YALC highlight: Patrick Ness and Judy Blume

IMG_1725I am so tired after three days of YALC and then an eight-hour drive back to Scotland that I can’t think of a whole lot that’s sensible say about it.






Pia ready for the first arrivals


For three days, the Paisley Piranha authors manned our stand, chatting, signing, showering passersby with goodies … and also trying to make sure we had time to meet up with friends and colleagues and, of course, to take turns get in on all the fabulous goings on. I have to admit to sneaking off to what was probably more than my fair share, but I am a sucker for a panel of authors … However, I got my comeuppance when I missed Lucy Ivison’s visit to the PP stand. Lucy is co-author (with Tom Ellen) of my personal favourite of this year’s YA Book Prize books, Lobsters (you can see my review here).



Patrick Ness just managing not too gush too much

The highlight for me was watching the legendary Judy Blume in conversation with (probably) my favourite YA writer, Patrick Ness. Although he’d appeared starstruck when he announced he was to interview her months ago, Patrick looked perfectly comfortable chatting to his heroine, telling her how he’d grown up on her books. And she, petite and smiley, constantly including her husband, George, sitting in the front row, told us how she’d come to write Forever, the teen book she wrote over forty years ago which is still considered too close to the bone for some school libraries. Her daughter prompted Forever, Judy told us. She’d asked why were there no books where teenagers had sex and didn’t get punished for it in some way. And so Judy had decided to write that book. Now I have a confession to make: I can’t remember whether I’ve read Forever. It’s Judy Blume’s books for younger teens that I love, top of them all Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. And I love the Fudge books for younger children. But if Patrick Ness is recommending Forever, I’d better get myself a copy.

There is nothing like seeing one of your heroes come to life. Judy Blume absolutely lived up to my expectations. Particularly the moment when she declared that bad language was like tap-dancing, and spun a little on her chair tapping her feet, with a grin. And I know I said Patrick Ness looked comfortable, but actually, he looked a little like he couldn’t quite believe he was actually sitting there interviewing Judy Blume and he’d better make the most of it in case it turned out to be a spectacular dream!

I’d like to tell you about a heap of other stuff, but, honestly, I’m just about incapable of typing. I’m going to sleep for a couple of days now.

Thanks YALC. It was a blast.

Claire Watts


All packed up … just one lonely Piranha left

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