingdom: Prize-winning author of the ‘Emily Knight' middle-grade fantasy series, Abiola Bello, has been nominated for the country's oldest children's book award - the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019.


‘Emily Knight I am...Awakened' is the second book in the series, published in September 2017 by indie publishing house Hashtag Press ( Abiola Bello (30) lives in Stoke Newington, London and has been writing since the age of eight. In April 2018, Abiola was named ‘Trailblazer of 2018' by the London Book Fair, and is the co-founder of The Author School (


Emily Knight was first created by Abiola ( when she was 12 years old with the intention of filling the gaping hole in fiction for an inspirational, strong, black, female, young protagonist. This gap, almost two decades later, remains in the publishing world despite continued calls for more diversity / inclusion in publishing.


Abiola Bello said,"I am so honoured that my book was nominated for the Carnegie Award 2019. The fact that they are celebrating diversity and inclusion just makes it extra special. My book is listed amongst some of my favourite books and authors. This is a big moment for me!"


Helen Lewis, co-director at Hashtag Press added:"We are so pleased that one of our books, ‘Emily Knight I am...Awakened' by A.Bello, has been nominated. We are just over a year old and are a small but fast-growing publishing house that is gearing up to release its tenth title. We couldn't be more proud of this prestigious recognition for one of our books."


The Emily Knight series is aimed at 10 to 15 year olds and Emily is a black, strong, young teenager who isn't poor, or from the ghetto, or struggling...she's rich, famous, incredibly talented...and she's finding out who she really is, where she comes from, and battling it out as a warrior in some fierce situations!


This year, 137 books are in the running for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Books have been put forward by a record number of nominators which, alongside CILIP members, includes several external bodies − BookTrust, CLPE, Commonword, IBBY, Inclusive Minds, National Literacy Trust and RNIB − invited to nominate as part of CILIP's diversity and inclusion action plan for the Awards.


What happens next?

Each nominated book is read by every member of the judging panel − 14 children's and youth librarians representing all regions of CILIP's Youth Libraries Group − who volunteer their time as judges. From these nominations the judging panel will decide the long (18thFebruary 2019) and shortlists (18thMarch 2019) and finally, the 2019 Medal winners (17thJune 2019), based on the official Medals criteria.


For media enquiries, interviews and for press copies of Emily Knight I am... Awakened by A. Bello please more information about the Carnegie Medal, please contact Natalie Jones at CILIP