I was ready, my fabulous faux fur packed in my Louis Vuitton bag, snugly folded beside the legendary Kurt Cobain lunchbox…and it was off down to Newcastle with gal pal (and fellow author that isn’t an actual fellow) ALEX NYE. I met Alex on the train to Edinburgh, where we had a good chat about YOU. No, that isn’t true. We were so excited to be heading down to Newcastle to attend this year’s UKYACX. It’s a big event for authors of YA and kidlit to get on stage and talk about books. It’s nice to see an English event that allows Scottish authors down to promote themselves. Honestly, that’s so rare.
Once we snatched cups of tea, we got on the train to Newcastle. That’s when the pensioners found us on their seats. Turns out we were chair snatchers! I accidentally upset them by saying, “Oh I don’t want to be known as someone who steals chairs from pensioners.” But they laughed and tried to get us to stay with them. But our true chairs were elsewhere…
Once we reached Newcastle, I had to pose for photographs. Then we reached Newcastle Library. There were a few familiar faces in the library including LARI DON, ROY GILL, and VICTORIA GEMMELL. I also met a few authors I ‘knew’ but hadn’t met before in person. We were welcomed by the wonderful EMMA PASS and KERRY DREWERY. Then we all took turns to take the stage for ourselves.
ALEX was wonderful on her panel, very funny and completely mad. I spoke for a minute about me, myself, and my books. Then I decided the time had come to make everyone remember me with a catwalk down the middle of the hall. To much applause (I live for it) I told everyone to read my books, feed me biscuits (as if I hadn’t been fed enough), and live for my presence. And you can see it by clicking on the Tweet link below:
— Lorna (@Lorna_May_D) September 17, 2016
I got to see ROY GILL take to the stage to read his work. He is so talented, and I had to resist the temptation to hurl my cake collection at him. His writing is beautiful, evocative, and best of all he can tell a cracking tale. VICTORIA GEMMELL read from Follow Me. I like to think she made a few fans. Mother and Daughter writing duo PERDITA and HONOUR CARGILL were there, with Honour grabbing a copy of NORTH OF PORTER afterwards. “It’s too weird,” I protested, but she was like: “Fantastic!” PATRICE LAWRENCE was there too, and though I didn’t have a chance to speak to her, I wanted to say that the cover art for her novel Orangeboy is one of my favourites I’ve seen all year.
The journey back to Edinburgh was long thanks to a diversion on the tracks. Alex and I also had to endure lads who couldn’t hold their beer – literally – they spilled it everywhere, then started on the vodka. Trains should have more staff to take these idiots on; I will personally train them up!
It was a long morning, long day, long night. But it was all such a pleasure and Newcastle itself defied expectations. It’s so vibrant and loud. I was pleasantly surprised.