Armed with a suitcase and a reusable shopping bag full of books, I ventured to the UK’s first ever Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) last weekend 11-13th July at London Film and Comic Con (LFCC).
All I can say is WOW- so much to see and not enough time!
I was accompanied by Michelle (Much Loved Books) and 2 other bookish friends; we attended the preview night on Friday and were greeted by a huge Game of Thrones dragon skull as we entered Earls Court exhibition centre.
We walked through stalls selling some amazing items- tshirts for every fandom in creation, autographed photos for every celebrity known to man, merchandise and cool gadgets. There was so much to look at, I’m sure we didn’t even see half of it.
Our mission was to find the Book Zone which was home to YALC. We saw all of the signing tables, ready for the celebrities the next day, but tucked in the back corner we found the haven of all things bookish.
The very nice organisers of YALC had some free ARCs available and lots of free book swag for attendees. Once we’d got our goodies, we had a wander around the stalls and made our way back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep before a very early morning on Saturday.
Saturday morning at 7.30am, we were stood in a queue waiting to get into Earls Court- even though the doors didn’t open until 9am for early bird ticket holders.
By 9.10am we were inside, and racing to see what YALC had to offer. Free author talks; workshops for bloggers, authors, budding writers; book signings and a few more activities to keep bookworms happy. Despite it being a very warm day, and waiting in queues for book signings, Saturday was tiring but great fun. I waited over an hour to meet the lovely Rainbow Rowell, who if anyone ever gets the chance to meet her- do it! So cheery!
Saturday evening, the fantastic Sophia Bennett, author of The Look and The Castle, arranged a small meet up for authors, bloggers and bookworms called For The Fringe. I met some really nice authors and bloggers. It was a nice introduction to the blogging world, as technically YALC is my first major book event, since starting to review for the blog.
Sunday was once again a 7.30 am arrival at Earls Court. We queued for 2 hours behind a Klingon and saw some of the actors and actresses arrive for LFCC.
When the doors opened we raced through to the YALC book zone.
Michelle ( Much Loved Books) and I attended a Bloggers Breakfast. We met Holly Black (who I’ve met before and she is awesome), Non Pratt, Matt Haig and James Dawson (the UK’s current reigning Queen of Teen). I spoke to some more bloggers, mingled with the authors and got books signed and came out with a goodie bag including 2 new books to add to my library.
We enjoyed a couple of great author talks; met some more authors- Cat Clarke, Sally Gardner, Sophie McKenzie, Sarra Manning and Lucy Christopher; and finished the day off with YALC’s big book giveaway.
The weekend ended with 4 very tired but very happy bookworms. We left London with lots of new books to add to already overflowing TBR piles, and the possibility that arms were going to fall off from carrying all the extra goodies (an extra XL suitcase in my case).
YALC was great fun; I hope they do the event next year, possibly on its own as an event separate to LFCC. All of the attendees proved that the book is not dead, and people no matter what their age, love YA.
Thanks to everyone who made the weekend so brilliant. Whether you are a new friend, an old friend, an author who I met or a person I spoke to in an author queue. The weekend wouldn’t have been the same without you.