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Northern YA Lit Festival!

Monday, March 26, 2018

On Saturday I went to the first Northern YA Festival, held in Preston at one of the university buildings. I was so happy when I first heard of this festival, being held in the north, so I knew I had to go. I booked tickets way back in January and booked for Lee to come with me. He hasn't been to anything like this before, but I hoped he would enjoy himself and he also packed his Nintendo Switch in case he got bored.

We set off bright and early on Saturday morning as I wasn't wholly sure how long it would take to get there and find parking. The first panel wasn't until 11am, and we actually managed to get there just before 10! We parked the car and went into the building. There was already a little queue, so we joined it. We were let in just after 10 and were immediately given a very cute tote bag - all book conferences include tote bags and I'm always very happy with them! I use them afterwards for crochet projects and in the supermarket, so they don't go unused.

The whole conference took place in one room. At the back there were some tables for signing, and some stalls. There was someone selling book themed cupcakes, and one stall which was selling books published by UCLan university itself. There was another publisher stall which was giving away two books each as well as a bunch of bookish postcards, stickers, badges, all of that stuff. I picked up a couple of books and Lee picked up a couple for my friend, who had wanted to go to the conference but couldn't due to illness. I bought a couple of books at the UCLan stall. I had some Christmas money left over and let's just say I didn't come home with much of it! There was also a Waterstones stall, where I bought more books, and Taken Moons were there selling their lovely candles! I think the number of stalls was just right for the number of people that were there.

The first panel was Getting Into Publishing and it was really interesting. Anna Day, who wrote The Fandom, was the only author I was familiar with, but they were all really interesting and I enjoyed the panel. I thought the panel leader was especially good, he directed the panel really well.

Then it was lunchtime so Lee and I headed across the road to eat. We were going to go to Subway but it was packed, so we went two doors down to a falafel place. It was SUCH good food, I really enjoyed it. We went back to the venue and spoke to a few people before the Feminism in YA panel started. I thought it was a good panel too. I love Annabel Pitcher, we've met a couple of times before and I like her books. It was really nice to hear Katherine Webber, too. In the signings afterwards I gave them some of my business cards with my blog address on, since I've reviewed some of their books recently. I have to say that the signing queues were really well organised and moved quickly, which was great.

The next event was Alwyn Hamilton in conversation about her books. I haven't read any of hers and they're not my usual genre, so Lee and I sat at the back and he played on his Switch for a bit. I was texting a friend a bit but I was paying attention too, and Alwyn came across really well, very interesting and passionate about her books. I enjoyed this bit more than I thought I would! I didn't think I owned any of her books, but I think I do have Rebel of the Sands somewhere, I'll have to find it!

The last event was Holly Black in conversation about her books. I have read a lot about her stuff and although again it's not my usual genre, I like the sound of The Cruel Prince so I bought it at the conference. I also got a bunch of swag to go with it, including a really gorgeous tarot style card. Holly was really engaging too and I liked this panel even though I was getting really tired by this point! Fortunately I was near to the front of the signing queue for Holly, so once I'd spoken to her Lee and I were ready to go. It wasn't even half past five!

We got home safely and ordered a takeaway, then decided to watch Star Wars. I was so tired as I always am after conferences, but I thought it was really well done. I have a few comments, like I would have liked more booksellers, and maybe a breakout room, but honestly it was really well done to say it was the first one. I hope there'll be another one next year as I'll definitely go!

I took quite a few photos:

Lee and I waiting in the queue

The book themed cupcakes! Can you see your favourite? I actually bought some of the other flavoured ones she had - the mint ones and the chocolate orange ones were really delicious so I'm sure these were too

Getting ready for the first panel

Anna Day and Teri Terry in the signings afterwards. Anna was very nice!

The frankly amazing falafel I had for lunch. 

The Feminism in YA panel. Laura Steven introduced the panel but didn't stay on it, but her book sounded interesting so I bought it too 

The signing queue towards the end - it was much bigger than this at one point

Alwyn Hamilton - this was taken from the very back of the seating so apologies for quality! She was wearing the most amazing jumpsuit

These are all the books I gt signed. I already owned four of these so took them along, but I bought the others

Lee stole the Patrick Ness poster off the wall at the very end of the event when someone was beginning to remove them

Lee picked up Moxie and How To Bee for my friend, for free. The free ones I chose were A Sky Painted Gold and No Fixed Address, they both looked really interesting. Pillars of Light and Cold Bath Street were both published by UCLan's in house publisher, they were £5 each and I was intrigued by them. The Jacqueline Wilson book is like some kind of fanzine, and it was a whole pound! So I had to have it. Oh, and David Massey had a stall too, his books were all £5 each too. I bought these two as they sounded interesting, he signed them for me.

Finally, here's all the bookish swag I picked up. I love the stickers, and the Fangirl postcard is definitely going on my wall. I divided some of this with my friend, she's a teacher so she likes the chapter samplers as they're useful for students. I hope she likes it all!

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