Tuesday, April 28, 2015

YALC - Are you coming?

It's a busy, busy week at work - which is my excuse for not having a review ready this week. I was wondering what to post earlier today at just about the same time as I saw a stream of tweets about YALC (the young adult literature convention in London). This got me EXCITED. I had a wonderful time at the event last year, and having had that experience I feel as though I can have an even better time this time around.

What does this have to do with feminism?

A huge theme of the event last year was regarding diversity in YA fiction. The event celebrated the diversity YA reads already have, and pushed for more. Whether we were talking race, gender, or sexuality - there was a discussion to be had. I can't imagine things will be all too different this year.

So I have dug out an old blog post that I wrote recapping the event for you to read. Hopefully something, somewhere in this post will inspire all you Brits to come along. And if you are coming, make sure you let us know in the comments or @FemsTalkBooks. We can all arrange a meet up!

Go ahead, laugh at year old me...

This weekend saw the first EVER UK Young Adult Literature Convention take place at London Film and Comic Con. The event was curated by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman (a superstar, lets be honest) and it was a SMASH HIT. Seriously. As a writer and reader of YA it was heart-warming to see so many passionate people in attendance! There have been, and will be, gazillions of these summary posts. But hey, this is the first time I’ve done anything like this so I’m getting in on it. I feel like a true book blogger/talker/thing now. So proud.

I went to the event with my brother and, to be honest, we had no idea what to expect. We had early bird tickets and got there by about 9.30. There was a terrifyingly long queue when we turned up, and we walked past it with the blind belief that our early bird tickets meant we did NOT have to stand there. Luckily, we were correct. We queued for about 45 minutes (which was barely anything compared to some) in a very orderly winding circle (so stereotypically British) and then we were inside.

I was overwhelmed. My main interest was in YALC but I loved pretty much everything on display at Comic Con. We browsed the stalls, I spent way too much money, and after the first hour I was already starting to feel exhausted. There were SO many people, and it was so difficult to move around! It was just incredibly draining.
When I finally found the YALC section, I proceeded to grab a ton of free swag and spend too much money on books (OFC).
I’m desperate to love More Than This(early signs are good) because I LOVE Patrick Ness but didn’t really enjoy The Knife of Letting Go. Similarly, Fangirl is a book I’m hoping to love, because I wasn’t crazy about Eleanor & Park. I am REALLY excited about Half a King because I have read and LOVED Joe Abercrombie’s adult books. Cannot wait to see what he can do for YA! And finally,Checkmate! I’ve actually read the whole Noughts and Crosses series, but I only own the first book for some reason. The main reason I grabbed this one was because I really wanted to get it signed which brings me too…

…my only disappointment with the day was with MYSELF. I did NOT make the most of the opportunity. I think that in future I’ll skip the Comic Con stuff and I’ll focus entirely on YALC. I made the mistake of switching buildings to the gaming zone before Malorie Blackman’s signing. By the time I got back through the press of people, my knees were killing me and the queue was miles long. I ended up getting exactly ZERO books signed, which is a massive fail on my part.

I did go along to two of the panels though, and it was really great hearing from the authors! I went to the Dystopia panel (thanks Claire) mainly for Malorie Blackman (she is literally the coolest) and Patrick Ness (he is literally the second coolest after Malorie). I’m not actually crazy about Dystopia for the most part, but it was really great to hear them (and Sarah Crossan) talk about why they think dystopia is so popular. I loved that they all seemed to agree that it is better to write a story BEFORE you pick a genre, because so many novels cross genres and shouldn’t be stuck in one box.

The second panel I saw was the fantasy panel, the one I was determined to get to! In a way this one was a little bit disappointing as I didn’t really think the questions were very focused on fantasy. The answers were great but they seemed to be more generic YA questions. That said, I wasn’t familiar with ANY of these authors before the panel, and I’m suddenly dying to read something by each of them (Ruth Warburton, Amy McCulloch, Frances Hardinge and Jonathan Stroud). I really loved what they had to say about their YA audience. They all agreed that they don’t think about writing for a younger audience, they just write stories. They write for everyone! Similar to how the dystopia suggested books shouldn’t be holed into one genre, this panel suggested the same for age groups.

The coolest part of the day was getting to meet other bloggers! I’ll be honest…I was kinda fangirling over meeting Amber, Tatum and Rinn. I’ve been following these guys for much longer than I’ve been commenting on their blogs/tweeting them (Well, technically Rinn a little less so because it was Amber that recced me in that direction but let’s not get picky with the details). It was seriously SO COOL. (Even though I made an idiot of myself with Rinn, but a day isn’t a day unless I’m an idiot at some point.) I also met and chatted with Claire and Hannah. Our meetings were brief, seeing as we were all running all over the place, but it was really cool! Hopefully we can all meet up again soon with tea and books and BOOK CHATS! Especially because I wasn’t able to meet Daphne and Asti.

Overall, YALC was exhausting but it was just so exciting to be there amongst so many other book lovers. I definitely want to go to more of these things in the future. Now I have a better idea of what to expect I’ll be more prepared, and will hopefully get some signatures! It was just a brilliant event, and when people try to tell me that young people don’t want to read I’m just gonna laugh and point.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great post! I've been thinking about going because I really wanted to go last year. Sounds like you had a great time! :)


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