Non-fiction book of the month: November


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Our November non-fiction book of the month is Hollie McNish's latest anthology of poetry and essays - Nobody Told Me. The poems are about pregnancy and parenthood and Hollie shared one, Mushy Mummy Baby Brain, with us in an exclusive video.



It's likely that you've already seen the viral video of Hollie reading her poem Embarrassed. This brilliant and unerring account of breastfeeding in public provoked much comment and feelings of strong recognition from Mumsnetters:

"It made me cry. I fed my 19-month-old son on a 'family room' toilet floor in a shopping centre last week. He looks older as he has lots of hair, and we've moved to a new area - I've lost my confidence to feed in public now and sometimes he just won't wait."

"I love this. I keep watching it at 4am when feeling tired and sore. My baby is 20 days old and I did my first al fresco feed in the park today." 

Nobody Told Me is a collection of stories and poems taken from the diaries that Hollie kept from the moment she discovered she was pregnant until her daughter was three. Her diaries are funny, sad and relatable. She zooms in on the intricate details which baffle and transform the lives of new parents, while simultaneously raising important questions about how pregnant and new mums are treated in modern day Britain.


What the critics said:

"The things no one tells you before you have a baby are numerous - Hollie McNish turns them into epic poems about the transformation of your body and Mr Whippy vans. You'll learn a lot." - Grazia

"The world needs this book. It should be required reading for anyone thinking of having a baby, or even anyone who knows someone who is thinking of having a baby" - The Scotsman

"Hollie's poems are deep and delicate. They move across you in a way that's so gentle you almost don't realise how they've gone straight for the gut till you're thinking of them, by accident, days later. Her poetry is welcoming, galvanising and beautiful." - Kate Tempest




About the author:

Hollie McNish started writing poetry when she was seven. After university she moved to London to study for a Masters and finally began performing at a poetry cafe in Covent Garden. She is an Arts Foundation Fellow in Spoken Word and is based between London, Cambridge and Glasgow. She has two poetry collections – Cherry Pie and Papers - and three poetry albums, Touch, Push Kick and Versus. Recently, her poetry has been featured on Nationwide's 'Voices' campaign, and her poem Embarrassed has garnered nearly 10 million views on YouTube.

Book giveaway:

We have 50 copies of Nobody Told Me to give away to Mumsnetters. To apply for your copy, fill in the form below. This giveaway ends on Tuesday 15 November.

Please share your thoughts about the book on our discussion thread, where you can also leave questions for Hollie McNish. 

This month we're inviting you to post up your own poetry and reflections on parenthood on the discussion thread. At the beginning of December, Hollie will select her favourite two passages from the thread and the writers will each receive a signed copy of the book plus a selection of fiction/non-fiction and children's books worth over £50 - all just ahead of Christmas.

All questions for Hollie and poems/prose should be posted on the thread before midday on Wednesday 7 December. You don't have to win a copy to take part in the discussion - everyone is welcome to join. If you're not lucky enough to bag one, you can always buy a copy.



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Last updated: 5 months ago