YALC 2018: Fun, Friends & Dinofloored!
Last year, one of my favourite weekends of the whole year was when I went to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention). I met so many great people and I couldn’t wait to go back. So when we booked our tickets for this year’s YALC, it was my most anticipated weekend of the year!
This year I spent the whole weekend with my wonderful friends Sophie and Sarah (The Little Contemporary Corner), and a lovely new friend called Lois (Lois Reads Books). One of my favourite things about YALC weekend is spending it with friends – it wouldn’t be the same without them!
Obviously, the most important part of YALC is the books. It wouldn’t be a book con without them! I took 11 books with me and managed to get 10 of them signed. The only one I couldn’t get signed was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, because her queue was ridiculously huge. It was the longest one of the whole weekend, even beating Tom and Giovanna Fletcher!
The books I took with me (you can read more about these here!):
- Eve of Man by Tom & Giovanna Fletcher
- The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher
- Floored by Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Eleanor Wood and Lisa Williamson
- Clean by Juno Dawson
- Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
- The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
- Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
- Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green
- The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
- The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
The books I bought at YALC:
- Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
- Things I’m Seeing With You by Peter Bognanni
- The Territory by Sarah Govett (signed)
- More Than This by Patrick Ness
- She, Myself and I by Emma Young
- Junk by Melvin Burgess
- Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
- Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson
- The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken (signed)
- Giant Days by Non Pratt (signed)
- Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
- I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan (signed)
- Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (signed)
- The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
- Moondust by Gemma Fowler
- Ascension by Victor Dixen (this one’s an ARC)
ARCs (or lack of)
This year, there was no pressure to get ARCs. There were a lot of complaints at last year’s YALC about how the random ARC drops were awful and inaccessible, especially for disabled people, because a publisher would tweet and people would run from every direction for the chance to grab a free book.
This year, however, pretty much all of the ARC giveaways were done through raffles. These still weren’t the best as they still happened at a specific time and often only a limited number of tickets were given out, so there were still queues. But it was so nice not to be trampled by crowds every couple of hours!
I only managed to get one ARC this year – Ascension by Victor Dixen – but I’m happy with that. I still have some from last year that remain on my shelf unread, so this year, I feel like I don’t have that pressure.
I got a decent number of books signed this year and I met some wonderful authors! Here are just a few of them…
The authors at YALC are always SO lovely and even when they have a decent queue, they’re always happy to have a chat. I was so happy to get so many of my books signed and to chat to so many wonderful people! It was great to meet Tom and Giovanna – I’ve been a McFly fan since I was a tiny child and I’ve met him a handful of times already, but I’ve never met Gi before. I had a good chat with Tom about Doctor Who and it was wonderful.
#ProudBook Cover Reveal
Another highlight of the weekend was the exciting cover reveal for Proud, the next anthology being released by Stripes Publishing. They’ve previously published two YA anthologies – I’ll Be Home for Christmas and A Change is Gonna Come. Proud will be a collection of short stories and poetry all centered around the theme of Pride, and it’s going to be put together by none other than Juno Dawson. I can’t wait! Are you ready to see this beautiful cover?!
It’s so colourful and I love it!! The list of authors (including YA royalty David Levithan…) is so exciting and I can’t wait for this anthology to come out (no pun intended). Click here to watch a quick video of the big cover reveal! (Thanks to Lois for the video.)
I had an aim to go to more workshops this year. I ended up only going to two, but they were both so much fun! The first one was a world building workshop, and the second was one about collaborative writing with all 7 authors of Floored. The room was separated into 7 different tables and each author was given something to discuss, including characters, description, world building, etc. It was like author speed dating, where each author had 5 minutes with each table.
Most groups discussed each topic with each author, but not us… nope. We created a whole story that was basically a dinosaur version of Floored… called Dinofloored (named by Sophie). We started with Melinda Salisbury who came up with the idea of using dinosaurs, and even listed all the dinosaurs that the 7 dinosaurs could be.
We then had to try and explain to the rest of the authors what was going on when they came to our table. 😀 The best part was that almost all of the authors came to see how we did at the end of the session, and carried on talking about our story in the signing queues! With Tanya Byrne, we discussed the cut that they’d all get when the book gets picked up by Netflix. 😀 When we went to get the book signed by Melinda Salisbury, we all posed as dinosaurs for our “author photo”…
I definitely think we should all carry on planning this book and get it written. 😀
I was so happy to spend the weekend with some wonderful gals. Last year it was only me and Sarah (which was wonderful and we definitely bonded), but this year it was great to be with Sophie and Lois too. We chatted, played games, talked about books and all sorts of other things, and spending it with these three wonderful people made the experience so much more fun! I can’t wait to spend next YALC with them all! <3
And Finally… Jason Momoa?!
The unexpected celebrity guest last year was Benedict Cumberbatch. He walked through YALC several times to everyone’s delight (including when we all watched Non Pratt have her head shaved, and he looked very bemused, to say the least). I hoped we’d have a celebrity guest again this year and we got not one, but two!
This time is was Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman. For me, he’s not as much as a big deal as Benedict Cumberbatch, but it still made the whole place point and stare and scream. There was a big YA quiz one day and Juno Dawson’s team was called Team Momoa, and we also found out that Juno traded her fee for a photo with him down at Comic Con. Safe to say, everyone was pretty excited about our special guest. 😀
Later on, when I was in a panel, I heard more cheering and hubbub outside in the main hall. I assumed that Momoa had walked past again, but when I checked Twitter, I found out it was none other than PETER CAPALDI. He just popped up and stood there, talking to people. I can’t believe I missed it!!!
I’m already excited for next year’s YALC and I’m just waiting for tickets to go on sale already. Waiting for authors and panels to be released it so great and I loved planning what I wanted to do. I hope all the pals can go again, because it was one of the best weekends of the year, just like last year!