On Saturday, I attended YA Shot, a YA (and children’s) literature event in Uxbridge. I was so excited for this – I even wrote a post beforehand about my favourite YA Shot authors! I did go to YALW the weekend before, but YA Shot was quite a lot bigger than that, and I also knew some of the people attending, so it was truly a memorable experience.
Unfortunately, my sister (My Shelf and Myself) and I were running late, so we missed the opening which I’d been hoping to attend, and arrived a tad late to the first event we wanted to attend that day, a workshop on rewriting and editing by SC Ransom. It was a really interesting workshop – she showed us some of the different versions of chapters from her books with editors’ notes. Also, each location at YA Shot was named after a fantastical fictional place, and as Uxbridge Library was Narnia, there was Turkish delight on the table, which was such a lovely touch.
Next up was a talk on relationships in a digital age. It caught my eye because I am a huge fan of Alice Oseman’s books, and I really enjoyed Nicci Cloke’s Follow Me Back, which I have reviewed on this blog. However, from being at the talk, I’m also really keen to read Fox Benwell’s books, because they sound really good, and he seemed like a lovely person as well.
The signing room was almost next door, so then we popped along and got books signed by Alice Oseman and Laure Eve. I’ve seen Laure Eve speak at two Wattpad conventions, but it was cool to finally have a book by her to get signed. Then, my sister and I ate our lunch in the corridors (for want of a better location) and chatted to Jessica and Laura from Maximum Pop Books, as we recognised Laura from all their Facebook livestreams. (On a side note, all the books are signed to ‘Jess and Bex’ because my sister and I are similar in age, and share books, so we get them signed to both of us. We are anticipating an unhappy day in the distant future where we have to split them between us)
Next was a workshop on writing strong story openings with Michelle Harrison. She thought of engaging activities to help us, and although it was scary to share what I wrote, it was also really useful and constructive. After that, there was a blogging workshop run by Laura at Sister Spooky and Viv from Serendipity Reviews, who gave so much amazing blogging advice, and I feel like I’ve really learnt a lot from them.
We got Birdy by Jess Vallance signed, and chatted to her until the beginning of the talk on feminism with Holly Bourne, Rachel McIntyre, Holly Smale and Harriet Reuter Hapgood. I love feminism and Holly Bourne’s books, and the talk was definitely my favourite event of the day. I also jotted down an amazing quote from Holly Bourne, which was ‘You don’t have to emerge from the feminist womb fully evolved like the last stage of a pokémon’.
Up at the signing hall, I got a book signed by Clare Furniss while my sister queued for Jenny Downham’s signing, and we also got some Holly Bourne books signed. Unfortunately, we missed Melinda Salisbury’s signing, which I was so disappointed about, as I adored The Sin Eater’s Daughter (I wrote about it in my post on the best books I’ve read this year!) but the YA Shot and Waterstones pop-up shop staff were lovely and helpful, and contacted her for us. She was in a talk, but said she would come and find us afterwards, and asked the wonderful people at the Waterstones stand to offer us tea, so we got to go into the green room to get tea! She signed our books, and gave us each a copy of her short story, The King of Rats, and I was so pleased to have met her (if you haven’t seen her do a #socksunday on Instagram, you should go look at that now, and I’ll put a link here so there is no excuse not to).
Then we got books signed by Lisa Heathfield and Alwyn Hamilton, and I ran into Luna from Luna’s Little Library and Cora from Tea Party Princess in a signing queue before literally running (I was late) to Uxbridge Library for my last event of the day, a workshop with Chris aka YAfictionados. It was so cool to see people I knew from Twitter, like Chris and Steph (A Little But A Lot), and Chris also climbed on the table in his dedication to give us advice on who to follow and chats to join in with. He was also giving away books, and I got a copy of Under My Skin by Juno Dawson and The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey.
Finally, I went to the Lauren James signing. I had also managed to miss the Krystal Sutherland signing, but on the way to the Lauren James signing, I ran into Katherine Webber, and told her about how I’d hoped to meet her at Krystal’s signing, but had missed it. Being absolutely lovely and fab, she offered to get Krystal to sign my book once I’d got my Lauren James book signed. I was literally over the moon, and so grateful that they both went out of their way to sign a book for me, and they are both such nice people (whose Twitters I would very much recommend following – Katherine’s is here, and Krystal’s is here).
Overall, I had such an amazing day, as shown by this very very long blog post, and I want to say a massive thank you to Alexia Casale for organising this wonderful event, as well as everyone else on the YA Shot team! If you’ve done a YA Shot recap, let me know – I love knowing what panel and workshops other people attended.