This past Saturday was All Day YA at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and I attended a few sessions and was able to catch up with some bookish friends who I haven’t seen for what feels like forever because of everything that’s been going on in my work and personal life. I had a lot of fun at All Day YA this year, got to speak to a lot of authors in attendance, and here is a short recap of my day!
I started off my day by going to the Writing in Verse session, which was a conversation between Sarah Crossan (author of the recently released We Come Apart, which was co-authored with Brian Conaghan) and Bec Kavanagh. It was a wonderful, wonderful session because Sarah was such an honest and funny person. She had lots of great stories about her past and how that has influenced the stories that she writes. It was really interesting to hear her speak of her experience living as an Irish girl, living in the UK during The Troubles, and being labelled as an immigrant and a terrorist. She also spoke about her love for verse novels and how she loves that they have a narrative and tell a story, unlike poetry collections where the poems are standalone and don’t have to be read from start to finish. But she also mentioned that she likes for her poems to be self-contained so that you can read them and understand them standalone if you like.
I also got all my Sarah Crossan books signed and had a really wonderful chat with her. She was such a lovely person to talk to and I’m glad that I got to meet her.
I also got to meet Julie, the associate publicist for the event, who had been in contact with me about running the giveaway for the all day passes for the event. It was lovely to talk to her and she also introduced me to Claire, the head of children’s and YA.
Claire, Julie and me
The next session I went to was Keeping Company: Characters Across A Series, which was a great panel with James Bradley, Lynette Noni, Amie Kaufman, Garth Nix, and hosted by Catriona (aka LittleBookOwl). They had a great conversation about how they keep their characters engaging and interesting across multiple books, how their characters are developed and how they keep their characters realistic, among other interesting questions. At the end of the session, I managed to get my copies of Gemina and Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology signed by Amie. And we had a good chat about her answers to my interview questions. If you haven’t checked out the Q&A with Amie, you can find it here.
Rupi Kaur had a session on at the same time, which I sadly didn’t get to go to. I did hear that it was amazing though and everyone left very inspired. I brought my copy of Milk and Honey to be signed but unfortunately Rupi had hurt her hand so her publicist stamped my copy instead. Rupi was amazing though and gave everyone hugs and a picture.
I then took a long break to have lunch with a friend to celebrate her birthday so I missed two sessions, but I was back in time to catch Mariko Tamaki at her signing. She was awesome to talk to and when I told her that I was moving to Toronto for a few months, she wrote down restaurant and comic bookstore recommendations for me! (And yes, the photo was taken on my crappy iPhone 5S so the image quality is much worse than the other photos that were taken with my Canon G7X. I’m waiting for the 10th anniversary iPhone okay?!).
The last session of the day was TeenCon! I was given a free copy of Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan as I walked into the theatre, but I already had a review copy at home so I gave it away at the event. During the event, 8 of the major publishers in Australia gave a preview of some of their most exciting upcoming (or recent) releases. These included My Life as a Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams and Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart from Allen and Unwin. Bloomsbury Australia featured Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer and Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser. From Hardie Grant Egmont, we have The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil, which I reviewed a little while ago. My phone lost reception at this point so I didn’t catch their other featured release. Harlequin Teen featured When It’s Real by Erin Watt and All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. HarperCollins Australia featured Gabrielle Tozer’s Remind Me How This Ends, which Jeann absolutely loved, and also Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau. Next up was Pan Macmillan Australia with James Bradley’s first YA novel, The Silent Invasion, and Take Three Girls by the awesome team of Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood. Penguin featured One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus and I missed their other release. Text Publishing featured five books really quickly and the two that I managed to catch were Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian and The Undercurrent by Paula Weston. Walker Books Australia wasn’t in attendance but they sent through a wonderful video of Patrick Ness promoting his newest book, Release.
There were also some games throughout the session and I actually won a game of heads or tails. I guess my psych training and my knowledge of the gambler’s fallacy helped a bit haha. I won a bookpack from some Harper titles. But since I have most of them already, I’m giving them away slowly. There is currently a giveaway on my Twitter account for a paperback copy of Made You Up by Francesca Zappia. And I’ll be giving away three other books today: The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight, Demon Road by Derek Landy and The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr.
1. This giveaway is only open to Australian residents.
2. There will be ONE winner who will win all three books: The Scattering, Demon Road and The Witch’s Kiss. I’ll be shipping the prize out to the winner using Australia Post. If you’re under 18, please make sure you have parental permission to give out your mailing address.
3. The giveaway will close on Thursday 15th June at 11:59pm AEST.
4. We’ll be checking all entries so no cheating please!