By Aimee Haldron, Annabella Costantino, Lauren Gantt and Rosie Burgoyne The Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) is returning this year, running from 8-10 July at Olympia London. This will be its ninth convention to date, celebrating the finest books and authors in the young adult (YA) genre. The very first YALC started in 2014 at the London Film & Comic Con, as a project of previous Waterstones Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. Since then, YALC has quickly become one of the most anticipated events in the YA market. With ambassadors such as Holly Bourne and Karen M. McManus, the YALC has a wide variety of events – here is what you can expect!
YALC offers a variety of free workshops, hosted by a range of authors and covering everything from an escape room to writing tips. Below are some of our top picks:
● Writing As a Duo: Friday 8 July, 3 p.m.
Join Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, sister double act, for writing advice on world building and character creation as a writing duo. From plot planning to character profiles, find out how they made their fantasy worlds a reality in Throne of Swans and Daughter of Darkness.
● Song Writing As a Creative Outlet: Sunday 10 July, 11 a.m.
Led by debut author and musician Christine Pillainayagam, this song writing session will feature Christine sharing her new YA book, Ellie Pillai is Brown, as well as the basics of lyrics – you will also get the opportunity to write and share your own songs.
● Using Stories to Make Us Feel Better: Saturday 9 July, 5 p.m.
The weekend’s panels offer a chance to see some of your favourite authors discussing everything from TikTok to how important YA is. We’ve highlighted some that we will definitely be attending!
● Earth Day Every Day: Friday 8 July, 2 p.m.
● Video Killed the Radio Star: Saturday 9 July, 11 a.m.
With the rise of BookTok, this panel will cover some of the most-seen books on TikTok by Alexandra Bracken and Amy McCaw, amongst others. Discover why these books have become so popular in the online sphere.
● You Don’t Own Me: Sunday 10 July, 10 a.m.
If you are interested in empowerment and feminism in YA literature, then this is the panel for you – discover books by Rebecca Barrow, Kate Weston and other writers that have inspired readers to be true to themselves.
Whether you stop by a signing table or attend a workshop, there are plenty of big names attending this year. Authors tend to have a two-hour slot where they will be sat at their signing table talking to readers, often until they have no voice left. Look out for:
● Jacqueline Wilson, Baby Love
● Dean Atta, Only on the Weekends
● Ella McLeod, Rapunzella, or Don’t Touch My Hair
● Aneesa Marufu, The Balloon Thief
● Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Ace of Spades
● Katherine Webber, Twin Crowns
● Soman Chainani, The School for Good and Evil
● Brigid Kemmerer, A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Plus so many more! This is an amazing opportunity to chat to authors about what you love about their books and you can even get a cheeky selfie. Top tip: take sticky notes so you can write your name and stick it to the title page - then the author can get it right for you!
From the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook to Kate Nash Literary Agency and World Kit Lit, join publishing professionals and industry creatives in a selection of panels and talks. We have highlighted a few that we think will be particularly helpful for publishing hopefuls:
● So You Want to Work in Publishing: Saturday 9 July, 4 p.m.
If you are looking to start a career in publishing, this is the panel for you. Hear from industry experts like Polly Silk and Katie Jennings as they share their insights on professional roles in the industry, as well as CV tips.
● Hashtag BLAK Presents - From Bright Idea to Bookshelf: Friday 8 July, 2 p.m.
Join Abiola Bello and Helen Lewis, co-directors of Hashtag BLAK, as they discuss the process of taking a YA book through to publication. Hashtag BLAK is an indie imprint of Hashtag Press, which elevates under-represented writers.
● Little Tiger Presents - Everything You Need to Know About Working With an Editor: Friday 8 July, 3 p.m.
Come along to hear from author and editor duo Sita Brahmachari and Mattie Whitehead about all things editorial. With a dual perspective, this conversation promises to help demystify the editing process.