This past weekend saw the return of Preston’s NorthernYALitFestival, based at the University of Central Lancashire with a host of great panels, signings, workshops, and stalls.
Only in its second year, the NYALitFest excelled itself, proving that it can rise to the heights of YALC and even surpass it at times in terms of its organisation and the incredible lack of frenzied dashing for ARCs. Everything was relaxed, evenly spaced out, and it made for such a great experience.
This year, the event was held in the Greenbank Building of the university and it was such a better space for everything. You had one area for the stalls, one room further along in the building for the Creative Writing Workshop, another I assume for the Speed Dial with Agents and a specific lecture theatre for the panels. There was even a cafeteria and a large sofa area to lounge in in-between panels and signings. Like I said, it made everything totally relaxed and enjoyable. Also a bonus when you’re still trying to dry off from the soaking we all got on the way to the event! I think it took until the early afternoon for my rucksack to finally dry and feel comfortable enough to carry on my back!
My order of the day looked a little like this
10am – 11:30am – Creative Writing Workshop with Lucy Christopher. There was also one running with Melvin Burgess at the same time. I learnt a lot in this about my own writing process and how we insert our voices into our writing so I cannot wait to put it into practise and finally start writing properly again!
(at the same time as the workshop were the YA Thrillers and Feminist Fantasy panels. I am a little sad about missing the Fantasy panel but the signing was good enough for me.)
11:45am – Signing with Melinda Salisbury, Samantha Shannon, Laure Eve and Rose Edwards.
1pm-1:45pm – Inclusiveness in YA Panel with Non Pratt, A.J.Hartley, Bali Rali and Mel Darbon
2:30pm-3:15pm – Shame-less Panel with Katherine Webber, Melvin Burgess, Laura Steven and Tamsin Winter
3:15pm-4pm – Shame-less Panel Signing
4pm-5pm – Mental Health in YA with Lisa Williamson, Alice Broadway, Sara Bernard, Akemi Dawn Bowman and Alexandra Sheppard
5pm-6pm – Signings
Although I can’t exactly remember what time I left, it was before six. And I would have been on my train before then too were it not delayed! (I think that was the order of the evening for a lot of people though).
Of course, I couldn’t go to a book event and come back with books and swag! Also swag I didn’t lose this time which was a huge bonus!
- Poster for Enchantée by Gita Trelease (which I still need to read)
- Bookmarks for Shadowscent, Scar, Enchanteé and A Shiver of Snow & Sky
- Chapter sampler of Under A Dancing Star by Laura Wood (and it’s a prequel retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing which makes me incredibly excited as that’s my all-time favourite play!)
- Song/State of Sorrow badge (Mel Salisbury was handing them out for people who came to her with all 5 of her books)
- Postcards for Following Ophelia (which I picked up at YALC last year and haven’t yet read), The Hand, the Eye & the Heart, The Quiet at the End of the World, The Harm Tree and Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow)
- A book pin from Penguin which says ‘I’m wondering what to read next.’ Probably a pin I should wear 24/7!
I also came back with two ARCs – We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo, and The Harm Tree by Rose Edwards which I also had signed.
And my bought books:
Ink Trilogy by Alice Broadway. She was incredibly nice and amazing when I went to get these signed. And we got early copies of Scar too which is awesome as it’s not actually out for a couple of weeks.
The Hand, The Eye and The Heart by Zoë Marriot (which is apparently a Mulan retelling/inspired book which is exciting), and The Sleeping Prince and The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury.
I was actually impressed by the fact I only bought six books, and they’re the ones I knew I wanted to buy so all in all, I was pretty restrained, which is great for me. Maybe I can harvest some of that restraint and save it for YALC?
With signed books, new books, arcs, swag and a surge of creativity, I was in YA heaven. And now I’m going to use some of the creativity to finish writing the blog posts I need to do and start drafting the WIP that came into my head as a result of the writing workshop.
For those of you who went, how was your NorthernYALitFest experience?
If you’ve been to both the NorthernYALitFest and YALC, do you think there is something both events can learn from each other?
As always, thanks so much for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!