YALC Round Up Part 1: Book Swag and Signings

So, last weekend, I was lucky enough to spend the day at YALC, aka the Young Adult Literature Convention. YALC is the brainchild of former Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, and takes place at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London alongside the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC).

I only went on the Saturday this year, because I’ve never been to a convention before and a) I didn’t really know what to expect and b) I work full time and whilst a whole weekend of geekery sounds delicious, I also know myself well enough to know that I would bloody knackered come Monday. Also: money. Putting a bookworm in front of that many books at slighty-cheaper-than-retail-price?

I can just about hear the soul of my bank account in its death throes.

ANYWAY. Onward I went to Olympia, accompanied by my only slightly unenthusiastic boyfriend for a day of book lovin’. We arrived at about 9am and the queue was already incredibly long, so by the time we got inside (accompanied in the elevator by a polite Transformer) I was itching to get my hands on the holy grail of YALC: free bookish stuff!

The stalls, most made up of publishing houses and their YA imprints, didn’t disappoint and I came away with lots of lovely things like postcards, bookmarks, posters, stickers, badges, sweets and excerpts from newly released and upcoming books.

Special mention for the ‘blogging not jogging’ sticker from the Penguin stall, which is basically life and now has pride of place on my laptop.

YALC is great for fans of YA, but it’s especially great for the bloggers among us. Lots of the publishers were happy to chat about blogging and whilst many had sign up sheets for newsletters (always handy for news posts or heads up about new releases), a few actually had sign up sheets for blogs, which is a great way to get your contact details on their radars. The staff on the YA HQ stall (a new Harper Collins imprint) were particularly awesome – asking me for my twitter handle so they could follow me, and then giving me an uncorrected proof of Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes, which I can’t wait to read!

There were also a few interactive things dotted about, like a super cool Harry Potter colouring wall, a beautiful display wall full of books complete with comfy Penguin deck chairs for a reading break, robes from the Harry Potter films and a doodle wall where you could write down what Harry Potter meant to you.


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With the release of the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child script and world premiere of the play taking place on Saturday, as well as the Mugglenet Potter Party taking place at YALC on the Sunday, the celebration of all things Potter was plain to see. It made my heart happy and nostalgic and fluffy like a pygmy puff all at the same time.



Post Pottering about (ha), I made a beeline for the pop-up Waterstones stall which was both gorgeous and very, very dangerous. By some miraculous restraint I wasn’t aware I possessed, I managed to only buy two books.

TWO BOOKS. My god maybe I’m an adult. I did buy a sofa last weekend, so maybe that had a subconscious adult-ing effect on me.

I walked away with a beautiful peachy copy of Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall and an essentially essential copy of What’s A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne. Essential because duh, feminism, but also because I desperately wanted Holly to sign it later on that day.


I did come very close to buying physical copies of ACOTAR and ACOMAF (pictured book is sadly a library copy) at the Bloomsbury stall, but managed to sate my desire with a cute free bag that I had spotted a few other people toting and used my Rhysand spidey sense to track down.

Once I was satisfied that yes, I had probably exhausted all of the free things on offer, I pretended not to watch Chris Riddell, (Children’s Laureate, incredibly talented illustrator and author of the Goth Girl books), do a portrait of a girl at a stall like a stalker because I was too scared to interrupt and ask for a photo. Life.

After being a creeper, we headed over to the theatre area to listen to Holly Bourne, Sarra Manning and Sara Barnard talk about friendship in YA in a panel called #SquadGoals. It was really interesting to get an insight into why each author writes friendship in the way that they do, with a focus on how they go about creating realistic female relationships. There was also some chatter about feminism and girl power which made me feel all like YAAAAS.

Then it was on to the signing queue. I passed the time waiting for Holly Bourne by checking out people’s cosplay, the best of which was two girls dressed up as Harry and Ron on Christmas morning, complete with Weasley jumpers. Totally filing that one away for the next fancy dress party I’m invited to.

I was superbly nervous when it was my turn and despite losing most of my ability to have a conversation like a normal human being, Holly was absolutely lovely, and chatted away as she signed my books.


Special mention for the fella here, who ran out of the signing queue to buy me that copy of Am I Normal Yet? after I confessed that I had borrowed a library edition and didn’t have one for signing. I still don’t know if he did it out of undying love for me or the fact that he can’t bare incomplete sets of anything…

I was also lucky enough to meet Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal, who made a surprise appearance at the David Fickling Books stand. Annoyingly, I didn’t bring my copy of TAOBN because I didn’t think she would be there on the Saturday, but I managed to get a poster for her to sign instead. Once again my powers of communication deserted me and the best I could come up with was ‘I loved your book’ (sure she hasn’t heard that one before), but she was utterly lovely – very smiley and friendly!

After raiding the stalls one last time, my shoulders screaming under the weight of books and lovely free things, we happily trundled on to the next most important destination of the day: Nandos.

That’s it for Part 1 of my YALC round up! Don’t forget to swing by tomorrow to check out Part 2, which will be full of handy tips and tricks if you plan to go in 2017. If any of you went this year, I’d love to hear what you got up to! Feel free to leave a link to your round up posts in the comments. 🙂




38 thoughts on “YALC Round Up Part 1: Book Swag and Signings

    • It was a great day! Thank you. 😊 You definitely should if you can. It only started in 2014, so hopefully it will keep growing year on year. Awesome! Is it similar to YALC? I’d love to go to some bookish events in the US – just need to persuade the boyfriend that it’s a good idea to shoe horn them into our trip. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Looks like you had a blast! I’m so jealous of all your free stuff.
    And I totally feel you on the adult thing 😦
    It sucks having to spend all your hard earned money on boring things like rent and food.
    If I could live on a sunshine and water diet, I totally would. Imagine all the money I’d have for books and bookish things!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was really good fun! Haha – I don’t know what I’m going to do with it all. 😦 I’m moving house soon, so I’m definitely going to have to figure out a place to stash it haha, or do a giveaway! I know right?! My feeling is who needs a sofa when you can have a throne of books, but my boyfriend doesn’t quite agree lol! Exactly!


      • I like to get a cork board and stick all my pins and the like onto one and hang it up somewhere. It keeps everything together and looks really neat and unique on your wall 🙂
        I had a horrible adult dilemma a few weeks ago. I have an old hand me down reading chair beside my book shelves, and it’s started to break at the legs, and as I went out, planning to buy a new one, I bought books instead! I mean what’s the point in having a nice cozy reading chair if I have no books to read in it, am I right?! :p

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like you had a great time at YALC Sammie! I’m working on my post for the event as well. Hopefully I’ll be posting it this weekend but I want to try and do it all in one go and there is a lot of books I need to take photos of.
    Where you tried to control yourself when faced with the books slightly cheaper than retail price I didn’t even try and way way overspent on all the stalls there. I ended up coming away with so many books that by the end of the first day (I was there for the whole weekend) I had a bruise on my shoulder where my really heavy but free tote bag filled with books had dug into my shoulder! Still I thought it was a brilliant weekend. I loved all the talks and meeting all the authors as well (Holly Bourne was so nice wasnt she?) I’d love to go again next year as well because it was just amazing.
    Great post, and great pictures as well! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did thank you! It was lovely to be surrounded by so many bookish people and things for a day. 🙂 Eeek, I’m excited to see what you got up to for the whole weekend and see the awesomeness of your haul. Hahaha that’s amazing! I am impressed with your steadfast bookworm determination *first bump*! Holly Bourne was SO nice, I totally agree. 🙂 I’d love to go next weekend too – it’d be great to organise a blogger meet up as I’ve seen a few YALC round up posts from people who went on their own. Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I completely agree, I spoke to so many people about books throughout the weekend and it was just amazing! Oh yes I was determined to get as many books as I possibly could from the weekend, and I definitely succeeded! Hopefully I’ll be posting mine this weekend, or early next week at the latest.
        So many of the authors were absolutely amazing, I loved meeting them all, and yeah I’ve seen quite a few people posting about YALC too, it would have been great to have a blogger meet up or something!
        That’s all right ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Defo! Haha I’m glad to hear it – I’m looking forward to seeing the pics. 🙂 Yeah the ones that I came across were so lovely – it’s really nice as a fan to meet authors who are so down to earth. Absolutely! We’ll sort something next year if there’s a good group of bloggers going. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow your Saturday experience sounds so fun! I didn’t know there was a blogging list option at publishers (although I am still new at this so I guess the publishers might not have wanted my blog as much haha). I’m glad you had such a good time and met Holly Bourne!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was really fun! 🙂 I don’t know if that many of the stalls actually had those kinds of lists, I actually only came across two but it might have been a different case if I asked! Haha – don’t worry about that, at the end of the day your blog still puts their books out there, even if you do have a smaller readership right now. I’m sure that will change over time anyway, we all have to start somewhere after all! 🙂 Thank you, she was lovely! x

      Liked by 1 person

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