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YA Shot 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

22nd October saw the second YA Shot event in Uxbridge, London. You can read my post about last year's event here. This year was even bigger and even better! I had such a lovely day.

I drove to Uxbridge on Friday afternoon; I'd booked a room in the Premier Inn in Uxbridge which is really new, very clean, very quiet, and has a huge car park. I'd definitely recommend it if you want to go to YA Shot next year, and even if you'd like to visit London but not stay in the centre. I lounged around feeling very luxurious in my hotel room, and I had food with my friend Von, and I went to sleep all cocooned in the duvet.

Having gone to YA Shot last year, I knew I could park in the Intu shopping centre and walk across to the civic centre. It cost me £10 for up to ten hours, which seemed absolutely reasonable. Having learnt my lesson at YALC, I had brought a suitcase with plenty of room for books, which was a little bit annoying to wheel around all day, but worth it! I arrived at the venue at around 10.30 and greeted by Alexia Casale and her mum, and went into hear the opening comments.

The first panel I went to was over in the Ministry of Magic, and it was "Out of the past: the age of the Tudors and Stuarts in YA", and was chaired by Andrew Prentice along with Ally Sherrick, Jane Hardstaff, and Jonathan Weil. While I'll probably never write any historical fiction, I enjoyed the panel and liked the sound of Ally's book, so bought it.

Here's this panel:

I headed back over to Middle Earth to hear a panel I was very excited about, called "The sound of music: the role and portrayal of music and the music industry in YA". I was excited to hear Chris Russell speak as I heard he went down a storm at YALC, I also really liked hearing Eleanor Wood, and the other panellists Marianne Levy and Sophia Bennett were excellent too. I asked a question about writing about music itself and whether they found it as difficult as I do - which they said they did! I bought Eleanor's book and went up to get it signed. I also spoke to Chris and he signed my notebook, and he gave me this Songs About A Girl wristband. 

This was the music in YA panel, it was really funny and cute. 

Here's my glittery event wristband and Songs About A Girl wristband, aren't they both cute?

My next panel was "Multiplicity: innovative ways of exploring identity in YA", chaired by Hilary Freeman with Kathryn Evans and Jeannie Waudby. It was really interesting and each of the panellists was very honest about their work which I appreciate. I went to speak to them in the signing room and all three were lovely. I'm really intrigued by the premises of Kathy's and Jeannie's books and look forward to reading them, and as you'll have seen previously, I really enjoyed When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman. 

This is a photo from this panel. I love Kathy's hair and dress so much!

After this I went and sat outside to eat my lunch; it was cool but not too chilly and honestly it was nice to have a bit of a break. Then I headed back into the Ministry of Magic for "The hurt locker: love, loss, and coping" with Sarah Alexander and Jenny Downham and chaired by Claire Furniss. Their novels all sound right up my street - gritty and realistic. I asked a question about whether there's anything they wouldn't write and they all felt that no, as long as it was done sensitively and with respect. 

I bought both of Claire's book because the blurbs both sounded excellent, and the others' books too, so afterwards I went back to the signing room yet again. I felt like I spent a lot of time in that room but the queues were really short and it was done really well. 

After that I had a bit of a chill out again in a quiet few seats near the signing room. I needed it and I was glad that kind of space was available! I was waiting for Lisa Heathfield to sign my copy of Seed, which I'd started reading on the Friday night. She was incredibly lovely and I gushed about how much I'd liked Paper Butterflies, even though it absolutely destroyed me emotionally!

Then I headed down to the final panel of the day, "To have and have not: exploring poverty, privilege and class through YA", which was chaired by Polly Ho-Yen with Michael Byrne, Patrice Lawrence and Steve Tasane. This is one of the things that I'm passionate about in YA - I think issues of class and privilege are massively underexplored at the moment. I couldn't buy books by these authors because the Waterstones stall had packed away, so I ordered them online while I was sitting in the audience. I am so glad that the organisers included a panel like this in the day. 

This is a photo from that final panel. 

Afterwards, I went back to my car and set off back up north. It wasn't a bad journey, just very dark in places! I should have booked another night in the hotel really. Next year I will!

And here's what I bought. Don't they all look so inviting?! They're all signed except for Boys Don't Knit which I picked up just because it appealed to me!

I think the organisers did so well again - YA Shot has a really welcoming, DIY atmosphere with no division between authors and visitors. I spoke to lots of authors about my own work which was really grand, and I just had a wonderful time. I can't wait for next year!

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