I went to YALC, and it was amazing

The dust is beginning to settle on a pretty damn good weekend. The second ever Young Adult Literature Convention was as far as I can tell a roaring success, and I hope YALC16 is already in planning stages! (After everyone involved with this one has had a good, long nap.)

I only went on Saturday, which I was absolutely kicking myself about. I missed out on some of my favourite authors and some amazing panels. Although it must have been exhausting, I’d’ve loved to have made the whole weekend.

A quick recap of my day at YALC:

Got on a train at 6:48 (!) with my pals Tiffany (@UK_Booklover) and Lauren (@Lauren_E_James) and was SOMEHOW awake enough to make bad puns and talk books for the entire journey.

Rocked up at the Olympia and joined the YALC queue, got in surprisingly quickly! I wasn’t there last year, but it looks like the change of venue/not selling tickets on the door has worked out really well, so good job everyone.

Once in, found myself in a BOOKISH WONDERLAND. Immediately bought House of Windows and The Big Lie. (I got both signed later, and Alexia Casale and Julie Mayhew were both ridiculously lovely! I’m so looking forward to reading these beauties!)

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Attended the Being A Girl panel, which was excellent. In recent years I’ve become more and more confident about calling myself a feminist, and I hope that like LGBT YA, feminist YA is here to stay and isn’t just a “trend”. Things got a little controversial – check out panellist Hayley Long’s blog here  – but I’m glad to see discussion around this topic, especially such a lively discussion which drew so much interest.

Wrote some things in workshops! First of all, Julie Mayhew’s short story workshop which was hugely enjoyable and featured me writing a story about my friend Clare being stuck in kitchen at a party with a load of Tory MPs. At the end of the day I also went to Anna McKerrow’s Writing with the tarot workshop, where I particularly enjoyed hearing some of the resulting stories. The workshops provided a good opportunity to chill out and generate ideas, which isn’t perhaps the usual con experience, but really went with the vibe and ethos of YALC.

Best of all, I met so many lovely lovely people. I tried to name them all on twitter, but obviously missed some out because JUST SO MANY! There was a lot of recognising people from their profile pics, and a lot of hugs and catching up. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and everyone was EXCITED ABOUT BOOKS. Many people were even reading books. If I were a teenager, it’s the kind of place I’d feel welcome and safe to hang out in. UKYA, you came about ten years too late for me, but I am still ever so grateful for the people and books you have brought into my life!

My main regret is not taking more pictures. (There is still no photographic proof that Sara Barnard and Sarah Barnard are not the same person!) I was too busy whispering “There’s Non Pratt” to my bewildered girlfriend. I also could definitely have bought more books. I left with a modest haul of swag, though:

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I got home around midnight, very sleepy but very happy. It was a very good day. Same time next year, yeah?

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