Last Sunday, I spent a wonderful day at the Southbank Centre in London at the Young Adult Literature Weekender, or YALW. There were loads of cool panels and workshops scheduled, and I was very excited to attend with my sister – who’s just set up her own book blog, My Shelf and Myself.
On arrival, the first thing we did was go and check out the YA market. There was a stand for the YA Book Prize, who were running a competition where you tweeted them your favourite YA book to be entered into a draw for a YA book bundle. I also stopped by the Reading Hack stand, and wrote down a book I think is good for feeling happy – my choice was Everything, Everything, which is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year (so far!).
After that, we stopped by another stall where you could make a mini book and bind it yourself, which I thought was really cool. The people helping out there were also really lovely and chatty.
By this point, it was time for the first talk to begin! It was called The Stars of Tomorrow, and it was Juno Dawson discussing being a debut author with David Owen, Patrice Lawrence and Harriet Reuter Hapgood. I’ve heard of all those authors, but haven’t read any of their books yet, and having found out a bit about them all, I am definitely interested in reading all of their books. Also, I remembered the quality of Juno Dawson’s panel-leading from YALC 2015, and I have to say she was just as fab as I remembered.
From there, we hurried off to the great workshop run by George Lester on blogging and vlogging for beginners. His tips were excellent, and I felt I learnt a lot from him – and got some great recommendations of blogs to follow. I also managed to catch the last bit of the panel on friendship after that, so I was very pleased that I got to do both the events that had caught my eye on the programme.
Next there was an amazing workshop run by Chibundu Onuzo on how to get published. I thought she was amazing – the way she spoke was so entertaining and engaging, and she was so charismatic and friendly that it would’ve been difficult indeed not to have a good time.
Finally, we caught the end of a talk on darkness in YA, got books signed by Juno Dawson – and she has such a cool way of signing Spot the Difference – and finally chatted about themes of immigration in African literature at another one of the stands in the YA market.
Overall, I had such a lovely day – and I won the book bundle from the YA Book Prize contest, which I feel incredibly lucky to have won – and with YA Shot this Saturday, I feel very fortunate to have two amazing events that I’m attending so close together. Did you go to YALW? Are you planning on going to YA Shot?