So I had such a wonderful time at UKYA Extravaganza on Saturday and I thought I’d talk about my day!
So my day started off really well! I went to my drama rehearsals for ‘West Side Story’ and had a great morning, and then I set off for YA Birmingham for the event.
I got there fairly early, so I had time to mingle and talk to other readers. At first I was afraid to talk to anyone (because I’m painfully shy) but I chatted to a couple of lovely people that my friends knew from Twitter.
I really liked the structure of the event, because it gave us a lot of time to meet the authors and to have proper conversations with them. Authors did short Q&As in groups of four and we had time to mingle in between. The first people I spoke to were Benjamin and Ariel (two booktubers.) I am a big fan of both of their channels so I was a bit starstruck and terrified of speaking to them at first and it took me ages to pluck up the courage to walk over to them. However they were so lovely! Ariel gave us lots of hugs and some beautiful bookmarks too!
I walked around with my friends Ambi and Nikita talking to lots of different authors and it was so nice to be able to have relaxed conversations with them. At book signings where you only get a short time with an author, I often freak out and forget how to speak because I’m really nervous, but this event was really friendly and casual so it was great. There was no sense of hierarchy and we talked to the authors casually and normally. We talked to Susie Day about how many touring authors only go to Manchester and London and we discussed getting an author tour bus and driving around the country to make meeting authors and going to YA events easier and more accessible. I wish the event was even longer because I didn’t quite manage to meet everyone and I was in such a hurry to talk to as many people as possible that I didn’t get to talk to people in as much detail as I’d have liked. I’ll put some of my pictures with authors at the end of my post
Before each Q&A, the authors talked for one minute about their books (and the timing was very strict!) Some of the authors talked about the plot of their book, some did short readings and Alexander Gordon Smith told a hilarious story about Deathball and how it inspired his book. It was very hard to resist the urge to buy books because so many of them appealed to me (especially ‘Roses’ by Rose Mannering as I’m a pretty big Beauty and the Beast fan!)
We also got the chance to ask questions during the ‘panels’ and I finally plucked up the courage to ask something (I’ve gone to at least 7 events where I’ve been too nervous to ask anything!)
We talked to authors and readers about a really wide variety of topics! Christina Banach told us a fascinating personal story that was the inspiration for her book, we talked to C.J. Daughtery about how she moved from Texas to the UK and we talked briefly to Eve Ainsworth about bullying.
Plus there was food….lots of delicious food! And someone made some really awesome UKYA Extravaganza cupcakes (that tasted just as good as they looked!
I admittedly wasn’t aware of most of the authors before the event but it was great to meet them all and I’m really glad that I did. I mostly read the ‘mainstream’ YA books and I generally read books by American authors (or by the main British YA authors) but now I have a greater awareness of UKYA and I’m excited to try out some new books, authors and genres.
So I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped to organise the event (especially Emma Pass, Kerry Drewery and YA Birmingham) and to all of the authors, booktubers, bloggers and readers that I met.
But that’s not all…
After UKYA Extravaganza, I grabbed one last handful of chocolate brownies from the food table and went downstairs to queue to meet Holly Smale.
Holly was so lovely and she complimented my outfit (which I told her surprised me as I spend most of my money on books, not clothes!)
When I finally got home, I collapsed into bed and happily scrolled though my Twitter and Instagram feed and talked to people who were sharing their love for #UKYAExtravaganza