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My YALC Experience Part 1

So a couple of weekends ago I attended YALC- the Young Adult Literature Convention and it was a fun and great experience. This event is the only thing that makes me want to get up at 5.30 and 6.30am and actually be happy about it. The event is part of London Film and Comic Con and it is full of panels, signings, workshop and books. LOTS OF BOOKS. So in this post, I thought I would summarise my time there and the events that I went to. I am not going to do an in-depth summary of all the panels that I went to because let's face it this will be a long post. If you would like a summary of what happened then the panels were tweeted by @yalc_uk on twitter. So let's get started...


      So Thursday was meant to be the first day of YALC but it was cancelled, in its place, there would be a full day on Friday. This meant that instead of leaving on Wednesday I left on Thursday. There was a pre-YALC meet-up today but due to my sister tagging along I did not attend. 
       I travelled from Colchester to stay with my Nan in London for a couple of days just because it would make travelling to and from the venue just a little bit easier. So after travelling down, we went into Central London because later in the day was the book launch of Chris Russell's Songs About A Girl. Once in London, we headed to Forbidden Planet which is a massive comic book store and when we headed into the store it was all a little bit dramatic as a man was being arrested for shoplifting and was not taking it lightly leaving a hulk shaped hole in the wall. As Forbidden Planet is near the Cursed Child theatre my sister toke a picture of it for me so here it is: 

          After we visited the Cursed Child theatre, we made our to Waterstones Piccadilly for the Chris Russell launch, where we were way too early for the actual event and wandered around the store for about 30 minutes. Events like this are always weird for me because I always seem to know what other bloggers look like but they don't know what I look like so there is the should I, shouldn't I debate as to whether to talk to them or not. It is fair to say I did the latter and did not speak to them as I happen to be quite awkward. 
            I have never been to a book launch before so I did not realise the extent of networking and general chit-chat that happened before the speeches. With this, I ended up chatting to a girl from Belguim who was also attending YALC over the weekend. The event was quite busy however so at some parts of the conversation it was hard to hear each other. 
           An hour or so later, the speeches started and there were speeches from the publisher and from Chris himself. Their speeches were quite good and it was nice to hear a little bit more about the book and how it was created. Then Chris and his band the Light Years performed a few songs from the fiction band, Fire&Lights and then a few of the bands own songs. They were really great and my sister got some great pictures at the launch. 

So after this, we both headed back to my Nan's house and then I tried to sleep knowing that I had to wake up 5.30am in the morning because tomorrow was the 1st day of YALC...

         So for some reason on Thursday night, my brain decided that it would be a great idea if I did not go to sleep so I survived the day on about 3 hours sleep. After leaving my Nan’s house at 6.30am, I got on the district line and arrived at Olympia around 8am. It was in the queue that I started to recognise bloggers who I follow on twitter. So did I speak to them I hear you ask? No, because as previously stated I just don’t know what to say. This was a constant theme over the weekend. About an hour later doors opened at 9am and I wanted to be near the front because the year before there had been many ARCs and proofs given by publishers but this year it was much bigger. I know that not getting ARCs is not like the end of the world but I put myself on a strict book buying ban so this was a good bonus for me.
         Due to this, I tried to get to the YALC floor quite quickly so that I could get some. I got some ones that I am quite excited for including The Memory Book by Lara Avery, the Meredith Russo book, If I was your Girl that I quickly grabbed from a basket of wrapped up books and a proof copy of Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan which was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. As well as ARCs there was so much swag and I got a lot of it as this picture from twitter will tell you…
The panels and stuff did not start until 10am so for about an hour I wondered around the floor picking up random stuff from publisher stalls and taking part in the Hot Key book swap which I checked quite frequently over the weekend and managed to get a few good books from. I did have a seat in the book wall area as well because my suitcase was a little bit messy with the YALC shock.
           So a few minutes before 10am, I headed over to the panel room where the YA book prize panel was happening. This one was quite interesting as there was mention of relationships in YA books specific those of family which were both widely explored in both Sarah Crossan’s book, One and Unbecoming by Jenny Downham. I also liked hearing the view of Catherine Johnson on diversity as this is something that she was passionate about. A few of the panellists also recommended Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence which I am excited to read as I now own it due to the Hot Key book swap.
               I knew that I wanted to explore the floor of London Film and Comic Con and because I did not want to listen to the Behind the Magic panel, this was the time. As soon as got down to the floor, I saw the costumes from most of the cast of Suicide Squad and this was interesting as it was nice to them in the flesh. At this point, I was quite excited to see Suicide Squad but due to the negative reviews I have changed my mind but it was still cool. I then started to walk around the signing area and although I recognised some people others I just had no clue who they were. I then went to the stalls and there were some cool pieces but my money was saved for books so I didn’t buy stuff there although on Friday there was a Pok√©mon stall with plushies but I didn’t buy any and over the weekend I tried to look for it again but had no luck. I was quite disappointed.
        After just an hour of walking the floor, I headed upstairs again to see the Unheard Voices panel and this was an interesting panel although it went in a different direction to what I was hoping for as the panellists talked about their books specifically rather than talking about it in the wider sense. I guess I hoped that it would talk about diversity in the wider spectrum, but this focused on mainly their books which made me interested to read the books but I guess I was a little disappointed.
          I stayed in the panel room because I then watched the “She who laughs lasts laughs the laughiest” which was a panel on humour in YA but also that of funny girls. This was an enjoyable panel and did take a quite feminism route with all the authors talking about girls being funny as well as their own experiences which could often be quite negative. Holly Smale was once the only female nominee in a prize and was told that her book was quite funny by someone written by a woman which you know is not great. There was also the fact that they all wanted more wee in YA and often used own experiences to put in the books and listed their most embarrassing moments. The panel was just really good and of course funny.
         After this was the Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls film which was a general chat about how the film was made and what is was like to make the film with Patrick himself and Lewis MacDougall who stars in the film. This was quite a nice panel but I did just get the feeling Lewis just did not want to be there or maybe he just did not want to do the signing after who knows…
             I then headed over to Michael Grant signing and waited in line. He was super nice and funny so I was happy I got to meet him. He then did a panel after in which he talked about Front Lines which is his new book and of course the Gone series which is where many people know him from. He was funny as ever and talked about a character eating their leg and healing it back, the fact of writing characters as people rather than just being based on their diverse nature and the Gone TV series. It was also nice him talking about Front Lines because this is one of my favourite books and one of the reasons he was over in the UK was due to the research of the second and third books.
             The last event of the day was the My Teen Diary panel. This was where many authors read from their teen diaries and I can tell you now that this was my favourite thing over the weekend. It was just so funny and there was even some controversy which was interesting. It was then the end of YALC and I walked to the station and then had an early night due the complete lack of sleep I had the night before.

So that was my Thursday and Friday at YALC.

Did you go to YALC? Do you want to go to YALC? Leave them in the comments below.

See you soon,

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