Yesterday I went to YALC for the second year in a row. YALC is the UK's only YA Literature Convention, so obviously I'm a huge fan and I was so excited to go again, especially as it was my highlight of last year!
I was so anxious but I dealt with it much better than last year, and a couple of you gorgeous people came up to me and said that my post on YALC and anxiety made you feel better - which made me feel better! This year it was much busier and there seemed to be more going on, so my schedule was packed. Here's what went down...
We got there over an hour late which meant I missed my first panel for the second year running, but I was there in time for the second panel, Squad Goals, with Anna James, Sarra Manning, Sara Barnard and Holly Bourne (who I recently filmed a video with!) It was SUCH a good panel - the best and most interesting one I've ever watched - and I felt so inspired.
Then I was off to my first signings: Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands) and Kass Morgan (The 100). Unfortunately, though unsurprisingly, Alwyn's queue was so long that I had to abandon it after a while, but I still got to meet Kass!
After that, I desperately wanted to go to the Teenage Soundtrack: Music in YA panel with Sophia Bennett, Non Pratt, Chris Russell and Simon Mayo, but I was still getting things signed. It's alright, though, because I'd already met Simon Mayo at a Penguin event (how very swish of me), and I still had time to meet Chris and Sophia! Chris was awesome and it was great to meet him after having chatted a bit on Twitter. It was lovely to finally meet Sophia, too - she's one of the first authors I ever spoke to, and we've kept in touch ever since! It was actually on my 50 before 13 bucket list to go to one of her signings. Only five years late, but better that than never...
I also got to meet the amazing Keris Stainton! We've known each other online since I was practically still a foetus, and YALC gave us the chance to finally meet. Keris is such a talented writer and I highly recommend her books!
Next, I rushed over to Laure Eve's unofficial signing at the Faber & Faber stand, where I also did a lot of fangirling with the guy running it...
...before rushing over to the Secrets & Lies panel with Sarah Crossan, Keren David, Sophie Kinsella and Annabel Pitcher, in conversation with Chelsey Pippin. They played a fun game of 2 Truths, 1 Lie and talked about what secrets and lies can add to a book. The authors were signing afterwards, so I went to meet Sophie and Keren, as well as Lauren James (The Next Together) and Honor and Perdita Cargill (Waiting for Callback).
And that was it! There were more panels and signings but I'd done all I wanted to do, so after another quick whip around the publisher stands, we made our way to Gourmet Burger Kitchen (ALL THE YESES) before driving home. It was a loooong day, and I'm so happy with the amount of people I got to meet. Not bad considering I'd only fallen asleep at 4am, with an alarm set for 4:30am. Ouch.
As well as the authors above, I also met a surprising amount of readers/viewers of my blog and YouTube channel! There were way more this year and I wasn't expecting it at all - it was lovely! I didn't get everyone's names and there were some that I only saw and recognised from afar, so I'm not going to list everyone here, but I loved getting to fangirl about books with so many people in person rather than online.
Before you hate me for being 'greedy', a lot of this was picked up for a friend who couldn't make it and for my mum's goddaughter who loves books but also couldn't go. Plus, I was conscious of the fact that I wanted to do a giveaway, as I know what it's like to see everyone having a great time at YALC without you. It sucks, so I like to try and bring a little bit of YALC to you, instead. Unfortunately, though, this is only open to residents of the UK - sorry! Good luck.
I love YALC and I am so grateful for the hard work the organising committee, publishers and authors put in to make it happen. It's so needed and I love that it brings people together. Did you go to YALC? Are you planning to go next year? Let me know!