Celebrating the UKYA Book Blogging Community.

Interview with UKYABA Champion of Diversity 2018 Luna’s Little Library!

We’re kicking off a month-long celebration of the #UKYA and #UKMG blogging and vlogging and online book community ahead of the UKYA Blogger and Vlogger Awards at YALC on July 26th! Each day a different blogger/vlogger/bookstagrammer will be posting on a bookish theme so look out for all of those things – we’ll be boosting on Twitter via @UKYABA and @YAShotmediateam and on Instragram via @YA.Shot.

To launch the celebration, here is YAShot Deputy Director and 2018 Champion of Diversity Luna’s Little Library talking about blogging and books and the UKYA community! Thanks to our brilliant first-year interns for arranging this with second-year mentor Charlotte Wilson! And now over to Luna…


Is this your photo? We’d love to credit you if so!

Do you have any stand-out moments or favourite memories from last year’s UKYA Blogger Awards?

Getting up on stage to make my speech. I was utterly terrified, but I felt that the words I had to say were more important than my anxiety about saying them. There is the idea of preparing something vs. the actual moment when you realise that you can say them is a big chasm to step over. I fumbled my way through but those words. I still have the speech saved on my phone and I wish I could have been calm and collected that night to say:

“Diverse stories make our reading so much richer. Diverse voices challenge us think about who we are. Who we want to be. It’s important for all of us to remember that we are unique. That we all bring our own experiences and background to the table. That my world may not necessarily be the same as your world. That we all deserve to be seen and heard and represented.

As a community we should encourage and support inclusiveness too. We should be receptive to constructive feedback. Instead of ranking ourselves, let’s boost each other and lift up each other’s voices. Let’s recognise each other and our individual journeys. Let’s champion each other to ensure that our stories, all our stories, get told.”

I am proud I got up on stage to speak but everything that day was just so much that honestly, I didn’t really appreciate what had happened until a lot later.


The calibre of the bloggers and vloggers longlisted for each category was absolutely outstanding. How did it feel to win and has it changed anything for you?

It was thrilling to win. And I do believe winning UKYABA has the possibility to support and create new opportunities for bloggers. Unfortunately, my health declined rapidly a little while after the awards and my blog suffered because of this.


UKYABA is about celebrating the UKYA Book Blogging community as a whole. Did the Awards help you to discover new blogs and/or form any new friendships in the book-blogging community?

When the nominees where announced I spend an evening following everyone on twitter. From there I had a whole new catalogue of book blogs to explore.


How do the Awards relate to bigger discussions in the blogging community?

The awards are about celebrating UKYA book bloggers. It’s about thanking us for all the work we put in to support book community (incl. authors, publishers, etc.) They have evolved from the UKYA Blogger Awards started by author Andy Robb in 2015, which were combined with the UKYA Book Blogger Awards, designed by Faye Rogers (Daydreamer’s Thoughts) in 2015, then hosted by me (Luna’s Little Library) in 2016. Each year these awards have listened to feedback from the book blogging community and grown. I believe that the awards are a good reminder of how much work we do. The industry appreciation is certainly a positive thing and it’s also good that we as bloggers can celebrate each other.


Finally, do you have any advice or tips for nominees attending the ceremony this year?

Do prepare something to say. If you end up winning, then getting up to speak in front of people is scary but it is also an opportunity to say something. (It’s not mandatory so you don’t have to do this.) If you don’t win those words can still be said, on your blog or social media. You will have thought about those words, what they mean to you and to those you want to communicate to. There is something empowering about that.

The awards are about celebrating the blogging community and what we as bloggers do. Regardless of being nominated or winning – you as a blogger matter.



How long have you been blogging about books and what prompted you to start your blog? Is there a specific genre or type of book that you focus on?

I am now in my seventh year. Which I just worked out to answer this question and oh wow – how did that happen?! No seriously how did that happen? Luna’s Little Library is a blog that has picture books, comics, MG, YA and adult. I do focus on promoting diversity in books and my Goodreads WNDB/OwnVoices Bookshelf has 500+ books and counting. If you want to have a look just click on this link HERE.


Do you have a favourite type of blog post to write? Could you share with us what goes into these posts and why they’re your favourite?

Due to health reasons this has changed over the last year. With support and a lot of clever apps the blog has evolved to auto- & cross-post across multiple social media platforms to enable Luna’s Little Library to continue to promote books and authors. As such I think “favourite” is still something to be decided on.


What is one of the hardest things about running a book blog that most people who read them might not be aware of?

The emotional attachment as well as the work (time!) they take. Having to overhaul and rethink how Luna’s Little Library could exist given my current circumstances was super hard. It meant letting go of a lot of things and stepping back.


Could you share a favourite memory of something you got to do or participate in because of your blog?

I am the Deputy Director of YAShot because of my blog. That is rewarding in ways I can’t express in words, from the mentoring and working with Interns to helping with YAShot Day 2018.


Is there one important tip you would give someone who is thinking about starting their own book blog?

Don’t assume you need to have it all sorted from the start. Your blog will evolve and change and that’s ok. Search out advice but remember that there is no right or wrong way – there is only your way. But it is polite to not tag authors on bad reviews – ‘cause that’s just mean.


Thank you so much for participating and helping us celebrate bloggers and vloggers as we work towards the UKYABA2019!




The UKYABA 2019 are hosted by YALC!

The UKYA Blogger & Vlogger Awards are back and we’re over the moon that in 2019 our brand-new host is the ever-amazing YALC – it’s the perfect partnership!Square

The Awards ceremony will be part of the YALC programme for Friday 26th July so make sure you’re there to join us in celebrating the UKYA community – and especially our fantastic bloggers and vloggers.

The UKYABA are an amalgamation of the UKYA Blogger Awards, which were originally started by author Andy Robb in 2015 and hosted in 2016 by YAShot, plus the UKYA Book Blogger Awards, designed by blogger Faye Rogers (Daydreamer’s Thoughts) in 2015, then hosted by Luna’s Little Library in 2016. YAShot ran and hosted the first combined Award in 2018 and we’ll be running things again in 2019 – but this time in partnership with YALC, our amazing new host!

The UKYABA are all about celebrating UKYA book bloggers and vloggers. Our WALL OF WONDERFUL allows anyone to write a note of appreciation to individual bloggers and vloggers – or the community as a whole! We’ll also have a whole series of interviews, posts and competitions to enjoy in the run-up to YALC and our Awards ceremony, where we hope you’ll join us to say thank you to all the hard-working bloggers and vloggers who make the UKYA community so brilliant.

The categories for the UKYABA 2019 are

Best Newcomer: Who is an exciting new blogger/vlogger on the scene for less than two years but already one to watch?

Best Established: Who has been blogging/vlogging for more than 2 years and continues to deliver exciting quality content?

Champion of Diversity: Who actively and regularly promotes diverse books and authors?

Most Inspirational: Which blogger/vlogger makes you want to want to read more, volunteer for bookish purposes, try books you’d never otherwise read, get writing yourself or be more involved in the bookish community?

People’s Choice for Author Interactions: Which author provides the best interactions with YA readers through any and all digital channels (e.g. websites, blogs, vlogs, social media), going the extra mile with fans?

Publishers Choice: Nominated and voted for by publishers only, which blogger/vlogger offers the best support to authors and books, delivers professional content, and goes the extra mile for the bookish community?

Best Review: This award will recognise the quality and originality of a bookish review or other bookish post.

This year each Award will have its own procedure for how nominations will be turned into a longlist, then shortlist, then the winner chosen. Most will involve a voting stage, but there will also be a panel of judges who will select the shortlist for some Awards and the winner for others. This is ensures there are different routes to success so that anyone and everyone with a brilliant blog or vlog has a chance of winning at least one of the Awards! See the Categories page for more info on the criteria for each Award, and the Rules page for who is eligible to nominate and vote, who is eligible to be nominated, how it all works, and what parameters will apply. We aim to be transparent throughout as part of our commitment to honesty, fairness and integrity in the Awards.

We hope you’ll join us in nominating your favourite bloggers and vloggers for the Awards to celebrate all their hard-work!


The #UKYABA badges are here!

Please find below jpegs that you can download and use on your blog and/or social media profiles.

There are individual ones for each shortlist category and we also made one for the longlist. We hope you like them and that we see as many UK Book Bloggers as possible on the 14 April 2018 to help us celebrate the awards. 🙂

You are all amazing!



Thoughts on UKYA and the Blogging Community from Alexia Casale

The UKYA community is All Good Things. The people are lovely: kind, generous, open-minded, clever, interesting and appreciative. Everyone is welcome.

The attitude to ambition says it all: people work hard to achieve things, but have no time for doing others down or climbing over them. UKYA is about achieving by trying your best and being rewarded for it. It’s about competitiveness that is turned inwards to effort, to developing skills, to being as good as possible. And there’s an understanding that you can be generous and kind to others without diminishing your own fortunes. UKYA is about the fact that if we support each other in doing our best, not only can we all achieve a lot, but we can be happy doing it: we can be surrounded by lovely people and we can be lovely back. Coming from a background in the theatre and academia, it is such a breath of fresh air. Decency and niceness, rather than slyness, is what gets rewarded.

What makes UKYA so different? I think it’s the fact that bloggers have crafted the community, then invited everyone else in. They set up the ‘rules’ and created a space in which these rules are self-reinforcing. We don’t generally need to police each other. We can all see that to belong – to deserve to belong – we’ve got to behave in kind. Kind being the operative word.

Bloggers do what they do out of love and passion. Money isn’t a factor (in fact, blogging tends to be quite an expensive business). Recognition is nice and very much appreciated, but mostly what’s desired is enough recognition to be invited to participate in extra book-world activities. It’s about doing bookish things, not be lauded for them per se.

The fact that blogs are based online helps to reinforce the fact that what you look like and where you come from doesn’t matter. It’s all about who you are as a complicated, unique person: what you produce and offer to others, and how you treat people. The fact that it all spills over into offline activities says everything else that could be said: the bloggers who are the foundation of UKYA are as lovely offline as they are online. It’s not show or pretend or only possible from a position of anonymity.

These are the principles that everyone operates by in UKYA. There’s an integrity to do people treat each other: integrity in understanding how to be kind and passionate at the same time; how to be welcoming and inclusive, while still being competitive and ambitious in positive ways.

And I love being a part of that. I am so grateful that the bloggers who have create UKYA aren’t just welcoming and open-minded about other bloggers, but everyone: authors, publicists, editors, illustrators and anyone who wants to be part of this community. It really is an ‘everyone welcome’ world. The only qualifications needed are a commitment to being good to others and a love of books (though an equal passion for caffeine, chocolate and cake are much appreciated).

So thank you. Thank you for creating this world and inviting me in. Thank you for buying my books and reviewing them and talking about them… but equally, thank you for letting me talk to you about other people’s books, for debating what literature is and what it can be, for discussing politics and history and all sorts of social issues, for talking cosplay and film and anime and storytelling in all forms. Thank you for making UKYA a community I feel proud and honoured to be part of: where I can count on people to be kind to me and others. Where I don’t have to play games or politics (or, rather, fail to fit in because I can’t, won’t and don’t do this).

From YALC and other festivals to book launches, and from #ukyachat and #ukyaquiz to quizzes and polls and posts, there’s something for everyone. There is so much knowledge and excitement and wonder in our world because of what our bloggers have created. Thank you for letting the rest of us play in the sandpit.

Thank you for being a huge support in our careers, not just in terms of publicising our books but giving us a support system through the ups and downs and loneliness of writing.

Thank you for all the work and time and passion you put in to create this amazing community across both the web and ‘real space’.

But most of all, thank you for the principles and integrity that you brought to founding UKYA so that it’s a truly good place to be. Above all, I love that fact that the community you built values kindness even above books.

Alexia Casale

The Importance of UKYA Bloggers by Malorie Blackman

“We are very lucky in the UK Young Adult book world to have so many committed and enthusiastic readers of YA books, who are willing to share their passion and opinions of the books they read in their various blogs. Blogging has firmly established itself as a vital tool in spreading the word about the wealth of YA books available to our teens and older readers. How fantastic that the YA bloggers dedication and commitment is now being formally recognised.”

Malorie Blackman