Attending YALC 2022
This weekend I attended YALC – the Young Adult Literary Convention – in London. I went with one of my best friends, Angelize, and we had a fantastic time.
YALC is hosted at the Kensington Olympia on the same weekend as London Film and Comic-Con. So we were not only surrounded by book personalities but also Film and TV personalities as well.
It was a really exciting weekend of bookish activity, although we only visited on Sunday.
What was on at YALC 2022?
There were so many publishing stalls with books on sale, swag, and games to play. Hodderscape had a Bookstagram station, Hot Key Books had a raffle and Penguin Platform had a fantastic ‘guess the character based on tropes’ game. We played the latter and won a super proof with extracts from lots of their upcoming books.
There was also a lot of swag available. I’ve come away with about 20 bookmarks, 5 postcards, a proof, two samplers, and a badge. It’s great for picking up those bookish items that dress up a bookshelf.
Events and signings
We didn’t attend any workshops or panels. Our main aim was to explore and see where the mood took us. Also, we struggled to hear a lot of the panels when we glanced at the areas so we weren’t sure it would have been the best use of our time.
We had hoped to join the book signing queue for Alice Oseman and potentially Jacqueline Wilson, but when we arrived we were told all the virtual tickets had been sold and there was no chance of getting a book signed by Alice or Jacqueline. It was a shame as there was no link to virtually book – I think it was something shared on Friday and Saturday if you attended YALC all weekend. Because we were only there one day, we missed out.
We still saw Jacqueline and Alice, and a lot of other authors, but we didn’t actually get to meet any of them.
London Film and Comic Con
On the same weekend as YALC is the London Film and Comic Con. And I’ll admit I was very excited about this. Last time I attended YALC in 2018 I saw Jason Momoa and David Bradley on the YALC floor. Not to mention Tom Welling and the late Meatloaf when walking around the latter floors.
They’ve changed the layout and location of YALC since 2018, so the floors were a lot different. Also, there were a lot fewer stalls at Comic Con than usual, and they had to move the signing area to a completely new location.
We headed to the signing area to see who was in that day and saw Stephen Amell and David Ramsay from Arrow. We also got within 1 metre of Christopher Lloyd, which was awesome.
Devon Murray from Harry Potter was there, as was Santiago Cabrera who I fan girled after so hard! I’m a massive Merlin fan!
The big stars of the day were David Harbour and Joseph Quinn from Stranger Things. Every time they did an event crowds would just appear and the noise would multiply.
In typical Ellie fashion though, as Angelize and I headed to the signing area for one last look before we left we legitimately ran into Joseph Quinn. And I stood in front of him and said ‘it’s Joseph Quinn’ to Joseph Quinn… I’m so cool. It was hilarious though. Tickets to see him were £100+ I got a good view for free as I was leaving. It was brilliant.
Sadly, I was shocked I didn’t get my phone out in time to take a photo or video, so I have no evidence of being that close to him.
Angelize and I had a fab day. We hung out and chatted about books, with her persuading me to get Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Plus I got to see a few of my old colleagues and friends working their stalls.
There are definitely improvements that YALC needs to make, not only to pay their authors – which was a controversial topic this year – but also to their organisation. The new location probably threw a spanner in the works, but the signings needed a lot more organisation than they had. I know a lot of people were upset at not being able to meet their favourite authors or get them to sign more than one book.
Nevertheless, I think Angelize and I will be returning to YALC next year with a new tote bag and an aim to collect as much swag as possible.