Hi all! It’s that time of year again, time for another YALC wrap up post (well posts!). These always seem to come around way too quickly, I spend the entire first half of the year waiting for YALC and then before I know it, it’s over and I’m writing one of these posts again! If you don’t know/have not been on Twitter in the past month/or reading my blog, YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention, where for three days at the end of July, Young Adult authors (mostly UK but some Irish and US as well) come and talk about books and sign books and basically celebrate books with all of us book nerds. There are stalls, talks, signings, workshops and it’s all a lot of fun really. As usual, I went with my friend Hannah, we’ve been going together since our very first YALC event back in 2015.
I had pretty much got everything ready the night before (including a mad run around the house when I thought I had lost my 16-25 railcard which turned out to be on my desk chair all along), so all I had to do in the morning was get the last of my things together, get dressed and go. My mum drove me to Royston station where I got the train to London Kings Cross. I spent the entire journey down to London reading The Mime Order, as I knew I was going to meet Samantha Shannon that day!
When I was almost at Kings Cross, I got a text from Hannah saying that she had already arrived at the convention centre (one of the rare occasions where she has been the one waiting for me, not the other way around), so I rushed to get the next underground train heading towards Kensington. After a couple of delays, first getting to Edgware Road and then getting from there to High St Kensington, I finally arrived at Olympia and met up with Hannah. We first went to buy food from the Tesco across the road and then we headed into the convention centre (the guy at the door recognised Hannah because she had been in and out so much whilst waiting for me, which made us laugh a lot).
We got up to the floor, but Hannah realised she didn’t have any cash, which you need for most stalls at YALC, so we had to head back out to find a cash machine. Luckily we didn’t have any trouble getting back in, because we both had hand stamps and the man at the door knew Hannah quite well by that point. We wanted to go to the Publishing 101 talk in the Agents Arena but we couldn’t find it, so we decided we would go to the one the next morning instead. At this point I really needed the loo and Hannah needed to charge her phone so we went our separate ways and then met up when we were both done.
I had a big suitcase full of books, but this year we actually found the cloakroom, so after taking out all the books I needed, I paid a pound to leave my bag there for a day (which I would definitely recommend as lugging a suitcase, plus all the books I had to get signed and any books I bought that day would have been a lot!). We then went over to the Waterstones store, where Hannah bought books for all the authors she wanted to get signed that day. and I got Samantha Shannon’s The Song Rising and Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire. I then realised I had left my copy of Code Name Verity in my bag, so I had to go back to the cloakroom to get it. I probably really annoyed the woman manning the cloakroom but she was very nice about it!
Our first signing of the day was Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, whose book The Witch’s Kiss I had picked up at YALC last year. I hadn’t actually read it yet, but they didn’t seem to mind and were very lovely!
The signings for Melinda Salisbury and Alwyn Hamilton were quite soon after that, but they were both ticketed, so we got our tickets and then left to wander around for a bit, as the next signing we wanted to go to was Elizabeth Wein’s signing and it wasn’t for a while. I finally got a copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin from the Bloomsbury stand (and managed to persuade my friend to get a copy of Throne of Glass). I also bought a copy of Frostblood from the Chapter 5 stand. We had lunch whilst we were waiting as we figured it would be a while.
We actually managed to get to Elizabeth Wein’s signing before Melinda’s or Alwyn’s as their queues were quite big (though we were in the thirties in the queue so not too far back). Elizabeth Wein was lovely, & she drew a very cute rose in both mine and my friend’s copies of Rose Under Fire. Once we were done with hers, we checked back and Melinda Salisbury’s line and our numbers had come up so we joined the queue. It did take a while to actually get to the front, but Melinda was lovely (I swear I haven’t had a bad experience meeting an author yet, they’re the nicest people) and told us she hoped we enjoyed her book. We then got into Alwyn’s queue, as our numbers had come up by the time we had finished with Melinda. The queue was still quite long, so whilst we were waiting, we both got tickets for Samantha Shannon’s queue (quite luckily, ones next to each other, as I got mine from a girl who had got two and then Hannah got hers). The ticketing system has been much improved since last year, we felt, it was actually better that more of the lines were ticketed because it allowed you to do multiple signing queues a bit more easily and they seemed to anticipate which authors were going to have big queues and implemented the tickets quicker.
We finally got to meet Alwyn and she was so lovely, she remembered us from years past which was awesome and chatted to us for quite a bit, as well as letting us take a picture which was great. I think Hannah and I are both agreed that she’s one of our favourite authors we’ve met at YALC!
Once we were done with Alwyn’s line, we moved over to Samantha Shannon’s since we had numbers pretty early on in the queue. Hannah left me waiting as she wanted to get her book signed by Taran Marathu who was signing at the same time. She’d left me with her bags, and I already had quite a lot, but thankfully I made friends with the girls behind me in the queue who very helpfully moved some of the bags for me. We chatted about books and who else we wanted to see that weekend before Hannah returned.
We soon got to see Samantha Shannon and she was, like all the other authors we met absolutely lovely. I told her I had enjoyed The Bone Season and was really enjoying The Mime Order and that I was near the end. She warned me that the ending was brutal, and yet I was still super shocked when I finally finished it today. She also told us a funny story about how she had been signing once and had spelled a girl’s name wrong in all of her books because the girl hadn’t corrected her and she just assumed, so now she never assumes how to spell people’s names! She had a load of different pens for signing and let us choose which one we wanted as well as putting a Scion stamp in our books, hers was definitely my favourite signing of that day.
When we were done with Samantha Shannon, we headed right over to the Laure Eve queue (most of Friday really was just skipping between one signing queue and the next!). Laure asked to borrow my book to check something for the person before us, which we thought was a little strange, but it turned out she was writing a quote from the book in French and had to check that she was getting the quote right, as it had been a while since she wrote the book. We talked for a bit, she was again lovely and told us she hoped we enjoyed her book.
After all that excitement, we finally got a bit of a breather, as the next authors we wanted to see weren’t signing until 4, so we had a good hour until then. I managed to pick up an early finished copy of Daughter of The Burning City at the HQ stand, which was awesome as I can’t wait to read that book. I also picked up a copy of Spellslinger at the Hot Key books stand, which I was so happy about as it sounds like such a good book and has a gorgeous cover! We then sat and chatted for a bit until it was time to go to the last signings of the day. It had been quite a hectic day at this point, so we were glad for the break!
Once it was time, we headed over to Teri Terry’s signing queue. It was quite long, so I left Hannah there waiting to go and check on the Sophie McKenzie queue. That was actually really short which surprised me as she’s quite a big name YA author, but it was so short I managed to get my books signed whilst there. She asked me why I’d chosen the books I had to get signed, and I told her that Split Second was my favourite of her books and that the Girl Missing series were the first of her books I read (that and the Medusa Project). I also told her about the time I missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed in one of her books, which she found funny. She was so lovely and I’ve been wanting to meet her for so long, so I’m really happy that she was nice! I then went back to the queue with Hannah and waited to get our books signed by Teri Terry. She was also lovely, and she signs her books Teri squared, which we thought was really funny!
We then went back over to Sophie McKenzie’s signing for Hannah to get her book signed, she asked if Hannah had read the book she was getting signed and she said she hadn’t but that I had recommended it to her. She then said she hoped Hannah enjoyed it before wishing us a good YALC and saying goodbye.
It was quite early when we were done, around 4.30 ish but there wasn’t anything else we wanted to do, we had got all the books we wanted signed, seen all the stands and weren’t interested in the last talk of the day, so we decided to duck out early. I got my bag back from the cloakroom and then we left to head back to Hannah’s place in Windsor, to eat a massive amount of pizza and watch Harry Potter. All in all, a very good first day of YALC!
Here are some pictures from Day 1 of YALC:
Me and Hannah with Alwyn Hamilton
My YALC Haul from Friday, it’s a little blurry so from top to bottom we have:
- Rose Under Fire
- A Court of Wings and Ruin
- Daughter of The Burning City
- The Song Rising
The books I got signed at YALC on Friday, again it’s a little blurry so we have (again from top to bottom):
- Rose Under Fire
- The Witch’s Kiss
- The Graces
- The Sin Eater’s Daughter
- Traitor To The Throne
- The Song Rising
- The Mime Order
- The Bone Season
- Code Name Verity
- Every Second Counts
- Split Second
- Sister, Missing
- Missing Me
- Girl, Missing
I also got Book of Lies by Teri Terry signed but like an idiot I forgot to include it in the picture!
My signed Alwyn Hamilton
My signed Samantha Shannon books (so pretty no?)
Signed Sophie McKenzie
Signed Elizabeth Wein (it might be kind of hard to see the rose but it is there!)
Signed Melinda Salisbury (when Hannah saw the inscription, “All that glitters isn’t gold” she said, darn you just ruined one of my favourite songs!)
Signed Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
Signed Laure Eve
Signed Teri Terry
That’s all for day one, stay tuned for my Day Two recap very soon!