UK Young Adult Extravaganza, Nottingham

Authors Assemble!

On Saturday 10th October, Nottingham Waterstones played host to the second UK Young Adult Extravaganza! (#UKYAX) Around thirty authors gathered to talk about their works and influences, and there was a large crowd of listening fans!

Author panel with Mike Revell, Helen Maslin, Kerry Drewry and Lucy Coats

It was fascinating to see which genre of YA authors were writing (as far as I could tell, the line between SFF and contemporary seemed to be down the middle), and what they enjoyed reading, too!

Meeting the super glamorous and very encouraging Lucy Coats

Lucy Coats, author of Cleo, mentioned the five-storeys of research that became a tiny basement of information in the book, and having just finished the redraft of a historical fantasy YA myself, I can very much relate to this!

Another author panel including Sarah Benwell and Lauren James

Lauren E. James is one of my total inspirations – she has worked so hard to be agented and published so young, and her debut novel The Next Together is original, funny and teary all at once. You should check it out.

Lisa Williamson explains why she chose to write The Art of Being Normal

Diversity and inclusion was obviously a hot topic at UKYAX, and authors had different reasons for including QUILTBAG and / or POC characters, from a conscious decision to write an inclusive book ‘next time’, to having worked with trans* people whose stories needed to be told.

Meeting the fabulous Helen Maslin!

Almost all panels were excellent, but one issue I had with one panel was the putting-down of a popular American series. Saying someone else’s book is poor doesn’t make me want to buy yours. In such a risky industry, popular books not only bring readers, but they also make it possible for publishers to take a risk on new authors. Snobbery over what is being read doesn’t do anyone any favours. It was a tiny sour note amidst the otherwise informative and interesting panels.

Cake, signings and socialising between panels

As usual, it was great to see so many people from Twitter and Instagram (though I did feel like a prize fool introducing myself as my Twitter handle for the entire event), and I LOVE how supportive and encouraging everyone has been about my writing. I’m so grateful to know so many lovely people!

Panel including David Owen, Helen Grant and C. J. Skuse

I do hope UKYAX comes back for another year! Next week it’s UK Middle-Grade Extravaganza, and I’m already excited for that! Here’s to the next book-people event!


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