This year I attended my first ever Young Adult Literary Convention (YALC) and it was great!
I attended the first two days on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th July. I could have gone on Sunday but I had done everything I wanted to do and needed to catch up on some sleep (and blogging!)
Here are some of the highlights of YALC 2018 for me!
Friday 28th July
I had never been to YALC so I didn’t know what to expect. I had some helpful tips from my wonderful friend and co-worker Hannah – who also runs Hello Me, It’s You at YALC – so I felt pretty prepared nevertheless.
Unfortunately, for me, I was a bit overwhelmed and with that did tend to avoid talking to people on the first day. I didn’t buy books, I mostly grabbed some swag off tables and then promptly ran away. (I got a lot of swag though!)
What did help was the chill-out zone they had set up with plush bean bags and the softest rugs ever. I spent a lot of time here with my books.
It was a good day though. I went to two panels, saw a lot of authors and got a lot of swag. I also snuck down – when I say ‘snuck’ I just got in a lift – and went to the London Film Comic-Co or LFCC.
The LFCC was surprisingly quiet – but it was Friday – I got chips, saw Tom Welling, Meatloaf, a load of Wrestlers and some of the original Thunderbirds which was pretty cool. I also ended up buying stuff!
I got a Luna Lovegood Pop Funko for £10! Adding it to my now growing Harry Potter collection of Pop Funkos – hint hint for any family and friends who read this and want ideas for Christmas presents – I also got a Hedwig tattoo print (not a tattoo. Don’t panic mum).
It was fun just walking around seeing the cosplayers – my favourite was definitely Sirius and Dolores Umbridge – and all of the memorabilia.
YALC had some wonderful stalls too though. There were booksellers, publishers, charities and general bookish ephemera stores. Each stall had a fun activity you could do as well. One of them had a space for writing down your favourite sci-fi character on a wall.
Others had space for writing letters to your younger selves (HelloMeItsYou) and getting glittery makeovers.
All in all, it was a promising first day to YALC.
Saturday 28th July
The second day I was more prepared for what was going to hit me. The crowds got bigger, the queues got longer and there was a lot more to do.
I went to a panel on writing historical YA with some wonderful historical authors including Frances Hardinge, Keren Davids and Lucy Adlington which was pretty insightful. Then I bought some books from Scholastic (3 for £10) and got The Eve of Man by Tom and Giovanna Fletcher signed by the lovely pair.
I also got my copy of Floored signed by Sara Barnard – the rest of the author queues were insane! – I’m not a patient person.
The second day I actually spent hanging out with Hannah and Jenny at Hello Me, It’s You stand. I’m not an exhibitor but I just stole a seat and stayed there, bringing the two of them chips and covering for them when they wanted to get books signed. It was great!
Sitting with the girls and seeing them help others with their wonderful charity was really inspiring. It also helped me to talk to people and have some really great conversations.
Also… sitting with them meant I got a bird’s eye view whenever celebs from the LFCC downstairs popped up to the YALC green room.
I saw Jason Momoa three times (I did not act cool once), Iwan Rheon twice – aka Ramsey Bolton – and also David Bradley (FILCH!!).
It was awesome.
Needless to say, I’ll be returning to YALC next year. So… until then! Happy reading fellow YA readers.