It will be interesting to see how many people come out of the lockdown period with new talents, or a drive to make more of a hobby or past-time. You don’t need to have developed new skills or set off on a new adventure during this time, but some people have.
If you are a Stoke Newington resident looking for inspiration, and confidence that you can achieve success while hailing from this part of London, look at the success of Abiola Bello. Abiola is a well-known and highly regarded author of children’s and young adult stories.
Abiola is calling for Stoke Newington writers to get involved with the writing process
During the lockdown period, Abiola called for local talent to enter a competition which offered the chance for writers to have their work published, publicised and to place itself in contention to enjoy film rights for a book or a manuscript.
Abiola has been assisting with the judging process of the eBook Award for published fiction and non-fiction of The Page Turner Awards. Abiola said; “I really love stories that have diverse characters. I like to read anything, but I do love young adult books.”
Abiola is perhaps best known for her Emily Knight book series, which is Carnegie nominated. Abiola was also awarded London’s Big Read in 2019, while the series has received considerable praise for hosting a diverse range of characters while displaying a strong, black female protagonist.
Abiola spoke to the Culture Whisper website about her experiences in publishing; “I’m a black British author and I remember my agent once telling me it’s really challenging because publishers don’t want to publish books about black people - that was my first insight into all of that. I feel like because we have Malorie Blackman it's a bit like having Naomi Campbell as one the 90s supermodels - everyone knows who she is and people seem to think that's enough.”
Abiola’s books have been well received
When asked about what her books were about, Abiola said; “As a black writer and reader, I don’t want to keep reading about the struggles of black people. I want to read about everyday topics, like romance, not just race. I grew up watching a lot of X Men and wrestling, and I wanted to read and write books that were like the shows I liked to watch.”
Abiola continued by saying; “One of my uni lecturers, an ex-editor from New York, suggested that I make my main character black - she was white at first. The reason I initially made her white was because there was a Borders bookshop near my uni and there was a section for black writers, and I didn’t like that because I didn’t want to be kept in that section. I wanted it to be with the children’s books.”
It is always good to see success stories from the local area, and hopefully writers, both young and old, from Stoke Newington will realise there is no barrier to them achieving success in this field if they want to achieve something. Of course, you might be more of a reader than a writer, and if that is the case, it is good to know there is someone doing well in an area you love.
There is a lot to like about Stoke Newington, and the fact that this is a place packed with creative types is a great sign for the local area. There is a buzz and energy associated with creative output, and this is just one of the many things people like to see in a local area.
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