Please Don’t Hug Me

Kerr_PleaseDontHugMe_4 copy‘The most stressful interactions for me are ones like this, where the person’s face says one thing but their words say another. Which one am I supposed to believe? Faces seem to be more truthful, but people always act as though their words are the only things that matter.’

ERIN is looking forward to Schoolies, at least she thinks she is. But her plans are going awry. She’s lost her job at Surf Zone after an incident that clearly was not her fault, and now she’s not on track to have saved enough money. Her licence test went badly, which was also not her fault: she followed the instructor’s directions perfectly. And she’s missing her brother, Rudy, who left almost a year ago. But now that she’s writing letters to him, some things are beginning to make sense.

Kay Kerr’s Please Don’t Hug Me depicts life on the cusp of adulthood—and on the autism spectrum—and the complexities of finding out and accepting who you are and what’s important to you.

Order from Booktopia or your local bookshop.


I was on ABC’s The Drum and later spoke with Elly Duncan for a deeper dive into the need for diverse autism representation in books and pop culture.

I spoke to Katherine Collette on my favourite podcast (!!) The First Time Podcastabout Own Voices, pandemics, and the joys of waiting.

Please Don’t Hug Me was the May pick for Kill Your Darling’s First Book Club. There is a review from Ellen Cregan and we had a great chat for the KYD podcast. I also did a Shelf Reflection interview.

Anna Whateley interviewed me for the Sydney Writers’ Festival Podcast series.

I did an interview with Books + Publishing where we talked about what it was like getting an autism diagnosis, epistolary novels, feeling ‘seen’ and vulnerability. B+P also featured a review by Charlotte Guest.

I wrote a post for the Readings blog, where I highlighted three things I’ve learned from getting an autism diagnosis.

I spoke to Rhianna Patrick at ABC Radio about the process of writing the book.

I had an in-conversation event with Nina Kenwood at Oz Authors Online that can be viewed on YouTube.

I did Ten Terrifying Questions with Booktopia, in which I talked about autism, fairies, my emo phase, crap pay in journalism, Hannah Gadsby, #LoveOzYA and my advice for aspiring writers.

Please Don’t Hug Me was a Staff Favourite pick for April with Booktopia.

I spoke to Andrew Pople who hosts Final Draft on 2ser about writing, representation and our love of books.

I spoke to The Bookish Bex as part of the Autistic Pride Readathon about autistic rep—the good and not so good.

Autistic writer Clem Bastow and I exchanged letters (well, emails) as a little nod to ‘Please Don’t Hug Me’ for Amaze.


Romancing the Stars Sunshine Coast: Romancing the Stars Online is a chance to discover what books our local and other guest authors and illustrators have been creating for children and young adults in the past year. Each creator will give a short introduction to their latest publication. You have a chance to get inside information about the creation of the books and make contact with potential presenters for your school or library.

Date: Thursday 20 August, 2020
Venue: ZOOM online
Time: 6:45 – 8:30pm
Cost: Free, but donations welcome and are tax deductible
RSVP: by 3:45 pm, Thursday 20 August

New Voices in YA with Avid Reader: Join ABC Radio’s Rhianna Patrick as she talks to three newcomers to the Australian YA scene, Rawah Arja, Lisa Fuller and Kay Kerr. Hear about their journeys to publication, their debut novels and what unique background each of these writers bring to the world of YA.

Date: Thursday 3 September, 2020
Venue: ZOOM online
Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm
Cost: $5
RSVP: by 4pm, Thursday 3 September

Praise for Please Don’t Hug Me

‘This book is beautifully intimate, and so authentic. You’re going to love getting to know its central character, Erin. I’m so thrilled this book exists.’

Claire Christian

‘A moving and insightful story about finding your place in the world.’

– Nina Kenwood

‘Kay Kerr is a skilful writer who deftly balances the serious and the light in this coming-of-age narrative…This is another exciting release in Australian young adult fiction that I can’t wait to recommend to a host of sharp and curious minds.’

– Books+Publishing