A Year in Review: 2016

A Year in Review 2016

There was a lot to be sad about and to mourn over in 2016. We lost many brilliant sparks and the political culmination of Brexit and the Presidential Election this year has left us wan with disappointment. So, instead of focusing on all the ways that 2016 was a collective disappointment, I want to take one last look back over the small victories and happenings in my personal life that made 2016 enjoyable!

Things Achieved/ Happened in 2016

  1. Got a job in London
  2. Got first job in Publishing
  3. Moved to London
  4. Started renting a flat
  5. Moved in with boyfriend
  6. Spent 3 weeks in Nigeria
  7. Left the continent for the first time
  8. Took part in a traditional Nigerian wedding
  9. Attended London Book Fair
  10. Started listening to books on Audible regularly
  11. Booked tickets to spend 2 weeks in Florida with boyfriend and friends
  12. Took part in World Book Night for the 3rd year
  13. Attended my first book blogging event with Books with Bite
  14. Longlisted for the UKYA Book Blogger Awards
  15. Took part in the #TommyVCancer Tour
  16. Attended my first London book launch – Rig by Jon Wallace
  17. Celebrated 4 years of blogging with my biggest giveaway ever
  18. Started bullet journaling
  19. Held a Chameleon
  20. Saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time on stage
  21. Attended the launch of The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich
  22. Attended YALC
  23. Attended the midnight launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  24. Interviewed by the BBC at said launch and was subsequently on the TV!
  25. Attended my first interview for an amazing job
  26. Organised 30 days of author guest posts in August
  27. Read my book of the year – Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi
  28. Attended my second interview for an amazing job
  29. Accepted a job as Communications Executive at John Murray Press
  30. Rejoined the gym
  31. Hosted my first panel with the amazing Patrice Lawrence, Kathryn Evans, Sue Wallman, Olivia Levez and Eugene Lambert
  32. Attended my friend book launch (read Affliction by Kasim)
  33. Started my new job at Hachette UK
  34. Failed NaNoWriMo for the first time
  35. Decided to make health and wellbeing a priority for 2017
  36. Spent New Year’s Eve on Westminster bridge with my parents and boyfriend, bringing in the new year with London fireworks!


Things I can’t quite put a proper date to:

  • Forming amazing friendships with the following fabulous people: Stevie Finegan, Grace Latter, Chris Moore, Kasim and many more in the form of work colleagues!
  • The moment I properly realised that I was working in the industry I had set out to do before starting my degree
  • Starting to feel at home in London
  • Becoming one of those people who has shoes specifically for commuting
  • Tripled my blog views in contrast to 2015
  • Posted 83 times on Howling Reviews
  • Doubled my social following and invested time in my blog
  • Read 46 books (13,876 pages)


Top 10 books of 2016:

This year I tried to be a little more experimental with the genre of books I read, branching out further than YA fiction. Looking back, even though I’ve reached a wider spread of genres in 2016, it was still very UK and US centric. In 2017 I’d like to a wider spread of authors from across the globe.

  • What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
  • Nod by Adrian Barnes
  • In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Wass
  • Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
  • Nina is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi
  • The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes
  • 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough
  • Affliction by Kasim
  • Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

I’m truly excited for the possibilities 2017 has. I’m loving my London life!

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World Book Night and Shakespeare Saturday

World Book Night and Shakespeare Saturday

This weekend I was lucky enough to see some brilliant authors talk on a panel about their experiences with reading. World Book Night has for the past few years been somewhat of a detached experience for me, I collected my books and gave them out but never really had the chance to engage in other people’s thoughts on the giving of books or reading as a whole. Being in London has given me the chance to start exploring a communal view to reading and writing.

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My Favourite Bookshop!

So everyone!

I’ve never actually spoken about this before, but I wanted to introduce you to this little gem I like to call my book haven. Now this is technically my favourite second-hand book shop so all of these books have already seen at least one cycle of love and attention.

Now for those who don’t know I like to collect traditionally leather bound copies of texts, particularly poetry. However, I don’t have the funds (yet) to stock myself up with first editions of copies so I tend to hunt these copies down in second-hand bookshops!

Of all the ones I’ve been to, the one that consistently provides good quality and well loved editions of books and poetry for reasonable prices has always been the Oxfam Bookshop in Headingley, Leeds.
It’s not in the city centre, about a 40 minute walk but as a uni student it’s also a really good place to find copies of books that other students have left behind, unwanted after finishing their course.

I’ve always had a great experience there and more often than not there are also students working the desk and they’re happy to help you if you want to i
nquire or if you want to chat about the books you both enjoy!

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A Community of Writers

Howling Reviews Emma PetfieldLast weekend I experienced something very surreal for me. I never thought at the age of nineteen I would be attending The Brit Writer’s Awards 2012. I would like to start this blog by saying thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of the event because I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I feel so much gratitude to those that invited me and worked to make the event a success.
I was lucky enough to be granted a behind the scenes look at the event arriving slightly earlier than other guests. I filmed some of the preparation from sound checks to last minute dance practices. It was very fun to see everyone rushing around making sure all the last minute details were fixed and, after a slight reception panic, I found myself meeting all of the guests in turn.
This was a pleasant way to start the event because it eased my nerves and everyone was very lovely to meet.
After this, we were all lead into the dining area and I loved the table settings they were simple with a three piece candle set in the centre that reminded my fondly of Lumière from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Everything was pristine and beautifully set out. I was actually sat with Maia Walczak another blogger from this site and you can see her account of the night here.
The event began and people from all ages, cultures and continents joined together in celebrating the craft of writing and what it means to write. The development of writers is key and I discovered just how enabling Brit Writers are as a company but also as a community. Everyone was supportive of the winners. I was just upset that I couldn’t hearany of their work. I’m sure i twill be available at some point.
Winners were presented with opportunities as well as recognition, but in my eyes all of the finalists were winners.
This event was mostly a chance for me to connect with other writers and network because it was the first exposure I’ve had to writing as a profession rather than a hobby. I must say that I was thrilled with the diversity of people I had the opportunity to speak to and I look forward to speaking to again.
Writers are often portrayed as solitary souls in previous centuries and I think that writing has become a tighter community in the past few decades. Especially with the innovation of the internet enabling writers to communicate easily across countries.
I also attended my first creative writing workshop today. I was so nervous because I had never had my writing critiqued in front of strangers before. It’s different when you read a comment on a screen, but I’m so glad I did. The nausea subsided when people started discussing my work in a constructive way and I feel that I came away from the workshop feeling confident and inspired to edit and review my work.
That is something that Brit Writers has created for me. A community.


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Many Things


So things have been pretty hectic the past few weeks. I’m trying to get on top of a lot of things and because I’m working full time, I’m finding that I don’t really want to do much when I get home on a night-time. I also try and occupy my weekends by visiting people because I know when University kicks off again, I won’t have as much free time to do so.

My editing process is going slower that I thought, I have about 33 pages edited so far out of 100 already written. I will be happy though if I can finish editing before I go back and then begin the new academic year by continuing to write.

I’m keeping up pretty well with vlogging at the moment. I have a fair few ideas I want to try out so I’m looking forward to putting them into action! I’m trying to post about 2 videos a week currently which is going well so far. When I go back to Uni, I might have to decrease the number to 1 but I’m waiting to see how busy I am!

NaNoWriMo will soon be coming around (I know what you’re thinking it’s still 3 months away, but I’m debating with my time currently) so I have started to write down a couple of ideas, but I don’t want to get too excited incase I don’t have the time. I may consider doing the camp next year around June time though, if I can’t do it this year.

Some of my friends are saying goodbye to a close friend, David Boulton, I would just like to say that we may not have known each other very well but he will be dearly missed by all his friends and family. My heart goes out to all those close to him.

Kyra x

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