Last weekend, I was in London for YALC (short for Young Adult Literary Convention) and it was so much fun. I’ve missed it all week! There’s something unique about being surrounded by your favourite things (in this case, books!) with so many like-minded people and I feel so lucky that I was able to go for the whole weekend. It was this amazing little bubble that I really didn’t want to leave.

I spent the weekend running from one thing to another, trying to cram as much in as possible. There was so much to see. As well as the scheduled panels, workshops and signings, there were lots of activities and competitions organised by the publisher stands. And, of course, there were plenty of opportunities to buy books!

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The official YALC bookshop run by Waterstones: Friday morning vs Sunday evening

YALC was exhausting and sometimes I had to make tough decisions about who or what I wanted to see. I had to remind myself a few times that it’s ok to sit down and take some time out occasionally. There were always people sat around reading, which was a really nice atmosphere.

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Panels! Clockwise from top left: YA Book Prize; Behind the Magic; #SquadGoals; Secrets and Lies; Maggie Steifvater; and again; YALC poetry slam (Sarah Crossan); Join the Rebellion!

Panels I went to:

  • The YA Book Prize
  • Behind the magic: magical systems in YA
  • Fantasy London (part*)
  • Join the Rebellion! Reisstance and protest in YA
  • #SquadGoals: friendship in YA
  • Secrets and Lies (part*)
  • You Know Me Well: David Levithan & Nina LaCour (part*)
  • YALC poetry slam (part*)
  • Morally complicated YA (part*)
  • The Raven King: Maggie Stiefvater in conversation (part*)
  • Harry Potter Party with Mugglenet (part*)

*The thing I loved about the panels was the relaxed atmosphere so that you could come and go as you pleased.

Workshops/Agents Arena talks I went to:

  • Creative writing with Lisa Heathfield – finding your voice as a writer
  • Writing YA with Keris Stainton – coming up with ideas for YA stories
  • My Kinda Book Club with Harriet Reuter Hapgood, Sara Barnard and Eleanor Wood
  • Publishing 101
  • Publishing 102
  • Agent 1-2-1s
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Books I got signed at YALC

Signings:

I met and got books signed by nineteen authors:

  • Sarah Crossan
  • Lisa Williamson
  • Sally Green
  • Melinda Salisbury
  • Holly Smale
  • Lisa Heathfield
  • Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  • Sara Barnard
  • Sarra Manning
  • Holly Bourne
  • Sophia Bennett
  • Alwyn Hamilton
  • Kiran Millwood Hargave
  • Sophie Kinsella
  • Alice Oseman
  • Chris Vick
  • Juno Dawson
  • Louise Gornall
  • Maggie Stiefvater

As well as the above, I met Louise O’Neill at her event in Bath the Monday night after YALC. I also met Sarah Crossan twice as I went to her event at Shakespeare’s Globe on the Friday night. Add a theatre trip to see Romeo and Juliet on Thursday plus dinner out with my best friend on Saturday and it was a pretty eventful long weekend.

Here are some of the books and other bits and bobs I picked up over YALC weekend. I’m still not sure how I managed to get everything home!

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Books I bought/was given at YALC – proof copies in the left pile, copies I bought on the right
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Book samples I picked up at YALC
YALC swag
Some of the postcards, bookmarks and badges I picked up at YALC

YALC is part of London Film and Comic Con. Next year, LFCC (and I assume YALC) will take place from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July 2017.

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