By Megan Whitlock
One of the long-standing critiques of the publishing industry has been its London-centric focus, which can often make meeting authors, attending events, and networking opportunities inaccessible for those based further afield. From 21–22 May, Preston hopes to change this by hosting the Northern Young Adults and Kids Literary Festival, supported by Arts Council England. First established in 2018 and hosted by UCLan Publishing, the Festival offers a unique opportunity to delve into the industry, meet critically acclaimed and internationally published authors, and bring publishing events to the North of England. Previous notable guests and panellists have included Holly Black (The Cruel Prince series), Holly Bourne (Places I’ve Cried in Public and Am I Normal Yet?) and Alice Oseman (Heartstopper and Solitaire).
The Festival will be split across two days, with the YA events taking place all day at UCLan’s Greenbank Building on Saturday 21, whilst children’s events will occur the next day on Sunday 22. Events include panels, book signings, talks with literary agents, publisher stalls, creative workshops, and a chance to interact with local and UK-based booksellers and book merchandise vendors. As well as providing networking opportunities for budding Northern writers, publishers and YA and children’s lit fans, the event also aims to inspire the next generation of writers with free drop-in activities designed to help children create their own stories. General admission, panels and workshops are free for attendees, but tickets must be booked in advance to safely accommodate for numbers.
Niamh Banner, Festival intern and current MA Publishing student at UCLan, said the following: “It's really exciting for literary festivals like us to see the world opening up again! Readers can finally meet their favourite authors face-to-face and ask all those questions they had building up in their minds during their lockdown reading binges. We are so lucky to be able to host a plethora of amazing YA, Teen and Children’s authors. The festival is also an amazing opportunity for budding writers and publishing hopefuls to network with the many authors, agents and publishers attending over the weekend [...] I’m especially looking forward to seeing all the gorgeous bookish merchandise on sale, created by our very talented UK-based vendors!”
For more information on the Festival, including timetables, author line-ups, panel topics, and information on booking tickets, you can check out the NYALitFest website here.