Holly Smale

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Holly Smale
Holly Smale Author.jpg
BornHolly Miranda Smale
(1981-12-07) 7 December 1981 (age 41)
England, UK
EducationEnglish literature
Alma materUniversity of Bristol
GenreYoung-adult novels
Notable worksGeek Girl series
Notable awardsWaterstones Children's Book Prize 2014
Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013

Holly Miranda Smale[1] (born 7 December 1981) is a British writer. She wrote the Geek Girl series. The first book in the series won the 2014 Waterstones Children's Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013. The final book, Forever Geek, was published by HarperCollins in March 2017.

Personal life[edit]

Holly Miranda Smale was born on 7 December 1981 in Hertfordshire, England. From an early age she loved reading and writing, and has stated that her childhood experiences of being bullied have influenced the subjects she chooses to write about. At the age of 15, Smale was recruited by a London modelling agency and became a fashion model. She modelled for two years but has stated in interviews that she did not enjoy it.[2][3][1]

Smale studied at the University of Bristol, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Master of Arts in Shakespeare studies. She has held various jobs, including teaching English in Japan, and has travelled extensively.[2][3][1]

Smale was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum at the age of 39[4] and subsequently with developmental coordination disorder.[5] She has also mentioned having synesthesia, which in her case involves processing emotions as colours,[6] dyscalculia, hyperlexia, coeliac disease and endometriosis.[7] She identifies as a feminist.[8]

Geek Girl series[edit]

Originally meant to be a trilogy, the Geek Girl series consists of six books.[9] The humorous fiction follows the life of Harriet Manners, a nerdy 15-year-old girl who tries out modelling to "reinvent herself". Following her own diagnoses of autism and dyspraxia after the series concluded, Smale has retroactively described Harriet as having both conditions as well.[10][11]

The first book in the series, Geek Girl, received favourable reviews and was the Number 1 debut teen fiction book of 2013 in the UK. It won the 2014 Waterstones' Children's Book Prize in the young adult category.[12][13] It also received the 2014 Leeds Book Award in the ages 11–14 category.[14] and was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013,[15] the Queen of Teen award 2014 and the Branford Boase Award 2014.

  • 2013 Geek Girl
  • 2013 Model Misfit
  • 2014 Picture Perfect
  • 2015 All That Glitters
  • 2016 Head Over Heels
  • 2017 Forever Geek

For World Book Day (UK and Ireland) 2015, Smale also wrote an extra spin-off book titled Geek Drama set between Model Misfit and Picture Perfect. Also, a Christmas special not part of the main series titled All Wrapped Up was published in 2015, and a summer special titled Sunny Side Up was published in 2016.

The Valentines[edit]

In February 2019 Smale published Happy Girl Lucky, the first in a new series called The Valentines, about three sisters and a brother.[16]


  1. ^ a b c Smale, Holly. "About TWG". The Write Girl. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Benfield Reading Activists; Smale, Holly (18 June 2014). "Holly Smale: I think people are starting to embrace what being 'a geek' actually means". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Chilton, Martin (5 June 2014). "Geek Girl was a cathartic book to write, says Holly Smale". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  4. ^ Smale, Holly (20 May 2021). "Geek Girl author Holly Smale on being diagnosed with autism – at 39". The Times. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  5. ^ Smale, Holly [@HolSmale] (29 June 2021). "Just got my results through! I'm officially dyspraxic. Which comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever met me, but may stop me beating myself up for… beating myself up. ❤" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ Smale, Holly [@HolSmale] (6 June 2021). "Finally, the way we process emotions can vary. I have synaesthesia, so I often read emotions as colours. Trying to work out what "dark purple" means can take time. In short, "autistics can't read emotions" is overly simplistic and unhelpful. We can. Just not like you" (Tweet). Retrieved 6 June 2021 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Smale, Holly [@HolSmale] (29 August 2021). "Let's talk about these searched for co-morbidities for a hot sec. I am autistic. I also am/have: dyspraxia, synesthesia, dyscalculia, hyperlexia, coeliac disease, endometriosis, possible EDS, "holes in my veins" (IDEK what that means) and a strong likelihood of cancer. /1" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 August 2021 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ EllaClaire (3 March 2015). "Holly Smale: It's dangerous to think that because feminism is familiar it means we've 'done it'". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Geek Girl Series by Holly Smale". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  10. ^ "'I've spent four decades not knowing who I am.'". BBC. 27 May 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  11. ^ Smale, Holly [@HolSmale] (29 June 2021). "Oh! And that means Harriet Manners is dyspraxic too. Not just "a cute clumsy girl", as one newspaper dismissively put it. 💜" (Tweet). Retrieved 5 July 2021 – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014 winners announced". Waterstones blog (waterstones.com/blog). 3 April 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014". Waterstones (waterstones.com). Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  14. ^ "2014 Leeds Book Awards". Yorkshire Evening Post. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  15. ^ Chilton, Martin (24 October 2013). "Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 shortlist". Retrieved 10 October 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  16. ^ Onwuemezi, Natasha. "'Major' new Holly Smale series to HarperCollins". Harper Collins. Retrieved 20 February 2019.