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Literary festival attracts huge crowds

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More than 1,000 people attended the first Northern Young Adult Literature Festival, organised and hosted by the University

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) first Northern Young Adult Literature Festival (NYA Litfest) has been hailed a huge success.

More than 1,000 literary fans visited the University’s Preston Campus from across the country to celebrate the best young adult books and authors around. Aspiring writers had the unique opportunity to delve into the publishing industry and to meet critically acclaimed and international best-selling novelists.

The free event was organised by UCLan’s BA (Hons) Publishing team, in partnership with Waterstones Preston and Lancashire Libraries.

Organiser Hazel Holmes said: “We’re completely overwhelmed with the response. The excitement building up to the event was great, but then afterwards was another level.

“The fact that it was free was a big deal as it enabled a lot of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend. We had support from publishers too, they sent us merchandise and proofs that we are able to give away for free, there were lots of happy fans.”

Readers were so enthusiastic about having a festival that was within an hour of their homes, and that they did not have to travel for, and I loved getting to chat to readers I would otherwise never get to meet.

Bestselling author Alwyn Hamilton added: “As someone who travels frequently for book events I have noticed that my travels often miss the north of England, skipping straight from the Midlands to Edinburgh. And, from speaking to readers at NYA Litfest, it was evident I am not the only author this applies to. Readers were so enthusiastic about having a festival that was within an hour of their homes, and that they did not have to travel for, and I loved getting to chat to readers I would otherwise never get to meet.”

The day featured a panel discussion on how to get your work published with Danny Weston, Teri Terry and debut author Anna Day. Katherine Webber, Annabel Pitcher, Lauren James and debut author Matt Killeen spoke about feminism in young adult literature, while an ‘in conversation’ events took place with Alwyn Hamilton and US mega star, Holly Black. Both were interviewed by Samantha Shannon on stage. There were also opportunities to meet authors and industry professionals.

Discussions are already taking place with relevant interested parties to make it an annual event.

Rachel Atkinson | 04 April 2018