A few days ago, I found myself making the longlist for the UKYA Blogger Awards. Set up in recognition of the support, publicity and appreciation given to authors and publishers by the book-blogging community, it came as a surprise to be included in this list under four of the ten categories. As someone who has only been blogging for a year, to be listed in the same categories as so many established bloggers whom I admire was incredibly reassuring.
Now that the shortlist has been announced and voting has begun, I felt that I needed to write a post about it. Firstly, to thank the authors, publishers and bloggers who nominated me. I have no idea who you are but thank you for your kindness. And secondly, to talk about what being nominated under each of the categories means – especially the one category that I’m most honoured to be included in and shortlisted for.
CHAMPION OF SOCIAL MEDIA
(INDUSTRY ONLY – VOTED FOR BY PUBLISHERS & AUTHORS) Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, be it on one or all of these, this blogger excels at sharing what book blogging is about.
To find myself on the longlist for this category was probably the most surprising because the only platform I really use is Twitter. I feel like I’m the anomaly here, even though the description states that one platform is enough to be considered. If there’s ever an award for Champion Of Twitter though, I’m already writing my acceptance speech. At the moment, I am running four accounts simultaneously – three of which are book related – and I don’t know how I do it.
BEST CONTENT AND DESIGN
(INDUSTRY & BLOGGER – COMBINATION VOTE) Book Blogs come in all kinds of colours and designs. This award is about recognising that creativity, as well as how easy it is to find content or manoeuvre on the blog. Plus the information on the blog: what about those book reviews? This category is for design, tech skills and writing!
Yet another one that took me by surprise! To be recognised for best content is incredibly reassuring. As an author, the constant self-doubt naturally bleeds into all of my writing so it’s nice to know PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE WHAT I WRITE EVEN THOUGH I SOMETIMES DON’T? My initial thought at best design was literally ‘which design?’ because I’m pretty sure I’ve changed it like twice since the nominations and I’m pretty sure I’ll change it again.
(BLOGGER ONLY VOTE) Book bloggers who makes you feel happy about being part of the book blogging community.
This was just heart-warming and all I can really say is thank you for nominating me. Thank you for reading my blog and my tweets and showing your support through following, liking and commenting on my posts. For that reason, you are also deserving of this award. Ultimately, every book blogger out there is a marvellous blogger because this community wouldn’t exist without them.
CHAMPION OF DIVERSITY
(INDUSTRY ONLY – VOTED FOR BY PUBLISHERS & AUTHORS) Bloggers who actively champion diverse & #ownvoices books/authors/characters. This blogger makes a significant effort to support diverse stories.
First of all, I am just so happy to see an award that not only recognises the importance of diverse books but also the importance of promoting these narratives. I could not be more honoured to be included in the longlist for this category with so many bloggers I admire, as well as making the shortlist with Virginie @ Chouett and Luna @ Luna’s Little Library.
As a Muslim reader, I have been actively championing Muslim voices and narratives, partly in response to the #MuslimShelfSpace initiative at the beginning of 2017. I just want to use this space right now to highlight some other initiatives that are doing incredible work in alternative areas of the diversity spectrum.
Firstly, Gay YA is a blog, launched back in 2011, that is dedicated to everything LGBTQIA+ in YA whilst Disability in Kidlit, started in 2013, is dedicated to discussing disability in MG and YA fiction. More recently, Lit CelebrAsian was formed to uplift Asian voices in literature and Mental Health Book Bingo is a readathon event with emphasis on reading books about mental health. Championing diverse books is, of course, not limited to any of these initiatives. But if you’re looking to read more inclusively then it’s a good place to start, with organisations such as We Need Diverse Books encompassing all aspects of diversity in their work.
The winners of the UKYA Blogger Awards will be announced at an event during YA Shot on April 14 which I sadly can’t make it to. But I’m honestly just so happy to have even been nominated. Thank you once again to the authors, publishers and bloggers who voted and the UKYABA team for hosting these awards in the first place!