Hey! My name is Abiola Bello or sometimes known as 'A. Bello' for some of my books. I'm a middle-grade and YA author. I'm Nigerian and was born and raised in London, Stoke Newington (Hackney), North London to be exact. I wrote my first novel at aged 8, where I fought monsters and dragons daily and was first published at aged 12 for a poem I wrote in school called 'Fireworks.'
I 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!). I grew up on DragonBall Z, X-Men comics and the Attitude Era of WWE (back then it was WWF) and wanted to read books like that but couldn't find one, so I wrote one. I'm really passionate about writing books that are diverse and inclusive of all people. I believe everyone should be able to see themselves in books.
My English teacher told me I should be an author back when I was secondary school after she read a short story I wrote. I remember asking, 'Is this a real job?'
My book journey has been a rollercoaster. I was studying Creative Writing at uni and realised they were not giving me all of the tools to really make it in this industry. l left my third year to figure out this publishing world for myself and I can honestly say 90% off publishing I learnt myself.
It didn't stop me though. I pushed that book so hard, started up a diverse publishing house and am represented by the amazing Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency
My Emily Knight series was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2019, finalist for The People's Book Prize 2019 and won London's Big Read 2019. It has been featured in Cosmopolitan and Shout Magazine.
The Very Merry Murder Club, published by Farshore is a number 1 bestseller and a Waterstone's Children's Book of the Month.
Then on September 28th 2021, Simon & Schuster fell in love with my rom-come Love In Winter Wonderland! I got a 6 figure deal for 3 books. What a dream! The years of hard work had paid off. My debut YA book Love In Winter Wonderland was featured on an Amazon billboard in Leicester Square as part of their Black History Month Campaign, featured in the Guardian Children’s and Teens Best New Novel and an Amazon Number 1 bestseller.
On 26th March 2018, I was announced as the winner of the Trailblazer Award 2018 which is ran by The London Book Fair. I'm the first black person to win! I also was one of the Society of Young Publishers mentors for three years. I'm on the advisory group for World Book Day UK and am now chairing lots of great book events for The London Book Fair, Waterstones and the National Literary Trust to name a few.
If you want to book me for an event do get in touch! I live in London and willing to travel. For schools I offer a range of things from readings to creative sessions.
'Abiola had 200 children absorbed in her warrior world and author journey. They loved her and Emily Knight'
Kate Manning, Children's Director of The Stoke Newington Literary Festival
Outstanding visit. A perfect match for our diverse school. An inspiring talk and reading and lively, engaging workshops. The whole school is still buzzing about the visit. A huge thank you to Abiola, she has inspired the next generation of young authors.
Event took place on 26 April. The talk was well planned and engaged the students. I will definitely recommend Abiola to my local network of school librarians.