The first year certainly had some hiccoughs (you couldn't hear the workshops, the seating in the auditorium area was a bit cramped, blah, blah, blah). But those niggles were made up for by an incredible line-up!
2015 was a marked improvement in logistics - separate venue with speakers, blocked off areas for workshops and the genius addition of an agents' area. It was obvious the organisers listened to the feedback of attendees in 2014 and we really appreciate it. With incredible names like Cassandra Clare and Judy Blume too (who I got to escort around the festival and help with her signing! I love my job!), it was even better than 2014. You can find my 2015 YALC highlights post here for an even clearer idea and some pics below.
|YALC 2015 Highlights Reel|
This event is just heaven for a YA lover... obviously. This year's lineup just dropped and it is looking amazing! Here are some of the authors I'm really excited about seeing:
Malorie Blackman - My goddess! I have a signed first edition of Chasing the Stars but screw it, I'm going to get her to sign it again! Shakespeare panel methinks?
Melvin Burgess - So this year marks the 20th anniversary of Melvin's iconic Junk. Having seen him and Malorie on a panel together before, I know that he is so widely respected and a great speaker. He'll be high on my to-see list!
Keren David - Keren is one of my favourite contemporary YA authors and I've been sad she hasn't been included in the past. I was firmly #TeamSalvage for last year's YA Prize and also loved This Is Not A Love Story. I really cannot wait to hear what Keren's been up to!
Patrick Ness - Last year I saw Patrick in conversation with Judy Blume and he was an incredible speaker and compare. I can't wait to hear him talk about the adaptation of A Monster Calls. With the actor playing Connor coming as well!
V.E Schwabb - All anyone talks about this year is V.E Schwabb. Looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is - I discovered Red Queen last year so here's hoping for another amazing discovery in 2016.
Alwyn Hamilton - How much did we all love Rebel of the Sands? A lot! Wickedly excited, hope there will be a debut panel!
Lauren James - One of the nicest authors you'll ever meet, Lauren is an absolutely gem and a fellow Nottingham Alum. Her debut novel The Next Together is YA's answer to Outlander - another for the debut panel I hope!
Juno Dawson - With Lisa Williamson also on the playbill and a lot of debate about representing trans and non-gender conforming characters occurring last year, I am sincerely looking forward to seeing what topics Juno will be discussing. Also, Juno rocked serious Daenerys cosplay last year. I am sincerely hoping that another stellar costume is in store.
Lucy Saxon - Speaking of cosplay, Lucy's incredible outfits are always a highlight of YALC. She has assured me via Twitter that she has some amazing pieces prepped for this year too!
Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison - Love the work by these two and can't wait to hear what they're getting up to. Having seen them both at the YA Book Prize Blogger Drinks, their new book Freshers sounds so exciting. Often the first year of university to relegated to NA smut novels, so really nice to see Rainbow Rowell and Tom & Lucy exploring this area. YA readers aren't just in high school and college you know *cough, turning 26 this month, cough*
Non Pratt - simply because Non is awesome!
Sara Barnard - I really loved Beautiful Broken Things and am just excited to hear Sara speak. The fact that she's joining Holly Bourne and other to talk about Squad Goals just makes it all the better. Sign me up!
Pete Kalu - Pete is an author you might now have heard of, but he is published by HopeRoad, an indie who specialise on voices often marginalised in the media from Africa, Asian and the Caribbean. Having worked with Pete professionally in the past, I know him to be a wonderfully eloquent, passionate and lovely author. His book Being Me by Adele Vialu had some insightful things to say about race and what it is to be a woman, and Pete is very passionate about writing POCs accurately. I predict a great panel on identity in our future... To get an idea of Pete's ideas, check out this piece he did for the Guardian on writing non-cliched multicultural characters.
Nat Luurtsema - I heard Nat read from her new book Girl Out of Water at the Walker Blogger Brunch last year and she is milk out the nose funny! As well as an established author, Nat is a Bafta-nominated screen writer and comic so this is gonna be good...
Another Harry Potter Day - last year was awesome, I'm just hoping that we get some different activities and fun things that aren't a replay of last year.
So without just saying everything and everyone, this is who I am really looking forward to seeing. It's a cracking line-up that has a nice level of familiarity, friendly faces coming back and new exciting authors joining for the first time. With Hay's YA lineup quite a bit smaller this year, this is THE EVENT for YA lovers in 2016!
So I'm off to do this for a few hours and book my tickets, I suggest you do too!