This year I went to YALC: Young Adult Literature Convention, on the Saturday of the event, where I got to meet authors and go to panels. After my previous post on who I was going to see this year and past years (which I’ll link here) I thought to do an overview of my time at the event.
I went to YALC with one of my friends this time (like every other time actually) and we set off fairly early so we could get there for 09:30. Of course timings never go as well as you want them to but the first signing was at 11:00 so we still had about an hour to wander before needing to do anything planned.
The two of us had a browse around the stalls and my friend won a free book (of course I didn’t knowing my luck) so that was pretty amazing, considering it within the first ten minutes we were there. I needed to go buy a couple books, I got Are We All Lemmings And Snowflakes? and State Of Sorrow and then commenced the first signing.
The 11:00 signing was the Floored one so with 7 authors to see within the 2 hour slot of course it was destined to be a stressful experience. I saw Holly Bourne first and we bonded over the Pizza Express dough balls we both love and happened to have the day prior; I got my books signed so all was well. After Holly I saw Sara Barnard, Eleanor Wood and Tanya Byrne; as I had only read Floored and only a single other book by Sara not much conversation took place and was more of a quick hello, sign, goodbye, occurrence.
After 4 signings for me and a whole load of waiting for my friend (as we had all different books par Holly’s AWALAS) we decided to have a quick break from queuing and changed it up to having a look around the stalls some more. We returned back to the signing area only to find out that Non Pratt’s signing was supposedly over and Melinda had moved somewhere and I was given a point in the general direction. This caused frantic panic that I wouldn’t get Floored signed by every co-author nor the three other books of Melinda that I had brought (as after having five done one could not simply ignore the other missing two). There was about five minutes of my running around the con, asking three other helpers for directions to where she had gone to (as I couldn’t find the original woman) and to my luck none of them knew. After returning to the signing section for another scan I noticed that Non Pratt’s queue had only grown in length so of course my reaction to this was ‘what!?’ and I proceeded to join the heck out of that queue. Deciding to take the opportunity as a last resort, I asked Non if she knew where Melinda was and lo and behold she did. Ecstatic I went over to the Scholastic stand, where she was located, and felt a bit dumb over somehow missing the cue coming out of the stand, but then again, it could have easily been a limited proof giveaway. I got my books signed and had a chat with her the ending of The Sleeping Prince the second book in her trilogy, and left scared over the apparently similarly soul-destroying ending of her newest release.
There’s more to literature conventions than signings, with that being panels. Due to the timings of the day we didn’t manage to catch a full one but over lunch we managed to listen to the end of the Books & Boobs with Alice-May Purkiss and the charity Coppafeel, which discussed several women’s experiences with breast cancer. It was super interesting, more so because the women speaking were younger than the average age of patients with disease, meaning they provided an insight that I hadn’t heard before. We also caught some of the Amongst The Stars panel, on fiction set in Space, with Samantha Shannon, Lauren James, Becky Chambers and Sasha Alsberg. The panel was super packed as the authors were some of the bigger names at the con and the audio wasn’t great so that was sort of annoying but what I did hear I liked. The last one we listened to for the briefest period and was called My Body, My Way and I have to say I didn’t find it to be particularly invigorating.
The final signing I went to was Samantha Shannon’s and boy did she have a long queue, however I was also majorly grateful that I decided not to buy Children Of Blood And Bone because Tomi Adeyemi’s queue was the longest out of all the authors that day (and probably all of YALC), which was super amazing considering it was her debut novel. I do feel sorry for some of the people wanting to see her though because not everyone was able to get their books signed. At this point my friend took one look at the queue I was in and proceeded to go back to listen to some more of her panels and read one of her recent buys, it took me around an hour and a half to get to the front which wasn’t the worst I’ve experienced and I did manage to talk to a couple people in the queue so it wasn’t too bad.
After the signing we had another quick look around and went home around 16:30, which is one of the shorter cons but we were exhausted from all the queuing so it was definitely the right move. I’m still pretty buzzed from the day and already counting down the days until the next one.
Now, for the other, equally important part:
These are all the books that I got signed on the day, I pre-owned all of them apart from AWALAS and State Of Sorrow.
This is the first batch of freebies that I got. The first postcard was from the charity Hello Me, It’s You and the Star Wars bookmark and postcard were from Chronicle Book‘s stall. The #KindnessIsContagious pin was from Usborne YA’s stall and was given out if you’d bought Holly’s book, and I cannot for the life of me remember where the second enamel pin was from.
These I all got (to my memory) from the BKMRK stall. The Grishaverse notebook they were giving out upon completion of a themed quiz and the rest were available upon signing up to their newsletter.
I bought these from the Gollancz stall where they were doing a 2 books for £10 sale and giving out a free tote bag along with it. £5 books are pretty common at YALC but I was pretty pleased with this buy because I’ve been eyeing Brandon Sanderson for a while and the other cheap books weren’t grabbing me hugely. I thought the tote bag was pretty cool in design despite having mixed feelings on Victoria Aveyard’s writing.
So that concludes my overview for YALC 2018, it was a really good experience which I’d recommend to any other book lover with accessible transport for London.
Have you been to any book cons before? If so, who did you see and what was it like?