That was a weekend. It’s Tuesday, and I’m still not quite sure I’ve got over it yet. I’m not sure I’ll ever be over it, if I’m honest.
It began on Friday evening, with the launch of this year’s Bath Literature Festival – its 20th anniversary, which is quite something.
I love the LitFest – partly because of the variety of events (and I usually go to a load: it’s 8 this year, including the now sold-out “How to Win a Novel Award” panel, featuring my agent Juliet Mushens and friend – and founder of the Bath Novel Award – Caroline Ambrose) and partly because for a week, an already bookish city like Bath fills with books, talk about books, posters for books and people who love books.
Saturday was a trip to Birmingham to join in with the UKYA Extravaganza. Held on the top floor of the High Street Waterstones, it was a lively, warm, welcoming event full of chatter and (obviously) more books. Writers and bloggers and readers all wandered around talking and eating cake. Lots of cake.
It also meant I got to meet people I’ve only spoken to online so far – which I think was probably true for most of us there. The wonderful thing about #UKYA as I’ve found it (being a relative newcomer to YA) is the sense of community online… but when you get to meet people in person, it’s even better.
I left with a book list the length of my arm, as well as a couple of books I’d managed to buy before the shop sold out of stock – as it did in many cases. I particularly enjoyed being able to exchange book recommendations, too: the best thing about reading a book is being to share your love for it.
As well as general mingling, there was also a chance to ask the authors questions in very quick panel sessions. These took a bit of juggling round to fit into the space and time, but what we got in the end was relaxed and fun – completely in line with the spirit of the afternoon.
I had a tremendous time, and I hope we’ll see many more events like this.
And then it was Sunday. And that, I’ll talk about in Part 2…