Preview: Young Adult Literary Convention

Following the announcement of the Young Adult Literary Convention, Abigail Hettle discusses its much needed celebration of the UK’s underrated Young Adult literary sector

No-one with any interest in the literary world could have avoided the presence of ‘young-adult’ fiction over the past few years. Its place within the literary world is finally being recognised with the launch of the YA Literature Convention, the first of its kind in the UK, to be held this July in London.

The popularity of the children’s fiction sub-genre Young Adult is by no means a recent trend. In fact the past decade has seen it become a significant genre in its own right with a well-established foothold in the publishing industry and the bestseller charts largely thanks to New York Times bestselling authors such as John Green and Suzanne Collins.

Yet, less evident is the contribution of UK authors to the genre due to the eclipsing influence of American authors with their multi-million sales figures and high profile movie adaptation deals. You just have to look at the recent adaptation of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series or the cult hysteria surrounding John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars film to see the strength of American YA fiction.

However far from being suggestive of a deficient young adult field in the UK the exact opposite is true. Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, who is curating the event has announced in the past few days the first confirmed authors for the event. Among the authors were award winning Derek Landy, bestselling author of Skulduggery Pleasant, and double Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness, author of The Knife of Never Letting Go.

These authors are just some of a plethora of young adult literary figures waiting to be discovered and praised on a par with their American counterparts. Malorie Blackman has said ‘We are incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of fantastic children’s authors and illustrators in this country who create incredible stories for young adults to enjoy.’
It is about time that an event like this takes place in the UK and British YA novelists are given the platform to share their work with their many fans. The Young Adult Literature Convention takes places on 12th-13th July as an addition to the London Film and Comic Con 2014 at Earls Court. With the promise of a dedicated Book Zone where there will talks, signings and stands promoting new and upcoming titles this event promises to be an exciting tribute to the UK Young Adult industry. Definitely not one for any YA fan to miss!

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