It’s been five days since YALC ended, meaning that by this point you are probably aware of the exact number of times the words ‘Harry Potter’ were spoken during those few days, and just how many people were lost in the epic queue for Maggie Steifvater’s signing session. With that in my mind, therefore, I will attempt to find at least one thing you aren’t yet aware of, and bring to you
An Anxiety-suffering, Ginger Hobbit’s point of view, of the Young Adult Lit Convention 2016.
So, I’m not going lie, I was pretty terrified about attending YALC this year. If you’d seen me on Friday morning, you’d probably have thought I was about to face-off against an Hungarian Horntail, based on my ghostly pallor and fidgeting fingers,
but thankfully, the most dangerous thing you’ll bump into at YALC is a multi-tote wielding bookworm.
Because if there’s one thing YALC knows how to do well, it’s SWAG!!!
(This was just from Day #1!)
I have never been given so much free stuff than I was this weekend at YALC. Look at it in all it’s awesomely pretty bookishness! I now have enough tote bags, postcards, bookmarks, and badges to last me a lifetime (or until YALC 2017).
But of course, as wonderful as it is to be given badges that you don’t really know quite what to do with (because what exactly is the function of a badge?) YALC is all about amazing authors talking about writing so much that even if you never wanted to be a writer beforehand, after a weekend of having inspiration thrown at you from every which way, you’ll find you’ve planned out a seven-part series in your head, complete with fictional language and caste system.
The panels really were incredibly interesting. Some definite highlights for me were:
- The Morally Complicated YA panel, with Manuela Salvi, Emerald Fennel, Louise O’Neill and Melvin Burgess, which discussed the banning of books, using stories set in dystopia to hold a mirror up to our own world, and how life isn’t considered controversial, but writing about life is.
- The Fantasy London panel, with Samantha Shannon, Ben Aaronovitch, and Victoria Schwab, talking about how a city like London, steeped in such history, is the perfect backdrop for an alternative reality story. (Also, was really excited to hear Samantha talking about how The Bone Season series is going to look at dystopia on a global scale, something that hasn’t really been explored before).
- The Horror Inspirations panel, with Dawn Kurtagich, Darren Shan, Derek Landy, and Alex Scarrow, which was incredibly fascinating, because it was so interesting to hear about how each author had come to write the styles of horror they do, and the monsters they do, as a result of books and films they grew up on, (chiefly, Stephen King novels, and Carpenter films).
I really felt that by the end of the weekend every area of publishing a book, from the inspiration, right through to the release date, had been discussed, and it was great to get such an overview of the process from a creative point-of-view.
One thing I’d definitely love to see a panel on next year though would be Cover Design, with some of the artists who are designing such wonderful covers for YA right now. Such unappreciated geniuses!
Obviously, one cannot attend a book convention without buying a few books, but aside from the few that I bought in order to get signed (having previously read them as NetGalley ARCs or Kindle E-Books), I forbade myself from buying any that I could buy elsewhere (thankfully, because if I bought one single book more, I wouldn’t have had enough room in my suitcase to take them home)! However, I did pick up a few from a smaller publisher I had never heard of before, Hope Road Publishing, which I will definitely be on the look out for more in the future.
As a keen reader and blogger, I’m so aware of the lack of diversity in publishing, in both the UK and worldwide, so it was great to see Hope Road at YALC, which is a publishers devoted to supporting authors of African, Asian and Caribbean descent. They had such an eclectic selection of books on display at their stand, I could’ve quite literally bought them all, but I restricted myself to You’re Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood, Dew Angels by Melanie Schwapp, and Black Taj by Mohini Kent.
All three sound like really great stories, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out on what else Hope Road publish in the future.
(If you’ve got any tips for other publishers which support diversity in reading, please let me know in the comments, or over on my Twitter.)
So that was a brief snapshot of my weekend at YALC. I’m hoping to do a full book haul over on my BookTube channel in the next few weeks, and I promise to get back into blogging here more frequently again, something which has suffered lately as a result of life stuff.
If you went to YALC this year, what were your favourite moments? And, if you didn’t, will I see you there next year? Let me know in the comments!