As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to attend YALC last month and it didn’t disappoint. Having never attended a book, or any convention really, I was unsure about what to expect. Thankfully, when the final panel ended and I walked out of the doors, I was so happy that I’d finally got the chance to attend this wonderful event.
What is YALC?
It’s a young adult literature convention in London which runs alongside comic con. There are panels with authors, book signings, bookish freebies and lots of different publisher stands that will leave you wanting to buy more books that you don’t need. (I only bought a few…but it was a difficult challenge).
Now, let’s discuss all of the little details.
When I first walked in, saw the penguin reading area, and all of the publisher stands, I already knew this was the place for me. A few panels later, and I didn’t want the day to end. If you’re like me, and you watch BookTubers, it can often be difficult to watch their book convention videos and not feel jealous. That’s why it was so overwhelming when I was actually experiencing it for myself instead of watching it through a screen.
The panels I attended…
- Behind the magic: exploring magical systems in fantasy YA
Authors – Sally Green, Taran Matharu, Melinda Salisbury and V E Schwab
During this panel, I got the chance to learn more about a wide range of magical systems, something I’d never personally considered as a writer, but found interesting nonetheless. Fantasy writing aside, it was great to just learn how these authors approach their writing. *Hint* They like to know the ending before they’ve finished the manuscript.
- ‘She who laughs last laughs the laughiest’: Funny YA
Authors – Holly Smale, Katy Birchall,Jenny McLachlan and Nat Luurstema
Just in case you were wondering, this panel was funny. However, Something I didn’t expect it to be was impowering for my inner feminist. Go girl power! …and gender equality for everyone of course.
- Fantasy London
Authors – Samantha Shannon, Ben Aaranovitch, V E Schwab
This was such a facinating panel that even managed to inspire ideas for my own book series. Ironically my current WIP is a dystopian not a fantasy but writers find inspiration everywhere, right?
- My Teen Diary
Authors – Juno Dawson, Lisa Williamson and a host of authors attending YALC.
The second hand embarrassment was very much present throughout, but so was the endless amounts of funny moments. Who knew writers could be so expressive and dramatic? Okay, I admit…I wasn’t really suprised haha.
The book signing I attended…
Although there were many authors I wanted to meet, and many more books I wanted to get signed, I decided to just stick to one. Having recently discovered her amazing ‘calendar system’ for writers, I was so excited to get ‘This Savage Song’ signed by V E Schwab. She was such a lovely person, who took the time to personally speak to everyone and even get a picture.
YALC wasn’t just a place for avid readers, it was also the perfect destination for aspiring writers. If you didn’t want to read, colour in (Yes you read that correctly), get a book signed, or attend a panel, there were even more opportunities to get to grips with all things publishing. Throughout the day, there was a selection of creative workshops hosted by authors themselves. There was also an agents arena where you could learn all about the publishing industry or even pitch your book to an agent in a 1-2-1 session.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my time, I’m so excited to attend YALC for the entire weekend next year. You don’t have to know all of the authors, or be a writer, to have an amazing weekend. Just wear comfy shoes, bring a few snacks, and immerse yourself in all things books. The bookish community really are the loveliest of them all.
Until next time keep dreaming x