Tuesday, 18 August 2015

YALC 2015

Good evening readers, and happy Tuesday! Today is exactly a month since the wonderful event that is YALC, and instead of doing an event wrap-up like I usually do, I thought I would do an event throwback, a month after YALC, so that we can all revel in the lovely squishy nostalgia that always follows an event like YALC. I don't want to make this too long-winded, as I have filmed not one, but two videos about my day at YALC on my booktube channel, but I thought it would also be nice to write a blog post about the day as well. 

Before I get started, I would just like to thank the absolutely brilliant Georgia (who blogs at The Bibliomaniac Book Blog) for the pictures she has kindly given me to make this post pretty. I am not only awful at taking pictures (you should see my attempts at YALC pictures, believe me, they're a sight for very sore eyes), but Georgia also has a fancy pants camera and she was organised enough to be taking pictures of all the fun stuff at YALC, whilst I was turning around in circles mouthing books. so many books omg. So thank you, Georgia, for the pictures! I'm pretty sure that my readers would have known these pictures were not taken by me, even if I hadn't given you a mention!
But now onto the actual YALC stuff.

My day started off swimmingly *note the sarcasm* when my alarm failed to go off. When people are late for things, I always think it's a pathetic excuse when they blame an inanimate object that has absolutely no control over itself, for their tardiness. However, when I experienced this mysterious phenomenon for myself, it really was a complete freak incident. Fortunately, my lovely mother dropped me at Hammersmith which was a huge help. The blogger breakfast that I had been invited to started promptly at nine am, which would have been a bit of an issue, seeing as I only woke up at around eight am. So let's all give a HUGE round of applause to Mrs. Long, everyone.

The bloggers brunch was just as fabulous as last year, and it was a wonderful opportunity for the community (gosh, I'm a poet) to get together, celebrate amazing authors, and get our mitts on some truly lovely books. Oh, also there was coffee. And pastries. Yum. I was extra excited this year to see Louise O' Neill, Annabel Pitcher and Patrick Ness, who are three of my favourite authors ever. I'm still kicking myself that I was too shy to speak to Patrick Ness, but my fangirling mostly consists of me standing in a corner wide-eyed and waving a book in said author's face. Not cool. So I am glad that I spared poor Patrick Ness that, at least. I was very happy about talking to Annabel Pitcher and Louise O' Neill, as they are both fabulous authors, and people generally.

The Mental Health in YA panel was wonderful, and authors Holly Bourne, Brian Conaghan, Annabel Pitcher and Matt Whyman (and chair Imogen Russell Williams) were great speakers. The panel further emphasised that no topic in YA is left undiscussed, and that it is a genre that is all-inclusive and gives voices to the most marginalised in our society.

After the Mental Health in YA panel, it was definitely time for a spot of book shopping! Shopping for books at YALC (even if you have about 30 at home you still need to read *slaps wrist*) is a huuuuggggeeeee investment if you think about it, because there are amazing deals like three paperbacks or two hardbacks for £10, a lot of £5 book deals, and also because you can buy YA you have meant to purchase since forever, then get the author to sign it! So it really is a wise decision to buy books at YALC, even if you wallet (or shelf space) says otherwise. So fortunately, and unfortunately for my tote bags, I came away with five books in the first ten minutes of book shopping. But I felt very satisfied, so that's all that matters, right?

The Bringing Sexy Back panel was definitely the highlight of my day at YALC. I, along with everyone else in the audience, soon had tears of laughter streaming from our eyes at the hilarious James Dawson, Non Pratt, Louise O' Neill, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. However, it wasn't only a thoroughly entertaining panel; it was incredibly informative and I came away with several questions like, 'Why is PSHE so crap in schools? What happened to sex ed? Why don't we include all sexual orientations when talking to teens about sex?' Seriously, if you didn't attend this panel at YALC, you were missing out big time.

Next I went to my very first workshop at YALC (ooooh, swish) and it was so rewarding and interesting. I went to Taking Your Blog to the Next Level, hosted by Andy Robb and featuring Vivienne Dacosta, Lucy Powrie and Jim (one of my favorite bloggers, check out his site here). I was also very excited to meet Michelle, who blogs at Tales of Yesterday, another of my favourite blogs. She was so lovely too, and saved me a goody bag filled with gorgeous books! 
The LGBT in YA panel was also a must-see, and it featured many of my favourite authors: Liz Kessler, James Dawson, Den Patrick, Lisa Williamson and chair Julia Bell. I have read so many AWESOME LGBT YA books this year, and it is definitely a genre that continues expanding and growing all the more great. My favourites have to be 100% This Book Is Gay and Read Me Like a Book. I also picked up The Art of Being Normal and can't wait to read it!

The final event I attended was the panel Booktubing for Beginners with the wonderful Sanne Vliengenthart, Lucy Richardson and Amy Thurgood, who are three of my favourite booktubers! So it was really rewarding to attend this intimate panel and hear their top tips firsthand, as well as their advice for making your booktube channel as successful as possible. I definitely took a lot away from this workshop, and I hope that my channel benefits from it!

All in all, YALC 2015 was bloody brilliant. The atmopshere, the authors, the books... everything was marvellous in every way imagineable. The new venue was perfect; it didn't get too hot or too busy, but the atmosphere was electric from the morning until the evening. There is no other event that encapsulates so perfectly the fact that YA books are the best ones out there, and the books as well as the authors that wrote them can change the world in more ways than you can imagine.

Check out my videos for YALC 2015:

Check out the official YALC page here: http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/adults/young-adults/yalc/

Until next time :)

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