Young Adult Literature Con 2014

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Well this week the YA literary blogosphere has been afire with people raving about the Young Adult Literary Convention that took place this past weekend under the wings of the London Film & Comic Con.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with conventions – I love meeting authors & actors seeing friends in the audience and among the people displaying their wares and seeing the cosplayers BUT I really do not enjoy massive crowds of people, in the past my con of choice has been the MCM Expo in Docklands, followed closely by the LFCC but as con culture has grown in the UK so have the crowds and navigating my way through packed gang-ways makes my want to run away screaming. My past survival technique have always been to get in early, see as much as I can and get out before it gets unmanageable.

You want to know something cool? – I was at YALC on the Sunday and it was utterly magnificent! I was fortunate enough to be invited to a blogger breakfast chat on Sunday morning. The brunch featured appearances by Holly Black, Matt Haig, Non Pratt and James Dawson who each gave a short introduction and promotion of their books followed by a meet & mingle with coffee, juice and croissants.

ezgif.com-resizeJames Dawson being crowned by Rosi Crawley with Non Pratt, Matt Haig & Holly Black seated from left to right next to them

My personal highlights of YALC 2014 (in no particular order) were:

Catching up with wonderful human beings Non Pratt and His Majesty James Dawson the new Queen of Teen
Meeting Matt Haig and chatting about the importance of libraries, reading and the differences between school and public libraries
Seeing (and speaking to) Jim and Darren who were (I think) the only two other male bloggers at the blogger brunch
Speaking to Nina, Rosi & Harriet in person for a change rather than being at the other end of an e-mail
Giving my Ruin & Rising tote bag to a passing teen who had a total fan-girl meltdown when she saw it (she told me she was looking forward to reading book 3 so much and loved my bag and did I know if she could get one if there were any more left)
Meeting the Chapter 5 team (who are also the amazing Hodderscape team) and having a mutual admiration chat – they recognized me because I borrowed their table sign for a Lego Han Solo pic
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Chatting to the Hot Key Books team, getting a hug from Sara O’Connor and a proof of Clariel thus earning my love and dedication for life.
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Finding the 2000AD stand, speaking to Lydia Gittens and discovering that they have a YA imprint called Ravenstone
Being surrounded by my people the book fans, people that geek out when meeting authors and receiving signed books
Catching up with my friends Doctor Manhattan and Zuul (aka Shaun & Jackie)
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Things that I did not do that I really wanted to:
Attend the opening on the first day
Speak to Holly Black – no idea how this did not happen, we were in the same area for ages!
Get a seat at any of the talks – I hung around the back and listened to some but I was too hot and dressed inappropriately to get comfortable
Find any number of friends, authors and associates that I knew were there but did not seem able to locate

What I will do next year:
Book early entry tickets way in advance then arrive early to make sure there is none of that hanging around for hours in a queue to buy tickets
Take at least two water bottles
Wear light and airy clothes
Arrange to go in with a group of friends for mutual defence and protection
Be aware what* is happening, where and at what times
*panels, workshops & author signings

The most important thing anyone can do is support the YALC organisers and agitate for it to become an annual occurrence, this was the first one and it was amazing, I truly believe that next year will be even more spectacular and will do what I can to make sure it happens!

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