I had not intended to attend the Sydney Writer’s Festival All Day YA this year, as it was in Parramatta and it was just a bit too far from my place to feasibly get to. However, I was lucky enough to win a ticket from the wonderful people at Happy Indulgence, and I am so delighted – it was a marvellous day and I would have missed out had I not made the trek to the Riverside Theatres! It was a great location, though I did miss being close to the city…
The day started out with a highly entertaining panel with five contributors of the Begin, End, Begin: LoveOzYA Anthology. It was hysterical – the camaraderie between the authors was just wonderful to watch. And Will Kostakis remains one of the funniest people I have had the pleasure to watch on stage! I had my book signed by all five – Danielle Binks, Gabrielle Tozer, Will Kostakis, Jaclyn Moriarty and Amie Kaufman. All are just wonderful humans.
I was then lucky enough to attend a sold-out event with Rupi Kaur, the amazing poet behind bestseller milk and honey. She was so eloquent, and it was incredible to hear her speak about her experiences and the journey behind her poetry. She was inspiring, and it made me want to try my hand at poetry myself. Maybe someday! Afterwards, I joined the very long line for a photo and a stamp – Rupi was stamping instead of signing due to a hand injury.
Then, off to a panel about Diversity in YA Fiction, featuring Sarah Ayoub, Will Kostakis, Erin Gough and Randa Abdel-Fattah, all passionate authors with a great presence. Will and Erin had an incredible rapport and came out with some of the best one-liners of the entire day. This was followed by an equally intriguing panel about Defying Expectations with Amie Kaufman, J. C. Burke and Mariko Tamaki, moderated by Bec Kavanagh. Amie read aloud some emails which had been directed to her by male readers, offering her advice for writing in the scifi genre. They were HORRENDOUS. Her male co-author for Illuminae, Jay Kristoff, has never received emails of this kind. All three women were marvellous, and I want to go and buy all of their books. (Though I did restrain myself on the day…)
Finally, the last session of the day! TEENCON! Normally I keep a list of the Read Now, Read Later session, but I totally forgot this year! I am intrigued by Bloomsbury’s Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser, coming out soon, as well as Allen&Unwin’s Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (a review copy of which I have borrowed off a friend!). I also absolutely cannot wait for Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood. Harlequin’s All Rights Reserved was also discussed – it’s a book I really really enjoyed recently; fantastic world-building for a too-real dystopian! Everyone was also given one book – I received Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us. I quite enjoyed When We Collided last year, so am interested to see how this one compares!
Do you attend writer’s festivals? Which are your favourites?