Event Recap: UKYA Extravaganza

This past weekend, UKYA Extravaganza took place at Waterstones High Street in Birmingham, an event organised by Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery. Over the past few weeks, a blog tour has been taking place as part of the countdown to the event - where I took part in a Q&A with Kate Ormand - the aim of which was to bring together the best UKYA has to offer. Unsurpringly, with over thirty YA authors in one bookstore, tickets had sold out for the event within twenty-four hours.
My partner-in-crime, Charli from To Another World
As well as the promise of an afternoon in the same room as a bunch of bloggers and authors, Saturday involved a not-so-highly-anticipated three-hour car journey into Birmingham(a nightmare). I spent the time crammed between bags of books in the backseat, scrolling through social media, watching as people shared their own sense of excitement for the day ahead. I was acting in a way that resembled a seven year-old on Christmas Eve, with no idea what to expect under the tree(the weekend having been the first - but not the last - UKYAX).
It was set-out to be a celebration of the literature-obsessed community that has formed within the UK, but it also provided a platform to meet up with those I had formed friendships with other the past few years. Those that, quite frankly, I never thought I would greet in a bookstore like it were a typical Saturday afternoon! In what must have resembled a school reunion, we spent the time taking pictures with each other and admiring tote bags, speaking about the books we had brought along with us for the signings. I couldn't help but enjoy having an in-person conversation rather than a typed-one for once; the whole experience a little surreal! I spent most of the afternoon with the wonderful Charli from To Another World, who was also my partner-in-crime for Holly Smale's signing later that day(at the same Waterstones)!

Discussing blogging and fashion(we agreed to dress for comfort)
with Natasha Ngan!
The event itself kick-started with authors being drawn from a hat, the initial plan for it to be a fire-round of sorts, the authors all given the chance to read an extract from their novel under timed conditions. Although, with most of us eager to approach the writers waiting at the back of the room, where there was also a table stacked with the latest titles to get signed and a selection of bookmarks, badges and posters that I was eyeing-up(I arrived home with quite the collection!), the majority weren’t seated for long!
Instead, the event descended into what could only be described as a welcomed chaos. The Q&A sessions took place at intervals throughout the afternoon, where you could choose to sit and listen for a while or continue to search for friends and favourite authors. There were booklovers clutching autograph books, a colourful selection of Sharpie pens being used to sign them(I think I have books signed in pink, purple an

I didn't find the time to stop and eat one!
d black), people swapping phones to snap pictures with each other. The infinite ‘I love UKYA because…’ whiteboard also made an appearance, people taking it in turns to share their favourite aspects of the genre. The back wall was crammed with a choice of confectionary to keep our energy levels up, and I was tempted to take some home for the comfort-eating that always ensues when I wake up the next day and realise an event is over. In fact, I probably took more pictures of the plates of food than with actual people!
Talking Sleepless and exam stress with debut Lou Morgan.
Conversations with authors lasted longer than what would be acceptable - let alone possible - at any other signing event, which made it such a welcoming environment! I discussed the likes of GCSE exam stress with Lou Morgan, whose novel Sleepless I had only discovered earlier that afternoon – and being an author for a living with Anna McKerrow, who was absolutely lovely! I spoke for quite a while about clothes and dressing for comfort with Natasha Ngan, being a fan of both her books and fashion blog, and the support of the UKYA community with almost everyone I came across. In the midst of the panic to get all my books signed, I also managed to meet Emma Pass, Claire Furniss, CJ Daugherty and Kate Ormand, attempting to find everyone before the event came to an end. Everyone was just so friendly!
Let's just say that I LOVED UKYA Extravaganza! After YALC, I'll admit I was hesitant heading to this event, but I had such a memorable afternoon.

Were you at UKYA Extravaganza? If so, what were your favourite parts of the event?
Will you be attending Number Two in October?

This event-recap was originally written for the Guardian Children's Books site. You can find the full blog HERE.


All pictures used in this post are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to read - and comment on - this blog post! I read and reply to every comment, so feel free to ask any questions and I'll answer!

See you soon!

Sophie Louise