Hi everyone! It’s Monday and the beginning of a new week and I thought it would be the perfect time to look by on the second week of April when I just happened to live what I consider to be my best bookish life. I got to spend time in two cities (I fell in love with one and already loved the other), I saw authors that I admire and look up to, I met new faces and saw familiar ones and got to spend time with one of my favourite people on the planet. All in all it was pretty awesome!
This was my very first time visiting Newcastle and after a six hour train journey you can bet I was pleased as punch to throw myself into a hug with my lovely friend Steph, even if my legs were like jelly. It didn’t take long before we were setting the world to rights in Starbucks and then we headed over to Waterstones Newcastle (aka Steph’s second home) where I was introduced to the lovely booksellers there and met some Twitter friends in real life for the first time.
The reason for my visit to Newcastle was to support Steph and see her bookish dreams come true as she got to chair a panel with two of our favourite authors and ultimately her DREAM author, Melinda Salisbury and Alice Broadway. I’ve read everything both of these authors have written so it was a little dream for me to get some time to relax and chat with them both ahead of the panel whilst I was there to be Steph’s ‘moral support’.
The panel itself was brilliant and Steph was an incredible host. I loved hearing both Melinda and Alice talk about their books and especially enjoyed the ‘Would You Rather’ section! Melinda Salisbury also did a rather large and very well deserved shout out to one of my favourites authors and all around great human beings, Katherine Webber, and I was delighted to see someone picking up a copy of Wing Jones just after.
After the panel I waited in line with some of the lovely NorthernBookBloggers to get my books signed by both Mel and Alice who continued to be lovely and welcoming all evening, even though they must have been exhausted! After that I enjoyed Mexican food, cocktails and laughs with a group of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Between this event and London, Steph treated me to some different sights of Newcastle and, most importantly, we went to Paperchase, for coffee, book shopping and saw Love, Simon. I’ll definitely be returning to the North!
It was a weird experience returning to YAShot this year because it was the first ever bookish event I ever went to back in 2016. The difference being that in 2016 I went alone: I travelled alone, I stayed alone, I enjoyed the day alone. In 2018 I was surrounded by friends: best friends, author friends, bookish friends of old and new. It was such a truly lovely day and here are some highlights as to why.
There were some pretty great panels spread throughout the day. The theme for this year’s YA Shot was ‘Human Rights’ and I saw some brilliant panels: Power, Privelege & Inequality, How Relationships Shape Women’s Lives, Stories for Change, Privacy, Entertainment & Technology, Family, Faith & Identity. There was really something for everyone and there were a whole host of YA authors on the panels discussing their books and the themes. My favourite event of the day was definitely the In Conversation with Alwyn Hamilton and Melinda Salisbury. They are two of my favourite UKYA authors and it was a fun and interesting panel.
I also got the chance to get some of my books signed by their lovely authors. All in all I had books signed by Katherine Webber, Sara Barnard, Laura Steven, Lauren James and Alwyn Hamilton. I’m lucky to have had a lot of my books signed at various events but it’s always lovely to see authors I’ve met before and catch up for a chat or even to reunite a winning quiz team! #TeamBarnard or, as Sara wrote in Goodbye, Perfect, #BestTeamBarnard (we’ve been upgraded!).
One of the other highlights of my day was getting the chance to catch up with the lovely Katie Webber over iced-coffee and soaking up the sun (I know, it was sunny in the UK?!). We hadn’t seen each other since YALC which was super busy so it was nice to just sit and catch up on life and also for me to gush about how much I love Reiko and Katie’s upcoming book Only Love Can Break Your Heart. [Pre-order it now please and thank you]. SO excited for YA Prom this summer!
In the evening there were the blogger awards and just before that I was on my first ever panel – as a guest, which just seems ridiculous, but it happened! Despite being a bit nervous before I actually really enjoyed it and would love to do something like that again. My dream would be to chair a panel but being as we rarely have author visits to where I live I can’t imagine that coming true any time soon, unfortunately. I was short listed in the Growing Blogger category which the lovely Zoe @ No Safer Place won but I was super delighted to see my wonderful best friend Steph take away her award for Newcomer. So proud of you!
Anyway, that was me living my best bookish life in April and I miss it so much. My every day life is so far removed from those kind of events that I almost feel like another person when I’m there. It was lush to catch up with so many people, meet new faces and see familiar ones. Special thanks to Steph for putting up with me!