Schoolgirl Lily revealed as secret book author Hilda Poppitt

Lily Say, a pupil at Trinity Catholic High School, wrote a book when she was in Year 5

Lily Say, a pupil at Trinity Catholic High School, wrote a book when she was in Year 5 - Credit: Archant

Keeping secrets is difficult enough for most people but imagine you had published a book and you could not tell even your best friend about it.

For high school student Lily Say, 17, this was her reality for two years but she has finally confessed her secret identity - Hilda Poppitt - after her children’s book was shortlisted for an award.

Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice started out as a homework project when she was in Year 5. Her mum thought it was so good she sent it to a publisher.

Hilda Poppitt

The story is now a finalist for the People’s Book Awards.

Lily said: “I just don’t really believe it, it’s my Year 5 homework. It made me nervous when it got published but when I saw it, it was amazing.

“It didn’t feel like it was mine, it looked like a real book that you would buy in a book shop.”

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It was the publisher’s idea for her to write under a different name as she was about to start her A-levels and they did not want her to be under any additional pressure.

“The publisher had an aunt called Hilda and they were eating Poppets sweets at the time and Hilda Poppitt was born,” Lily said.

“I liked it, it sounds like a little old lady.”

Lily, who is from Woodford Green and attends Trinity Catholic High School in Mornington Road, Woodford Green, said she has always had a vivid imagination.

“I have always made up stories for my little sisters when they are going to bed and read books to them,” she added.

“I have got quite a big imagination and it sort of goes off on a tangent and then I tell my sisters when I get back.”

The book costs £4.99.

n Voting is now open to decide the winner of the award and you can vote online at