Monday 13 August 2018

YALC 2018: Learning the Ropes

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Hands up, who's been to YALC before?

YALC 2018 took place over three days, 27-29 July, and featured a myriad of authors, publishers, bloggers and PR people all involved with Young Adult literature. For a big fan of the genre, such as myself, YALC is the place to be - an event that many people look forward to all year round.

2018 was my first year going (primarily due to never remembering to book tickets until the event has passed) and what can I say - YALC took my expectations and absolutely smashed them to pieces.

YALC and Me

Now, almost two weeks on when I've finally got a chance to sit back and reflect on my experience (it's been a ridiculously busy summer so far!)  I can see why so many people return to YALC year after year.

For me, it wasn't just about getting the chance to pick up some fab new books and meet authors whose work I love; instead, one of the best and most surprising parts of the event was getting to meet fellow likeminded people who love Young Adult lit as much as I do. Like that rush of exhilaration you get when you first go to a gig and see thousands of music fans all around you, YALC is similar but just full of bookish folk instead. It's completely unique, and I loved it.

Not being a Londoner meant that I was only able to attend one day of YALC, but I managed to cram so much into that one day that I don't feel as though I missed out... much! I heard that the biggest names and best bits of the weekend usually happen on the Saturday, so as it was most convenient for me, that was the day I picked.

Planning and Preparations

I took the advice of various attendees from previous years and made sure to pack plenty of tote bags for extra book-carrying capacity and also checked the schedule and made a rough personal itinerary in advance. There's so much to do and see at YALC, and if you are unprepared, you're bound to miss out on something!

For my first year, I didn't bother too much with panels, talks or workshops - though next year I hope to get more involved with those. Instead, I picked out a few authors I wanted to meet during the signings, circled one talk I knew I wanted to attend and left the rest of the day free to wander around, visit the stalls and just take in the general vibe.

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During the course of the day, I managed to end up with 16 new books and a variety of bookish swag including bookmarks, posters, badges, postcards, a t-shirt and even more tote bags. In fact, I had so much stuff I struggled to carry it all home with me! Although I set myself a spending limit (which, in hindsight, was an incredibly sensible thing to do) I know I could easily have spent at least double what I did. There's just so much wonderful stuff everywhere you look!

Signings, Panels and More

Aside from loading myself up with all the books I could get my hands on, I also squeezed in time for one talk - Tom and Giovanna Fletcher talking about Eve of Man, their first Young Adult book co-written together. As a massive fan of both Tom and Gi, I knew I couldn't miss out on a chance to listen to them talk about Eve of Man, which, incidentally, was one of my most anticipated reads of the year so far. I also managed to pluck up the courage to ask them a question during the Q&A section of the talk - a personal highlight for me.

eve-of-man, tom-fletcher, giovanna-fletcher, book, yalc

I was lucky enough to meet several authors over the course of the day, all of whom were absolutely lovely and well worth the queues to meet! Frances Hardinge, Lauren James, Amy McCulloch (who also writes as Amy Alward, author of The Potion Diaries) and Tom and Giovanna Fletcher were all kind enough to sign my copies of their books. It's really special to be able to meet an author face-to-face and tell them how much you loved their book!

YALC 2018 was a really special experience for me and I know it is a day that I won't forget in a hurry!


  • Having the confidence to ask a question during the Eve of Man panel
  • Chatting with a fellow YA fan while queueing for Frances Hardinge's signing
  • Meeting Tom and Giovanna Fletcher
  • Jason Momoa randomly wandering through YALC


  • Sore shoulders after carrying so many heavy bags around
  • Not realising you needed to get tickets for certain signings/panels
  • Not being able to buy more books

Next Year:

  • Try to attend more panels and workshops
  • Meet more of my favourite authors
  • Make a personalised itinerary again

Did you go to YALC? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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