This is crazily late but it’s here now!
The YA Shot was on the 28th October and was a one day festival celebrating the YA authors in the UK, but not just for those who already love reading, it’s also a great way to introduce younger people into the reading community. On the day there was be 70 authors who hosted talks, signings and workshops. This amazingly packed day was created and organized by Alexia Casale.
This post as a whole will be text heavy because I didn’t take any photos on the day – so sorry in advance!
I was fortunate enough to have been involved from the beginning of the process and seeing the day finally come was really exciting. For the day my title was the ‘venue manager’ – which wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be.
Because of the late-ness of this post, and my poor memory, I’m not going to do a breakdown of what each talk was like or go into further detail about them… sorry!
During the morning, I was situated in the Uxbridge Waterstones, where I was in charge of the two morning events. It was a nice start to the morning and I sat in talks I wouldn’t normally choose to sit in and learnt quite a bit. It was really intriguing in some sense, to be able to listen into another part of YA fiction that I’d never go towards normally. The two that started off my day were:
Ian Johnstone’s Sowing the Seeds of Magic workshop
(Great to hear about how to create magic in a book. I’ve never really thought about writing about magic and it was interesting to hear how you go through the stages to get the magic woven into a story.)
Daring Do!: High stakes versus safety nets in MG adventures chaired by Sally Nicholls with Emma Trevayne and Kiera O’Brien
Being away from the ‘hub’ of the YA Shot in the morning, made me wonder what was happening elsewhere. At lunch, I was in the UKYA hall, a larger hall compared to the Waterstones section, which was great fun. A bit daunting at first because of the mass amount of chairs that where placed in front of the stage but the authors and crowds were lovely.
The ones I introduced in the UKYA hall were:
Crime and Punishment: Fictional wrongdoing and human rights – Chaired by Laura Jarratt with Cat Clarke, Keren David and Emma Haughton.
The Stuff of Nightmares: Using dystopia and horror to explore social issues – Chaired by Laure Eve with James Dawson, Antonia Honeywelland Emma Pass
(The Crime and Punishment and The Stuff of Nightmares were both quite similar in topics, just different authors!)
Make ‘Em Laugh: Using humour to create empathy and understanding – Chaired by Matt Whyman with Ben Davis, Andy Robb and CJ Skuse
(Round of applause for these four. Humour is the trickiest thing to get right. But if I took anything away from this it is that there is always someone out there who has the same sense of humour as you, even if the early readers don’t understand it.)
In between the events somewhere, I was also involved with keeping everyone in check for the signings. I got a chance to talk to Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison again (I met them first at YALC). They strangely remembered me. Strangely because I never expect authors to ever remember me because of the mass amount of fans they have and I am one of many.. But anyway we spoke about their new book and their worries and my thoughts. I also took a brief moment to ask Jack Jewer (CJ Daugherty’s husband) about the footage that was shown during their event, as I was busy at the time so couldn’t sit in and watch it. He said that we’d maybe get to see it.. after some editing. So fingers crossed for that!!
At the end of the day, I got to sit in a panel (off duty) and just enjoy it as a listener. I chose Hopeless Romantic: Doomed lovers and ideals of romance – Chaired by Lauren James with Cat Doyle and Lucy Saxon. They spoke about the whole ideal about romance, their fictional romance loves and… Harry Potter. Yeah, it veered in odd directions but hilarious all the same.
The day was really relaxed and even as a ‘venue manager’ throughout the day I didn’t even feel the pressure of the title. The rest of the YA Shot crew were great and made me feel like I was part of something rather than shoving me to do something and leave me be. It was really down to the small things like checking up on people, they would ask if we were doing alright. This day was no difference to YALC… well other than all the authors were UKYA authors! In the book queues for the signings, I found it just as easy to talk to another person queuing! Everyone was all smiles til the very end.
I stayed around to pack up, ended up getting home around 10-ish and it was all totally worth it!
Let me know in the comments if you went to the YA Shot! What was your favourite talk? What books did you get signed or buy? Let’s discuss!