My Experience At Bath Children’s Literature Festival! (Free books, new friends, lots of laughs).

Hello readers! Over the last week and a bit, I’ve been a very busy bee with College classes starting to release out first assignments and also working on some creative writing projects which for the time being, I am keeping extremely hush hush. But today’s post (as if the title didn’t already give things away) is about the four events that I went to for the Bath Children’s Literature Festival which ended today on October 8th. I didn’t go to the festival last year and honestly, that was a stupid mistake because there were books that I wanted to get signed by the authors so when the opportunity to go to some events this year surfaced, I jumped on the bandwagon determined to attend and get some books signed. Dear friends, that’s exactly what happened. So, what events did I go too and who did I meet? I will share everything…

Saturday 30th September

The first event was held at the Guildhall in the centre of Bath and for my boyfriend, this would be his first ever book event. The topic was Horror because if you know me well, you know that I love to read and write Horror stories. The authors discussing their books were Sharon Gosling (wrote Fir) and Alex Bell (who wrote Frozen Charlotte, a Zoella book club pick) and the panel chaired by Lou Morgan who also has written a YA Horror story called Sleepless which I am so adding to my TBR because October is the perfect time of year to read scary books. It was also very timely that the event started just as the sun started to set outside making the whole atmosphere feel very creepy. Nevertheless, myself and my boyfriend both enjoyed learning about Fir and Frozen Charlotte, the inspirations for them and some very spooky legends with one about a vampire for example… oooooh… I did sleep well after hearing about the legends by the way XD

Bath is quite well known for having lots of partygoers out on a Saturday night so by the time things wrapped up, it was gone 7PM and the bars were full with loud chatter and the constant kicking around in the streets of beer bottles. After my boyfriend walked me back to the bus station, I was able to get home safely without any trouble and in the meantime, admired the two gorgeous scary books signed by the authors!

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Thursday 5th October

The second event I attended, this time alone was the Learning To Write For Young People discussion with three authors who had gone on to complete the writing MA at Bath Spa Uni which is my dream MA and chatted about their experiences as a student in University and how they researched their stories to help with characters and world-building. I purchased my ticket on the door which was extremely lucky as the room in the Guildhall was close to a sell-out. Taking my notepad and pen with me (as well as lugging around all my College books), I sat and took notes about the writing MA as well as general tips for planning novels and writing to deadlines. Sadly, I couldn’t stay for the signing afterwards as it was gone 8PM and I had early classes the next day. The authors that attended and spoke at the event were Jess Butterworth (writer of MG novel Running on the Roof of the World), Amy Wilson (writer of MG novel A Girl Called Owl) and Sarah Driver (writer of a YA trilogy titled The Huntress with the first and second book available for purchase). This panel was chaired by YA author Julia Green who also is a tutor on the MA that I would love to do the most: Writing For Young People. Overall, I found the event to be useful and relatable, there were students there studying Creative Writing at University, other writers currently querying novels. It was loud and I knew no-one else there but still, I was pleased that I did go along. It cemented my passion and drive to study Creative Writing and nothing else.

This was the only photo I took at the event as the crowd started to build up in time for the proceedings to begin.

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Sunday 8th October

The final day of the entire festival in which the main theme of events was YA. All of the YA events took place in a small but cosy entertainment venue called the Komedia which was a brisk walk to get to for me and my boyfriend. A late bus almost spoiled the fun as I was afraid of being alone around other teens/adults attending the events that I didn’t know personally at all but in the nick of time, both of us collected tickets and headed in. The first event we went to was a panel hosted by Lucy over at LucyTheReader on Twitter and YouTube and featured the authors Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (Co-authors of three books for YA: Lobsters, Never Evers and Freshers) along with Lauren James (writer of The Loneliest Girl In The Universe) and discussed about the perils of co-writing and um, writing fan-fiction in space? It was an interesting panel to watch and in particular for my boyfriend who is still so new to this whole reviewing malarkey. Both of us were able to grab a free ARC of upcoming YA release The Fandom written by Anna Day and out in January 2018, the boyfriend’s first ARC too!

The signing afterwards was a lot of fun, I had my copy of Freshers signed and quickly chatted to Lucy as well as another blogger who I will chat about more later in this post. Afterwards, myself and the boyfriend went to a bagel place in town that I had been to on a number of occasions in the past with a friend and had lunch followed by a trip to T2 to grab some takeaway teas, he an iced one, myself a hot one before having a brief look in Waterstones at books because the book festival duh 😛

After saying our goodbyes, I then on the door managed to purchase a ticket for the final YA event of the day and entire festival, a panel hosted by Lauren James and with authors Lucy Saxon (writer of Take Back The Skies), Maggie Harcourt (writer of Unconventional) and Frances Hardinge (writer of The Lie Tree) as they discussed fandoms and cosplaying which up until now, I had no idea what cosplay even meant. Now I do know what it means. At this event, I sat with Kyra over at http://www.blogofabookaholic.blogspot.com who I met on Twitter earlier this year and on discovering that we actually live quite locally to each other, decided to hang out and that was very enjoyable. We were also with Matthew and all three of us talked books before and after the panel.

I purchased at the panel a copy of Unconventional by Maggie Harcount to have signed and she asked me who I would cosplay as, my reply was Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. To be honest, I don’t really like wearing fancy dress that much but maybe one day it will happen, who knows?

Here are some images from YA Day including the book haul from the events I attended:

The panel with Tom, Lucy, Lauren and Lucy.

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The panel with Maggie, Lucy, Lauren and Frances.

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The book haul from YA Day, free books that were given out that I was able to collect were: The Fandom, A Taxonomy of Love, Renegades and Kaleidoscope Song.

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I am feeling really sad that the Children’s Literature Festival is over for another year, 2018 can’t come soon enough! Thanks to the Festival and the authors for a great time and events, I’ve definitely learnt more about the writing and publishing process as well as giggled over embarrassing stories about University (credit to Lucy’s panel for that) and met some lovely people and to top that off, introducing my boyfriend to reading and reviewing YA!

Hope you enjoyed reading this post, let me know in the comments section below if you have been to any book events or literature festivals recently and the 2018 YA releases that you are anticipating the most. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter over at http://www.Twitter.com/MarriedToBooks3 to be the first to know about books I am currently reading or writing (at least trying to write) and say happy birthday to my cats because both of them turn eight today!

Alice x

PS, Really big ask but I missed the first event at YA Day today and all of the ARCs for The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert had been taken. Anyone know if any spare ARCs are going for this book, it is on my top 10 most anticipated YA Releases of 2018 list, thanks!

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