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Five reasons why you should go to YA Shot this year


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Students are living in a world where the arts are valued less than the sciences. English students in particular, who have a passion for literature, may see the publishing industry as the only path for them to follow.

With studies showing that reading increases self- esteem and empathy, as well as stimulating and challenging emotional intelligence, it is worth questioning why career paths for arts students are less respected.

Alexia Casale

YA Shot is trying to change this: an organisation that is working to immerse young people in the arts, hosting a Young Adult Literary festival on the 22nd October in West London. It aims to bring together a community of children, teens, students and experienced adults from within the industry, helping the publishing community to promote itself. Here's why you need to be there...

Meet authors

There are going to be loads of authors running talks and workshops, as well as sitting on panels and hosting book signings. These authors are devoting their time to come and speak to young adults. More importantly, they aren’t charging to be there, despite recent trends where authors are charging (rightfully) for public appearances, in order to suport the charity work YA Shot does.

In an increasingly connected world social media is a great way to get young people in contact with authors and educate young people about publishing. Hashtags like #askanauthor, #askaneditor and #askanagent are great for students to ask questions on an informal platform. But at YA Shot you can actually meet the authors in person and gain an insight into their knowledge of the industry.

This year’s authors include Tanya Landman (Carnegie Medal winner), Michelle Harrison (Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner) and several authors currently shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, including Holly Bourne, Melinda Salisbury and Catherine Johnson, as well as many other bestselling, award-winning and critically claimed authors such as Alexia Casale (who is directing the event), Holly Smale, Jenny McLachlan, Jenny Downham and Samantha Shannon.

It’s a charitable event

YA Shot is working towards becoming a charity to help disadvantaged schools and improve readership levels. The money raised from ticket sales support a year-long Libraries-Schools Programme of up to 35 free author visits to a different library system each year. The chosen library group distributes the events across its libraries, which then invite in local schools. Students then have the opportunity to meet an author to inspire a love of reading, and creative writing, and support aspirations to a career in the arts.

With cuts to library funding in schools and the public sector, author visits are an expense not all can afford, but often it is the schools in most need who don’t have access to this. YA Shot is trying to inspire the people who may not have access to libraries, books and authors.

You can find an internship

YA Shot runs a great internship programme that supports students who otherwise would be simply doing unpaid menial work, (probably making coffee for a week!) in central London.

Arts careers don’t tend to offer the same graduate recruitment programmes as sectors like banking, so doing an internship with YA Shot will allow you to soak up atmosphere and provide a form of training that is informal and flexible. It not only provides an inclusive experience of every aspect of the publishing world, but is dynamic and challenging. Even more importantly it’s incredibly rewarding, giving young people responsibility. One intern’s writing about YA Shot’s work was even covered in the prestigious Bookseller publishing website.

Help save libraries

It’s important to support libraries and celebrate them in a time where cuts are constantly being made and are threatening their ability to stay open. Adults who spend 30 minutes reading a week have been proven to be 20% more likely to feel satisfied with life, and two thirds of these adults show a better understanding of other people’s feelings, so it’s important to support our local libraries. Libraries in partnership with YA Shot are running programmes with authors from all over the UK, who are giving up their time to do library visits with disadvantaged schools. The Libraries-Schools Programme is hoping to gain national outreach to help support libraries that are facing cuts.

It’s going to be fun!

There’s a full schedule for the day, which is followed by the UKYABA (UK Young Adult Blogger Awards). From adventure to historical fiction, fantasy to crime, and comedy to sci-fi, there are events for readers of all interests, including panels on friendship, poverty, feminism in fantasy novels, the role of music in young people’s lives, and the impact of being a teen in the digital age, as well as workshops on intersectional feminism, fantasy world building, and strong opening chapters. There are also seven workshops from top book-vloggers and bloggers.

It is being hosted in the West London location of Uxbridge, which has loads of surrounding restaurants, as well as a library and YA Shot’s partner, Waterstones, nearby.

For more information on the event and tickets visit: 

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