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News: Female-led publishing house to launch imprint 100% focused on diversity


Press Release - 24thJune 2019


Female-led indie publishing house to launch new imprint 100% focused on bringing diversity & inclusion

"We believe that more talk and more action is needed - and fast - to represent the under-represented; show young people that we do listen; and that the archaic elitist publishing industry of old is not the future of books."- Abiola Bello & Helen Lewis, co-directors of Hashtag Press Ltd

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Introducing Hashtag BLAK





Press Release, London, United Kingdom, 24thJune 2019: Hashtag Press Ltd (, a collaborative, indie publishing house, based in London and Kent, is expanding to create a new imprint called Hashtag BLAK.


Officially due to launch on Monday 1stJuly 2019, Hashtag BLAK ( will follow a traditional publishing model with the founders behind Hashtag Press promising that the first two books will be written by British Black writers. The imprint has been created to showcase the best under-represented voices in the UK with the aim of making publishing fair, inclusive, representative and equal.


"Only 1.96% of authors and illustrators between 2007 and 2017 were British people of colour, compared to 13% of the population." - 2019 research by BookTrust


The statistics make for depressing reading and the founders of Hashtag Press and Hashtag BLAK, Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis, want to stand up and make a difference to those statistics. Spread the Word has kindly agreed to support the launch of Hashtag BLAK (


The BookTrust statistics get worse the more you read the article: "British people of colour had fewer books published on average - two - than white creators, who on average published four. They were also more likely to self-publish, with one-third of British people of colour titles being self-published, compared to 10.74% of titles by white British creators."


The entrepreneurial female directors added: "The publishing industry pay a lot of lip-service to the diversity issue and we want to switch things up in our own way."



Who are the women behind Hashtag Press?

Abiola Bello is an award-winning YA and middle grade author, Helen Lewis is a book publicist. Together, they founded The Author School ( in 2015, and collaborative publishing house Hashtag Press followed in 2017. They've since published best-selling books featured on Loose Women, in the New York Times, The Guardian and on BBC Radio.

Abiola was London Book Fair's Trailblazer of the Year 2018, Carnegie-nominated in 2019 and a London's BIG READ 2019 Finalist. Her books, Emily Knight I Am... and Emily Knight I Am Awakened received critical acclaim and rave reviews. She's working on the screen version and her YA novel, Beats, Love and high top trainers, is currently out for submission with a literary


Helen has been working in media, publishing and PR for almost 20 years. She founded award-winning publicity agency Literally PR ( in 2012, building on 11 years of journalism and PR experience. Helen also represents five authors at a time as a literary agent and travels the world attending book fairs.


Submissions open July 1st2019

We want to publish at least one amazing Black British writer in 2020. We are initially looking for fiction (not erotic or horror please). More details re. the submissions both authors and agents.


Notes to Editors

Helen Lewis and Abiola Bello are available for media comment, interviews and editorial commissions.

For more information about Hashtag Press and Hashtag BLAK please