The Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) is a convention held annually at the end of July. Every year we bookworms emerge from our sunny back gardens and warm beds to clutter the top floor of the London Film and Comic Con to discuss all things bookish. If you’ve been to YALC before, you’ll know the drill by now. There were stands cluttered with cheap books, strange competitions set by publishers and a good smattering of cosplayers representing series like Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments. Between the stall browsing, there were the usual creative writing workshops led by published authors and panels of notable writers on the main stage. However, the main reason I go to YALC is the signings.
Although 108 prominent authors appeared across the 3 days for signings, this doesn’t include the up-and-coming authors desperate to entice readers to their stalls. Some of the biggest names in YA literature were there, with appearances by Laini Taylor, Will Hill, V.E. Schwab, Alwyn Hamiliton, Teri Terry, Samantha Shannon and Holly Smale to name a few. If you’ve read any YA fiction this year, there is a high chance that they were signing at YALC 2017. I had to hold back a squeal when I spotted Malorie Blackman was attending.
I spent the majority of my time at YALC standing in lines. However, the busy queues use virtual tickets so you don’t have to stand and wait. Although it does mean you have to scramble back to the signings area occasionally to check a white board, no queue topped last year’s 5 hour wait for Maggie Stiefvater. In total, I got 21 across the weekend, including 6 unpublished proofs and 13 with signatures. That should certainly keep me going until I’m back in Southampton and Waterstones is a mere bus ride away.
Oh, and did I mention Benedict Cumberbatch? Although the convention took place above Comic Con, YALC visitors were allowed to switch between the two after 10am. Benedict Cumberbatch actually made several appearances on the YALC floor throughout the day, most notably when Non Pratt was shaving her head for charity. I imagine that the Sherlock actor might have been given the wrong idea about us bookworms, Cumberbatch watching us snipping off pieces of Pratt’s hair.
So that’s it, another year of YALC is over. Bookworms will go home to put their noses in the signed copies of novels they’ve acquired, fangirl behind their phone screens and count the days until they should buy a train tickets to Olympia again.