10am-11am – Unnatural Creatures panel:
Authors may create fantastical beasts but scientists know real creatures, worthy of the most horrific and wondrous Lovecraft or Tolkien ever described, exist now and in Earth’s past. John Pickrell, Laini Taylor, and Robert Edeson explore the worlds of strange creatures, real and imagined with Ashley Hay.
Laini Taylor delved more into the chimaera and seraphim creations in Daughter of Smoke and Bone and talked about how she tried to push the boundaries of believability. She questioned what it would take for regular people to accept that something supernatural was happening instead of assuming it was some kind of publicity stunt.
While I love the fantastic creatures that Laini Taylor has created for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I have to admit that I was enthralled by John Pickrell’s tales of feathered dinosaurs and new discoveries, which is the topic of his new book Flying Dinosaurs. He even discussed how old dinosaur bones may have been misinterpreted as mythological creatures like griffins, dragons, and even cyclopses.
Robert Edeson sounded like he had written a really interesting fiction book in The Weaver Fish. Maybe he wasn’t enunciating clearly enough, maybe I was sitting too far away from him but I was having trouble understanding what he was saying.
Laini wanted to know what everyone’s favourite fictional creatures were that they hadn’t created. I can’t remember John Pickrell’s or Robert Edeson’s but Laini said one of her favourites was the Liveship from Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy, which I recognised as one of the books in my dad’s bookshelves. It seemed that my ‘to be read’ list was only going to get more extensive over the weekend.
12pm-5pm – Love YA! panels:
Love Young Adult Fiction? So do we! We’ve lined up some of the best YA authors for panels, signings and a chance to pitch your YA book to a publisher. A whole afternoon of book love for teens and YA fans! Laini Taylor, Amie Kaufman, A.J. Betts, Sean Williams, Diana Sweeney, Kirilee Barker, Ananda Braxton-Smith, plus book signings, cosplay and more!
I stopped by the BWF bookshop to pick up copies of The Book of Days and These Broken Stars to get signed and then headed across the river to meet my friend Elke at the Brisbane Square Library, not quite sure what to expect from the event. While I was walking, I found a more detailed itinerary for Love YA! that told me everything I needed to know.
12-12.45pm – Against the World: Heroes and Heroines in YA fiction
1-1.45pm – Pain Demands to be Felt: Loss, Friendships and Moving On
3-3.45pm – Getting Published in YA Fiction
3.45pm-4.30pm – Epic Love: Star-crossed or star-cursed?
I didn’t really take any notes during these sessions because they were so short I was just trying to absorb all the information. Kirilee Barker was one of the panellists in the first session and she was way more comfortable than the previous night. I was really glad I ended up buying her book because the more I heard, the more I wanted to read it.
After each session was over, the authors would move into the next room to do signings and I had a plan. The BWF Instagram was hosting a competition to find the most creative selfie and, despite my truly crappy selfie skills, I figured I’d have a go. I had thought up my concept the previous night and brought a toy Pokéball with me. My selfie series theme was ‘Gotta catch ’em all’.
Kirilee Barker was one of the first authors to do book signings, so I lined up with my new copy of her debut novel, The Book of Days. Since Kirilee’s bio calls her ‘twenty-something’, I figured she might know about Pokémon and be a good first
victim photography subject. She had actually never watched an episode of Pokémon but was happy to play along. I think this is, hands down, my favourite photo of the weekend.
Amie Kaufman (These Broken Stars) and Laini Taylor headed the last session, talking about the power of love in YA fiction. The panel was moderated by Hannah (I can’t remember her last name but I think it was Andrews), who was fantastic. Hannah, Amie, and Laini were all so enthusiastic and it made the panel a great way to end the day.
I lined up to get These Broken Stars signed by Amie Kaufman and to take my next Pokéball photo. I had a library copy waiting at home and hadn’t planned on buying the book at all but, once again, I was happy that I did. Amie was so enthusiastic about her work and her characters that I would have been severely disappointed if I’d missed out on getting my book signed.
I’d already had Daughter of Smoke and Bone signed by Laini at the masterclass the previous day, so I jumped in her queue just to get the Pokéball photo. I don’t think anyone really understood what I was doing or why I was shoving a plastic toy in their face but thankfully they were gracious enough to go with it.
And so ended my second day of Brisbane Writers Festival. I was thankful for an earlier night because, when I looked at my itinerary, I realised Sunday was going to be the busiest day yet.