Last Sunday I went to YALC: Young Adult Literature Convention at London Film and Comic Con. Every year it’s held at the Olympia London convention centre during the last weekend of July and as tradition, I went this year again.
YALC was laid out to be pretty much identical to last year, rather than switching up yet again so there was no confusion at the start which was nice. There were all the stalls from various publishers, with a few new independent ones this year (but Quirk Books were nowhere to be found which was a shame) along with some smaller author stalls. I think my favourite stall this year had to be MacMillans purely because of the massive Wayward Son banner they had along the expanse of their wall which I don’t think can ever be beaten.
What they had this year which I thought was really cool were free toiletries (pads, tampons, etc) in the bathroom which you were able to help yourself to if you found yourself needing any. This was sponsored by Hannah Witton’s new book The Hormone Diaries and was definitely a great edition to the convention and something I think should be seen in more places.
Short and sweet: I got none of my books signed this year.
Now, at this point you may be thinking ‘what!!???’ and to be honest if it were someone else my reaction would be the same – so let me explain – Sunday was the only day I was able to make this year due to being out of the country the previous two so I was restricted in my choice of days (i.e. no choice whatsoever). I did consider at one point not going at all due the jet-lag and general tiredness leftover from the flight, but as I’ve been for the last consecutive three years it felt wrong not to.
Although I got no books signed in the end, I did begin the day intending to get my copy of The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon signed, however as she’s a popular author there was a lot of people wanting similar so I ended up over 100 in the queue. In addition, she had a panel on, so her signing began at 2pm but only lasted for an hour as she needed to go on stage, with the second half resuming at 5pm and my jet-lagged self was already falling asleep so I decided to wait until next year.
Whilst I didn’t get any books signed, I didn’t leave the con empty handed. In past years at YALC my self-restraint, put simply, has been non-existent and I always find myself surrounded by too many freebies (surprisingly it is possible) in the days after; feeling guilty at the thought of throwing any of it away. However, realising this, I’ve since managed to decrease the amount every year and I’m pleased to say this year has been the best thus far.
For books, I picked up We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal for cheap, which I’m really excited about as I’ve seen all the hype regarding it online. I also managed to snag a signed copy of King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo as they were running a prize system where you had to sign up on the list before 1pm and afterwards they would select several people who were then able to buy it, as they had limited stock – so pretty pleased about that as well.
Every year at YALC they have a book swap shelf, this year set up in the “chill out zone”, where you can leave books you’ve read/don’t want anymore and exchange them for books other people have left. This time, by some miracle, I managed to remember to bring my unwanted books to trade in and to my luck, someone had left a copy of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss on the shelf so I grabbed it as it’s been on my TBR for a while now. Usually you can find a good book on the shelf so it’s definitely a good place to stop off at and check back at during various point in the day to see whether there are any new additions.
The other items I picked up were a tote bag from Harper Voyager (which looks a bit crumpled as I’ve already folded it up to have in my backpack for emergencies) and a poster with a quote from The Poppy War on it which will make a nice addition to my wall.
London Film and Comic Con
As YALC is part of London Fim and Comic Con, you’re able to wander around the rest of the con which is on the floor below it (1st instead of 2nd) and whilst I don’t spend ages there, it’s something I always make sure to do as some of the cosplays and artists there are really cool. This year they had the car used in Back to the Future and a TARDIS (as in only the police box part) from Doctor Who which you could go inside and take photos with, which of course, I had to do.
Whilst this wasn’t the best YALC experience for me due to a lack of choice in days, it was really fun to be back. The vibe of the whole event is such an enjoyable, fun one and everyone is always so friendly and kind – it’s hard not to love it. Hopefully I’ll be back again next year; maybe attending a day with my favourite authors but I know I’m excited for it already!
Did you attend YALC this year? If so which day did you attend and which authors did you meet?