YALC – we went, we saw, we podcasted! #yalc

A couple of days have passed now since Rob and I returned, very tired but generally very happy, after a hot, busy but great weekend at Earls Court, at the first ever Young Adult Literature Convention, based in the London Film and Comic Con. Our podcast, recorded from the floor of Earls Court during the Con itself will be heading your way very soon, but in the meantime, here are some of my thoughts and lots of photos to give you a flavour of the weekend.

LFCC has come in for some criticism for some of the way in which it was organised, not least the rather extraordinary temperature on Saturday – my favourite meme about that goes “I’m not saying it was hot at LFCC on Saturday but two hobbits walked past Earls Court and threw a ring in it” – but YALC itself was a real success. It was fun, really well attended and was great value for money, considering the talks and workshops were free once we had paid for admission to the con. Huge congratulations have to go to Malorie Blackman, Katherine Woodfine and the whole team behind the event.

The talks I attended were really great fun; on Saturday, I went to talks on dystopia, reimagining characters especially Doctor Who, and Heroes of Horror, and on Sunday I packed in even more – How to get published, I’m too sexy for this book, Sisters doing it for themselves and the final talk of the con, Holly Black and Sally Gardner in conversation.

I didn’t attend any workshops, as I knew tickets for these were very limited so I decided not to risk having a hole in my schedule, but I did manage to get lots of books signed by some amazing authors, lots of whom were extremely friendly and look the time to make conversation – there was such a positive atmosphere about the whole event…

YALC was a great place to meet up with bloggers who I usually only get to chat to online – it was really lovely to bump into people in signing queues and in talks, and at the great Fringe event organised by Sophia Bennett too. Something I’d love to see next time would be some sort of networking area, for people to sit down and chat for a bit – I wonder if that could be incorporated somehow?

There was an incredibly positive atmosphere overall, despite the heat, the queues and the noise of the venue. A lot of the negatives were down the the place – which won’t be the venue for LFCC next year – and the business of LFCC itself – largely down to someone called Stan Lee? I do think there were good points to YALC being part of LFCC, as it’s an established event with a big draw, but I know some people found it a bit overwhelming.

I really hope YALC will happen again. It wasn’t perfect, but that would be asking a lot given that this was the first time it’s taken place! I know the organisers are listening to all our comments, so I’ll certainly be there next year if YALC is…

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