Last May 27th, 2017 I had the privilege of going to #AllDayYA organized by the Sydney Writers Festival at Riverside Theatres Parramatta. It was a wonderful bookish event that was solely focused on the power of Young Adult literature in Australia and I loved it!
Ever since I arrived here in Australia, I have been looking for events that could satisfy my craving for anything bookish and I stumbled upon the Sydney Writers Festival. I took a look at their website and I was so happy to find that they were going to hold the #AllDayYA event. I quickly looked up the roster of activities (all of which required payment) and I decided to go for Rupi Kaur’s event.
I think I haven’t written a review for this amazing poetry book, but I completely adored it last year. It featured different poems that tackled various topics such as sexual abuse, heartbreak, feminism, love, and a whole lot more in such a powerful manner. It was such a gripping read for me and when I saw the advert for her talk, I immediately booked my ticket.
When I arrived at Riverside Theatres I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people inside. There was a literal buzz and everyone had the same energy of enthusiasm for books, which I really missed (I haven’t been to any bookish event for months).
When I roamed around and looked at the book stands, I suddenly felt like I was a kid in a candy store with little to no cash. Let me be frank, books in Australia are freakishly expensive. Every time I look at a book, I immediately check the price, do the math, and feel kind of bad because it’s just way too much money for me to spend on (especially for someone who is on an extremely tight budget like me). Since my copy of milk and honey is back home, I decided to buy another one just to get it signed. However, I would be lying if I told you guys that I didn’t lust for the other books there…
When I was lining up to pay for my copy of milk and honey, a lovely girl by the name of Jasmine approached me and told me she knew my bookstagram account and I was so surprised. It was really surreal for someone to recognize me from my bookstagram account (I rarely post selfies there). We then talked briefly about books and the panels we were going to. Jasmine if you are reading this I just want to say that it was such a pleasure seeing you there and thank you very much for the support. I hope to see you again in the future.
Expressing Herself: The Brilliant Life of Rupi Kaur Talk:
The event was just amazing. It was hosted by Sara Mansour who is an Australian spoken word artist, and her questions were all on-point. The overall gist of the talk is really about Rupi’s origins and what her creative process was like. Discussions about her very first attempt at spoken word poetry to her controversial menstruation photo project to the things that inspired her poetry, the conversation just brimmed with so much passion.
Frankly, I was slightly concerned about the fact that Rupi might not be able to do a signing because her right hand seemed to be injured but thankfully she had a stamp that acted as her signature! Also I had the pleasure of getting a picture with her…
Sadly the line was long so we were all rushed and I wasn’t able to fully articulate how much I appreciated her work. The only thing that I was able to say was, “I’m such a big fan” and that was it. Regardless, the whole experience of meeting her was enjoyable and priceless.
Meeting Catriona (The Little Book Owl):
When I was in line for Rupi’s meet and greet, I was able to spot Catriona of The Little Book Owl on Youtube. I’ve watched her videos since 2013 and I’ve been such an admirer of her content, so I knew that I had to say hi!
When I was a few feet away from her I was about to greet her, but she suddenly walked away. I threw caution to the wind and I tapped her shoulder, which is a huge thing for me since I’m an introvert. We started talking and I asked if I could have a photo with her and she kindly obliged…
She was exactly like the person she projects on her Youtube channel and I’m really thankful I had the chance to have had a brief conversation with her.
Meeting Amie Kaufman:
Okay let’s be real here, I wasn’t really planning on getting anything else signed aside from Rupi’s book. However, when I saw Amie Kaufman signing books, I was overcome with thoughts of possible regret I’ll face if I missed my chance. I asked the bookseller if there were any more copies of Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOZYA Anthology because I was slowly consumed by my thoughts.
Here’s another confession here, I have yet to read any of Amie Kaufman’s book (I know I should be ashamed of myself, and I am) and you might be wondering, why do you feel like you were missing out when, in fact, you haven’t even read any of her body of work?
The answer to that is I just really wanted to. I know that she’s a well-known author with books that have been raved upon by my bookish friends so I knew that if I pass the opportunity up, I’ll regret it so much.
Anyway, I went ahead and bought a copy of Begin, End, Begin just to get it signed by her (#NoRegrets)! When the time came for my turn, Amie and I talked about the possibility of her going to the Philippines to do a book signing event and she said that they (I’m assuming she and Jay Kristoff, co-author of the Illuminae Files) are just waiting for an invite! So if any National Bookstore or Fully Booked staff is reading this, here’s your chance.
I asked Amie to say something to her Filipino fans…
— 📓Kevin 📓 (@tomebound) June 15, 2017
I only got my copy of Begin, End, Begin signed by her because my hardcover copy of Illuminae is back home in the Philippines and I didn’t want to rebuy a copy of it. At least I still got something signed by her and it was such a pleasure seeing her in person.
Meeting Garth Nix
Rupi’s signing booth was right beside Garth Nix’ (author of Sabriel and Frogkisser) and this is another one of those instances wherein I have not read a single novel by this author, but I knew his popularity in the high fantasy genre so I really wanted to get something signed by him. However, I couldn’t afford to buy any of his books at that moment (cue in the world’s smallest violin).
It took loads of contemplating if I should ask for his signature at all, but the question was on what? Then I looked down at my copy of Begin, End, Begin and I actually considered it. But the catch was he wasn’t part of that anthology! I had this silly notion that since his Australian, it still kind of made sense because it is an Australian YA anthology. I know that was one helluva reasoning but I really wanted a signatured from him, so I built up my courage and I approached him. I stated my case then he pointed the obvious dilemma and I told him it was okay. He then offered to give me a postcard print of the cover of Frogkisser instead and obviously I said, “Yes!”
My #AllDayYA experience was a complete success. I wasn’t able to stay much longer since I only got a ticket for only one of the event. C’est la vie. I really hope that this is not the last Australian bookish event I’ll be able to attend to while I am here.
Were you able to attend this event? What did you guys though of it? What events did you attend during Sydney Writers Festival or any bookish event you attended? Please tell me all about it down below!