It is YALC time again and I promise this will be the last time I talk about it on the blog until I decide to go again next year! This is Part 2, because it was such a fun-packed, exhausting weekend that there was no way I was writing everything up in one post. If you missed it, you can find part 1 here, which I smuggled into my July Wrap Up.
Fun, overwhelming, exhausting, and insane, are just some of the words I can think of to describe my entire YALC weekend. There were a couple of hiccoughs in regards to a couple of the signings and the general organisation of the weekend, but for the most part it was amazing to be in a room full of like-minded people, talking and getting to meet a couple of Twitter friends, and buying books without breaking the bank too much.
I went to 5 in total:
- Sally Green,
- Sara Bernard,
- Clémentine Beauvais,
- Lydia Ruffles,
- Jodi Taylor (who was downstairs at LFCC).
All the signings were great and I had to laugh at myself that I went all the way down to YALC to see a local author (Sally Green). Saying that, there were two signings which topped them all and for me those were Clémentine Beauvais and Jodi Taylor’s signings!
Clémentine’s because it was great to gush about finding a French YA novel I loved and then having both the French and English editions personalised in different ways,
Jodi Taylor’s because we talked a while about so many different bookish things. It completely made up for the fact her stand was not easy to find when I went downstairs into LFCC on the Saturday.
- It was so packed compared to YALC and the crowds really got to me.
- The helpers at the info desk were utterly clueless that they even had author stands on the floor.
Jodi Taylor wasn’t on the main LFCC schedule so I can understand their ignorance, but it was just that the one guy I asked had the gall to say all the authors were upstairs even when I told him she wasn’t involved with YALC. Luckily I found her and the stand easily enough the second time round as I went down about 4pm when it was quieter and I’d finished with YALC for the day.
Right now, I’m glad I have the first three in paperback and signed because I now have a reason to start buying the others in paperback too. YAY! Also, props to Asha @A Cat, A Book and A Cup of Tea for being so kind in offering to send me a duplicate copy of The Long and the Short of It, a collection of short stories in the St Mary’s world which I resisted on buying.
- Centenary of the Women’s Vote with Alwyn Hamilton, Katherine Webber, Sally Nicholls & Sheena Wilkinson
- Tale as Old as Time with Deirdre Sullivan, Kristina Perez, Louise O’Neill, Mary Watson & Melissa Albert
- Growing up in the Past with Frances Hardinge, Keren David , Laura Wood & Lucy Adlington
- Amongst the Stars with Becky Chambers, Lauren James, Samantha Shannon & Sasha Alsberg
- My Body, My Way with Charli Howard, Charly Cox, Dhonielle Clayton, Laura Dockrill & Laura Steven
- Traveller’s Life For Me with Cecilia Vinesse, Clémentine Beauvais, Emily Barr & Rutendo Tavengerwei
- Real World, Real Me with Akemi Dawn Bowman, Eve Ainsworth, Holly Bourne, Lisa Williamson & Lydia Ruffles
They were all fantastic panels but I was particularly struck by the Real World, Real Me panel and Eve Ainsworth’s words regarding mental health, illness, and how everyone around the person dealing with those aspects of life is affected. It hit me in such a profound manner and I like it when I find authors and books that do touch on such powerful subjects. I now want to pick up her book Tender as it sounds very relatable to me and often those books become my favourites even if they are hard hitting and non-escapist.
A Traveller’s Life For Me was also a panel that satisfied my identity as a polyglot as it was interesting to hear Clémentine Beauvais talk about the translation process from French to English, and how she didn’t expect her book to be published for the English market. Also, I will have to get through the issue of looking up a word in my French dictionary every five minutes because there are some aspects of Songe à la Douceur that were different to In Paris With You and I need to discover those, which I can only do on re-reading it in full.
I can’t believe I forgot this as well but in the tradition of YALC, a few celebrities from LFCC decided to make an appearance upstairs too – Jason Manoa from Game of Thrones who startled nearly everyone in the ‘Amongst the Stars’ panel when he walked out of the door adjacent to the panel area where everyone could see, and Peter Capaldi. I only heard about the latter via Twitter as I think I’d left or was in a different location when he was wandering around. In a similar vein, silence spread over the My Body, My Way panel when it was announced that David Tennant would be in the building on the Sunday! Although I was never going to go down to meet him, I was still a little struck by the realisation I would be in the same building as my favourite Doctor!
Anyway, I left YALC at 2pm on the Sunday and whilst that seemed rather early, I think it worked out for the best as I’d done everything and had all the books I wanted by that point. It was also nice just to walk back to the hotel and chill out watching endless re-runs of Castle and Bones on the TV. It definitely saved my feet and gave my back, shoulders and neck, some time to recover. Actually, I think my back and neck is still hating me now! Urgh.
Apart from a few niggles here and there, I can’t fault the YALC experience. It was nice to see nearly all of my favourite authors under one roof and experience an event I wouldn’t get up North. Although the North West now has the Northern YA Lit Fest in Preston, it would be amazing to see a similar convention to YALC somewhere in the Midlands where it is easier and cheaper for many bookworms to get to (Rachael, if you are reading this, please tell me if you agree or not)! It would definitely save us Northern bookworms having to go down to London for everything, and I know I’m speaking for myself here but I personally tire of London really quickly, especially when it’s as scorching as it was on the Thursday and Friday.
I geeked out, bought a lot of books, picked up lots of swag and had so much bookish fun! That’s about it, really.
If you were at YALC, what were your highlights?
Would any of you like to see a Northern or Midlands YALC in the future?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!