Abiola Bello, ‘A. Bello’ is a young author from North London. She wrote her first novel at aged 8, where she fought monsters and dragons daily and was first published at aged 12 for a poem she wrote in school.
A. Bello wrote the first in the Emily Knight saga at aged 12, with the intention of filling in a gaping hole in children’s fiction for an inspirational, strong, black female protagonist (who can fight like a man!) She is the author of Emily Knight I Am and Emily Knight I Am…Awakened.
A. Bello has received rave reviews for her debut book as well as success with her Emily Knight Warriors pop-up book. She is the founder of The Lil’ Author School, co-founder of The Author School and Hashtag Press. The Author School is on the shortlist for The Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2016.
A. Bello has appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, Female First, The Mirror, BBC1XTRA to name a few. On 26th March 2018, she was announced as the winner of the Trailblazer Award 2018 which is run by The London Book Fair.
Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
I met the author I really wanted to meet. It was Judy Blume and I met her a few years ago and had a full fan girl attack. Now I would say maybe Angie Thomas. I think we’d vibe and we both love Tupac.
What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
Narcos. Pablo Escabor is the craziest person. I am legit amazed that this was a real person. Just started watching How To Get Away With Murder. I watched the crossover episode of Scandal & How To Get Away With Murder and I was like I need to learn more about this Anneliese character. Everyone has told me how amazing How To Get Away With Murder is and I watched the first episode and I’m now hooked!
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?
Ah this is so hard! Any Jackie Collins book cause they’re huge but amazing and will pass a lot of time. Jemima J by Jane Green cause I can read the book over and over again and still enjoy it and one of my books so when I start to go crazy I’ll remember that I achieved something awesome.
Tell us what you do in 20 words.
I create strong diverse characters for books. I run Hashtag Press/The Author School. I love to find new talent.
What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?
Take the best of traditional and self publish, mix it all together and you have Hashtag Press! We genuinely only pick books we are passionate about and authors who we believe have a strong voice. We back you 100%.
Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure.
Beyonce all day, every day.
And your one from the world of fiction?
The Shopaholic series
What would be the title of your autobiography?
I Swear I’m Not Lying
What was your first job?
Sales assistant at Monsoon Accessorize in Angel. Was there for 4 1/2 years then moved to Westfield Stratford when it opened. Hated Stratford branch so I stayed for 5 years to get my £250 gift card and went to teach dance full time.
And your first in the book industry?
Tell us about a passion you have outside the business.
Writing stories and street dance
When was your first London Book Fair?
I think it was 2013. I was so intimidated lol I remember calling my friend and saying, “I don’t know what to do here!” I tried to talk to HarperCollins and the secretary just looked at me like I was crazy. She asked if I had booked an appointment. I thought wait, I can’t just go talk to someone? I didn’t have an agent but was going to meet with them to sign the contract, so when she asked if I had an agent, I was like yes but no. She was not impressed with me in the slightest.
What has been your most successful piece of business, or contact made, at The London Book Fair?
Last year I met Treehouse Digital production company who are amazing and now working with them to adapt my Emily books for TV.
What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Bring a sandwich. Food is not cheap! And DON’T try and walk in on HarperCollins!
Abiola Bello is a winner of The London Book Fair Trailblazer Award 2018