YALC 2017 is now officially over, and it truly was an amazing three days. I spent the weekend with my sister Jess, and our lovely friend Liv who joined us for Saturday – I am absolutely exhausted from all the walking, standing and chatting, but I wish it could be YALC all year round. After one smashed honey pot, one missed train, and one forgotten ticket, we arrived at YALC on Friday morning laden down with books and snacks, and bouncing with excitement (quite literally).
On Friday I started off my YALC panels at a talk on Collaboration with Lucy Ivison, Tom Ellen, Katherine and Elizabeth Corr, and chaired by Melinda Salisbury. I then went straight on to an amazing panel on Heroines with Amy Alward, Laure Eve, Melinda Salisbury, Alwyn Hamilton and Sophia Bennett (with Anna James chairing) – they talked about how there’s a little bit of good and bad in everyone, so it’s important that your Heroine isn’t infallible! My final Friday panel was Writing What You Know with Alex Wheatle, Lisa Williamson, Hannah Witton, Rachael Lucas, Lisa Heathfield, and chaired by Katherine Webber, which was really interesting, and I loved hearing from such great authors.
I was so pleased to get my copy of Freshers signed, and chatted to Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen, who were both totally lovely; then Katie Webber signed my copy of Wing Jones, whilst I rambled on just a bit about how much I loved it. I also received a proof of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, and had it signed by Emily Barr – I loved The One Memory of Flora Banks, so I cannot wait to read this!
I saw my lovely friend Grace, and chatted with her and Lisa Heathfield for a bit before the Writing What You Know panel, and it was super lovely to catch up with the two of them! I later also talked to Katie Webber, who is so so lovely, and also the most enthusiastic chairperson I have ever seen. I went to the YALCzine workshop at the end of the day, which was so much fun (thank you to Harriet Reuter Hapgood and Eleanor Wood for running it!), and met Christina, and I really enjoyed spending the hour chatting with her! As I was leaving, I then was (very bravely, imo) called over by my online pal Kate, and was so pleased to meet her and my other online friends Hollie and Anna!
There was also a lot of general buzzing around, chatting to publishers and authors and just getting familiar with the YALC set-up (which, much to my initial confusion, was completely changed from the last time I went to YALC!). I received a number of absolutely fantastic proofs on Friday, which I will be talking more about in my upcoming YALC book haul!
Jess and I were joined by Liv for the rest of the weekend, which was so much fun – we also got married at the Stripes stand, so it’s official. We went to the first of two New Voices panels, with Alice Broadway, Gemma Fowler, Vic James, Carlie Sorosiak, Hayley Barker, Josh Martin, Ed McDonald and Karen M. McManus. This panel was chaired by Katherine Webber, who displayed an insane amount of energy for so early in the morning! I also attended the Unconventional Romance panel, chaired by Lauren James, with Jennifer E Smith, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik and Paige Toon, which was super interesting, as they talked about the importance of writing romance in a realistic way, so as not to create false expectations for teenagers.
I did a couple of extra things, including a World Building Workshop (which was fun, if slightly intimidating as everyone else seemed to be very good at world building), and Publishing 102, where I got advice on how to get a job in publishing, which is something I am very interested in hearing more about! Sadly, I woke up late on Saturday and had to rush to leave on time, meaning I forgot all of the books I had to get signed. Oh well. I still got to chat to Carlie Sorosiak, author of If Birds Fly Back, which was lots of fun! I also went to the first ever meet up for #teenbloggerschat, organised by Amber, Hannah and Holly – I loved this so much, and it was so great to meet these people I’ve been chatting to online for ages!
The grand finale for YALC Day 2 was, of course, Non Pratt shaving her head for charity (because Non is the most amazing person ever, confirmed) – she raised over £2,400, which is absolutely fantastic! And, as I’m sure many of you heard on Twitter, we were graced with the presence of non other than Benedict Cumberbatch, who walked in on a room full of people cheering as Non’s head was shaved. As you can imagine, he was very surprised!
On the third day I went to the second New Voices panel, hearing from Anna Day, Catherine Barter, Penny Joelson, Simon James Green, Orlagh Collins, Karen Gregory, Cecilia Vinesse, Sarah Carroll, Harriet Springbett and Tamsin Winter (and again chaired by the wonderful Katherine Webber). My favourite part of this panel was probably hearing all of the different paths that led to each author being published, as there was so much variety between them! I also attended the Fandom panel, chaired by Lucy Saxon, with Christopher Russell, Anna Day, Maggie Harcourt and Rebecca Denton. I absolutely loved this panel – they talked about the potential toxicity of fandoms, and the need for boundaries, as well as their unique intensity which can bring so much happiness. The final panel I went to was Life Advice with Hannah Witton, Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, and chair Chelsey Pippin. The topics ranged from sexuality to feminism to loneliness to bullying, and we were even blessed with Benedict yet again as he passed through the panel (much to our collective excitement)!
I was able to get my copy of Noah Can’t Even signed, and chatted to the author, Simon James Green. Noah Can’t Even is actually going to be made into a TV series, which is absolutely awesome (think Skins and The Inbetweeners type thing)! I also met Catherine Barter, who signed my copy of Troublemakers (which is fab; you can read my review where I talk about how fab it is here). I got a couple of my newly-accquired ARCs signed – I met Anna Day, who signed my copy of The Fandom, and we spoke briefly about Benedict’s cheekbones; I also met Laura Stevens, who signed my proof of The Exact Opposite of Okay for me!
Other things I did throughout the day included more ARC-drops and competitions (including drawing a beast in order to win The Beast’s Heart at the Hodderscape stand; alas, my beast looked as if it was drawn by a nine year old, and I did not win). I then got a months subscription for Book Box Club, which I have been thinking of doing for months – the September theme is ‘Outlaws’, which sounds super exciting! I then bought myself a few books, including David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary, which looks like it will either be adorable, or break my heart (or both, I’m not too sure). I hung out with Jess and Liv, the same as Saturday, and we also chatted some more with Kate, Hollie and Anna, which was lovely. I also had a really great conversation with a girl called Becca in the signing queue for The Fandom (and having someone to chat to in signing queues in just the best).
YALC 2017, you were awesome. I hope those of you who went to YALC this year also had an amazing time, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the weekend! I am also running a giveaway until the 6th of August, so head over to my Twitter to check that out!
I hope to see some of you next year, or maybe even sooner!