YALC 2015 is in 24 hours: here’s the *10* unmissable panels, freebies, stunts, and silliness you NEED to know about

Photo credit: thanks to the amazing MissColeBurke

Hundreds of selfie-ready authors, 17 of the biggest and best young adult book publishers, creative writing workshops, books for a fiver, signings, freebies and panels discussing everything from anxiety to first-time bonking. The sold out YALC 2015 is less than 24 hours away TODAY – 3 days of bookish madness attended by 1000s of bookworms. We cannot wait.

If you’re anything like us you’ve already memorised the programme, but if your head is spinning with whats, wheres and whens, read on for the inside scoop on 10 of YALC’s best bits and hidden gems. And remember to share your own in the comments below or on Twitter with #YALCBestBits for us to feature here and RT.

Look, YALC’s not all about the freebies. But if you’ve already hired a wheelbarrow and cleared out your bedroom, here’s some of the things you might want to look out for to restock your bookshelf:

  • All weekend: Hashtag Reads have put 3,000 (yes, 3,000!) samplers of Cassie Clare’s new novel, ‘Lady Midnight’, in ticket-holder goody bags. Make sure you get yours!
  • Saturday: Need a pick me up? Get your free coffee with Penguin Random House and ‘Finding Audrey’ at their publisher stand. Limited number only.
  • All weekend: Hachette / Books With Bite have promised freebies at their publisher stand, so make sure you pay them a visit.
  • All weekend: Hot Key Books will be giving away samplers and badges for ‘Trollhunters’ as well as doing a “troll hunt” where they’ll be hiding books for people to find.
  • The publisher stands look like this:



All the publishers are ready to create that Tweet-worthy conference highlight. Here’s what you don’t want to miss out on:

  • Friday 2.30pm onwards: Walker will be putting on some life-drawing taster sessions celebrating ‘I’ll Give You The Sun’ by Jandy Nelson. Join in for a quick 30 min session drawing the gorgeous Eric, just like Jude and Noah in the book.
  • Saturday 10am – 3pm: Naked man alert! Penguin Random House will be celebrating the new Lauren Kate book ‘Unforgiven’ in the best way possible. Get your free sampler and have a photo taken with a half naked man in angel wings.
  • Sunday 10.15am – 12.15pm: “I see dark things in your future” and other very serious stuff like this. Have your cards read with Penguin Random House’s tarot reader to celebrate the release of ‘The Accident Season’.
  • Sunday all day: If you’re a budding blogger or BookTuber, Sunday is the day for you, with a series of events from 12.30 including Book blogging for beginners and Booktubing for Beginners. Visit the workshops area.
  • Before Saturday 15.30: Ask Judy Blume a question before her chat with Patrick Ness. 5 Qs will be picked from the hashtag #areyoutherejudy. Good luck!



  • Saturday 10am – 12 midday: Don’t miss! Mermaid hair with Bleach London.  Free mermaid braids with pastel hair crayons to add a bit of colour. There are limited slots, so visit the Hot Key Books stand on Friday or Saturday first thing to sign up – first come first served!
  • Saturday 11.30 – 12.15pm: Alongside Cassandra Clare’s main stage appearance, body artists will be drawing ‘Shadowhunter’ runes on people, plus ‘Shadowhunter’ models will be making an appearance to take selfies with the crowd.
  • All weekend: Orion will be hosting a ‘Red Queen’ dress-up prop station, where they will be inviting all attendees to get their picture taken in some Red Queen regalia.


  • Friday all day: David Fickling Books will have flash giveaways of limited-edition signed proof copies of ‘Unbecoming’ – the new Jenny Downham book.
  • All weekend: Visit the Hashtag Reads publisher stand and sign up to the Hashtag Reads newsletter for the chance to win a year’s supply of YA books for you and a friend.
  • All weekend: Visit the Chicken House stand for the chance to win signed ‘Maze Runner’ goodies.  Find the missing Glader on their Glade map for the chance to win.
  • All weekend: Also at the Chicken House stand, take their quiz on ‘Vendetta’ by Catherine Doyle and win a signed first chapter of the sequel, ‘Inferno’.


  • Saturday 2.30pm – 3.15pm: Little Brown’s Carrie Hope Fletcher – West End actress, YouTuber Extraordinaire and now Ten Weeks Sunday Times Top Ten Bestselling Author with advice guide ‘All I Know Now’ is hosting the very first ‘YALC Book Club’ and her line-up is spectacular: YA superstars Holly Smale (‘Geek Girl’), Samantha Shannon (‘The Bone Season’) and former Children’s Laureate and YALC founder, Malorie Blackman (‘Noughts and Crosses’).
  • Saturday 3.30 – 4.15pm: Original Queen of Teen, Judy Blume, will be talking to award-winning author and Judy Blume superfan Patrick Ness about everything from the 40th anniversary of YA classic ‘Forever’, to her brand new adult novel ‘In the Unlikely Event’.
  • Sunday 10.30 – 11.15am. Serious discussion alert. As part of the ‘What is Normal?’ strand, the panel will be speaking out about mental health in books for young adults. Authors Holly Bourne, Brian Conaghan, Annabel Pitcher and Matt Whyman will be exploring the representation of mental health issues in YA today with chair Imogen Russell Williams.
  • Sunday 11.30 – 12.15pm, main stage: Bringing Sexy Back. Queen of Teen James Dawson will be back to chair this laugh-out-loud, no-holds-barred discussion about sex and sexuality in teen fiction, joined by fellow YA Prize shortlisted and winning authors Non Pratt, Louise O’Neill, Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison. This panel was a highlight of YALC 2014.


  • Lots of publishers [including: Books With Bite / Hachette / Hot Key Books] will have paperbacks for a fiver and hardbacks for a tenner on their publisher stands, as well as freebies like tote bags, sweets and badges if you buy on the day. There are bargains to be had, so bring some spare change if you can: cash points get very, very busy!


  • Harper Collins have dedicated a whole stand to their EPIC new thriller set across the supernatural landscape of America, Derek Landy’s ‘Demon Road’. Expect loads of goodies, plus a special numbered and signed proof giveaway for each day. Plus, Derek Landy – the author – will be at YALC on Friday and Sunday.


Friday 5.30 – 6.20pm : L. A. Weatherly, author of the bestselling ‘Angel’ trilogy, is doing a workshop on creating characters at 5.30pm. Afterwards she’ll be announcing her new trilogy exclusively at #YALC.


  • Friday 6.30 – 7.30pm: Harry Potter party! Test your Potter knowledge with MuggleNet’s GNOMEs (that’s Gruellingly Nauseous and Onerous MuggleNet Exercises), come in your best Harry Potter cosplay for the chance to enter competitions and win amazing prizes, and enjoy lots more Harry Potter fun.
  • Saturday 4.30 – 5.15pm: Join the eccentric host of ‘The Hunger Games’ Caesar Flickerman for the ultimate quiz about Suzanne Collins’s phenomenal book trilogy.
  • Sunday: it’s time to go to bed and tuck in with a brand new book.


  • We’ve featured some of the stunts, hidden gems, panels, freebies and experiences we know you won’t want to miss, but don’t forget to check out the full schedule of workshops, talks and signings on the YALC website. Download the PDF programmes for a simple overview of what’s on and when. The links on their website look like this:

yalc programme

What are you most looking forward most at YALC? Share your own in the comments below or on twitter with #YALCBestBits and we’ll feature them in this article. See you there!

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