Friday. The first day of YALC 2019. An early morning, a reasonable train ride and I arrive at Olympia, home to both LFCC and YALC for the next three days.
YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention. It is filled with panel discussions of numerous topics, an eclectic selection of workshops, publisher stalls and, above all, books. It is exactly my kind of place.
On arrival, however, I was in for a surprise. Contrary to previous years, where I managed to practically walk in, this time I just kept walking around the venue, trying to find the end of the queue. After arriving at around 10am, I got in about 45 minutes later.
Once inside, my first two ports of call were the café for a well needed cup of tea (and a brownie), then the information booth to pick up the tote bag included in the 3-day pass. An added bonus was the inclusion of a Dark Phoenix film poster in the tote bag goodies.
By this point, it was getting close to the start of the first panel, so I dropped in there. This particular panel covered mental health in books and each author spoke about their own experiences and opinions writing about mental health. It was interesting, but I did feel that they could have gone more in depth about some of the topics. It also overran so there was no time for audience questions.
After the panel, it was time to browse. I wandered around the stalls, seeing who was there, the books available and entered a few giveaways. I also bought a few books – this trend continued throughout the day. I also got chatting to some other people there, and one lovely person even gave me a spare copy they had of Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy!
One of my favourite things about YALC is how many new authors I discover, and I always end up picking up books I had never heard of before. I do wish that some of the larger names did not dominate quite so much – in one case, half a stall was just John Green, a book I was already seeing everywhere anywhere. On the upside though, there were a number of stalls for individual, indie authors and I am excited to learn more about their books in the next few days.
Lunch came around and I left the warmth of the hall into the slightly drizzling outdoors. From there, I made my way to Wagamama’s where I was meeting a friend for lunch. The change of scene, pace and the good food was just what I needed, not to mention catching up and chatting away.
On my return to YALC, I had another bit of a browse, then a quick sit down, before the next panel – YA retellings. This one was fascinating. The two authors were talking about adapting stories of both live and fictional people for a new audience, the research involved in this as well as some interesting nuggets of information they had uncovered. Both books sounded amazing – a retelling of Mulan (The Hand, The Eye & The Heart by Zoe Marriott, and the story of Mary Shelley (Monsters by Sharon Dogar). Both seemed interesting on the offset, but after hearing the authors talk about them, it only made me more eager to read them. Definitely the sign of a good panel.
A trip to the Illumicrate stall where the queue had finally died down and a short sit-down later, I found myself debating whether to call it a day or go to the final event. In the end I opted for the former option. I was worn out, with a bag full of books to lug home, and two days left of YALC – I really did not wat to overdo it on the first day.
A 15 minute walk to Hammersmith, and I made my way home, ready to browse through my book purchases and reflect on the day. All in all, I really enjoyed the first day of YALC. I took it slowly, not rushing around trying to fit everything in and it definitely paid off. I also have a lot planned for the next couple of days to keep me occupied – panels, exploring, people to meet. Bring it on!
Books Acquired: 8
Panels Attended: 2