Can we get back to YALC recaps? Please!
I slept through my alarm Saturday morning, which was actually a brilliant move because a had a full night’s sleep. I was feeling SO ALIVE. (The downside was missing almost all of the #SquadGoals panel, which I had been looking forward to.) When I got to the Olympia, toting my suitcase, I was delighted to see the ever lovely Anna McKerrow at the info point! It was so great to finally meet her and have a quick chat. And I got her to sign my copies of the Greenworld books, FINALLY.
Missing most of the #SquadGoals panel meant I got into the queue for Holly Bourne early. I knew it’d be massive because she is an absolute rock star of UKYA. I bought two copies of What’s a Girl Gotta Do? and gave her a “weird hug” so it was a pretty good fan experience all told. I also added my #IAmAFeminist mantra to the wall of feminism at Usborne’s stall. After consulting with my girlfriend, who told me “I was coercively assigned my gender at birth and refuse to let it define me for the rest of my life” was a bit wordy, I went with “Gender is NONSENSE”.
Other gorgeous and wonderful authors met on Saturday: Sara Barnard! Feast your eyes on the momentous occasion of the #BarnardSelfie:
I also met Keren David and got her to sign an already-signed copy of Cuckoo, because I am an embarrassment, and got my books signed by David Levithan and Nina LaCour.
At 2pm was the eagerly-anticipated Oseman/James workshop on ‘Authors on Social Media‘. (You can read a blog post adapted from the seminar here.) Alice and Lauren are smart, talented young women with a lot of feelings about the internet and it was interesting to hear about the sometimes fraught relationships between fan and creator that can come about as a result of social media. However, it was very difficult to hear what people were saying – sitting at the back (because I was late, because I went to Sainsburys to get my favourite sandwich) I could not hear a single word that anyone other than Alice or Lauren said. Having the workshop space open, right next to the stairs and separated from a long signing queue by nothing other than a screen meant audibility was terrible, especially on the Saturday as it was the busiest day. That’s my only grumble about what was a very slickly organised event!
David Levithan and Nina LaCour were charming and entertaining in the You Know Me Well panel, chaired by Juno Dawson who was on hilarious good form. (The live tarot reading, including Kim K and Beyoncé cards, was especially enjoyable.) You Know Me Well is such a fantastic book. The centring of queer narratives – the book is dual-narrated by a gay guy and a lesbian girl – is quietly but potently revolutionary. I’m just so grateful this book exists, and this panel was a reminder that there is a place at the table for me as a queer reader and writer. I was totally tearing up at Nina’s story of wedding dress shopping at Pride! I’m tearing up a bit typing this now! Aghh!! I’m also inspired to try cowriting now that both team LaCour/Levithan and Ellen/Ivison have advocated just writing in turns and trying to throw each other curveballs.
Then it was Poetry Slam time, which was so so so good! There was a great mix of published poets and yet-to-be-published, and everyone was amazing and radiant and talented. Also Sarah Crossan read from the end of One, because I guess she hates happiness??? I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy the slam as much as I did, but the time flew by and it was great.
Tweets of the day:
AND THEN… AS IF THIS ALL WASN’T EXCITEMENT ENOUGH…
My girlfriend and I went to Wagamama!!!
And then after that we went to the Waterstones Piccadilly launch of the Cursed Child scriptbook! The atmosphere was amazing, and the shop itself looked absolutely magical. Although a lot of us YALCers were knackered by this point, everyone queued stoically for their piece of the magic. And if you weren’t queuing, there were cakes to decorate, Quidditch to play, wine to drink, props to ogle… I went to the last two or three midnight launches of the Harry Potter series, and I really can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to relive that experience as an adult. How can you not feel grateful for that? The shop was full of adult fans who grew up with Harry, but also kids (with baffling amounts of energy) experiencing the wizarding world for the first time. Harry Potter is everything. I’m seeing Cursed Child in October 2017 and I am already quite excited.
Clutching our paper bags full of Harry Potter, we made our way across the river to crash in our hotel room… ready for Sunday and Stiefvater!