Dept Con 2: A look back

Eason, one of Ireland’s biggest book shops, recently held the second instalment of Dept Con, a book event aimed specifically at readers of YA fiction. I fall firmly into that category, so I headed along to meet some of my favourite authors.

The Tivoli Theatre on Dublin’s southside city centre was taken over by YA fiction fans and authors, with the festivities starting up at 2pm on the Friday.

Friday October 14th

I only made one of the talks on the Friday, as I was in work until 5pm. Luckily, the talk that I really wanted to attend on Friday was on after I finished up.

Holly Bourne and Juno Dawson together sat to discuss feminism in YA fiction. Holly is the author of the Spinster Trilogy, as well as The Manifesto on How to be Interesting. Juno is a transgender woman, and has written books like This Book is Gay, Spot the Difference and Margo and Me. Both of them will also be involved in I’ll Be Home for Christmas, a collaboration book in aid of Crisis, the UK’s national homelessness society.

I’d never heard of Juno before Friday’s talk, but I definitely need to check out some of her work – I thought she was so funny, she was lovely when I was chatting to her at the signing table.

Saturday October 15th

I made a lot more talks on the second day than I did the first, mainly because I wasn’t in work and I was really interested in meeting the authors.

I got to the Tivoli a little late, so I didn’t get to hear Lisa Williamson’s talk. I was really disappointed, because I loved The Art of Being Normal and would have loved to hear her speak about it. I did get my copy signed though.

The second talk I was at was about horror in YA, with Dave Rudden, Alex Scarrow and Peadar Ó Guilin. I’ve only read Peadar’s book, but everyone from my YA bookclub (with whom I sat for the two days) agreed that this panel was the highlight of the whole event. The three guys, and their panel moderator, really gelled well together. It was so nice to finally meet Peadar in person as well, as we’ve spoken quite a lot on Twitter.

I also attended Claire Hennessy and Deirdre Sullivan, which came straight after the horror talk. This one dealt with body image in YA fiction. I know Claire from my part in her Grown Ups Read YA bookclub, and Deirdre is also a member but we hadn’t met before the weekend. Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire deals with anorexia, while Needlework is about an abuse survivor and her dreams of being a tattoo artist. I hadn’t read Needlework before the weekend, though it was on my TBR. After DeptCon2, it’s shot straight to the top of the pile.

The day’s final talk was Brian Conaughan and Sarah Crossan. They both write in verse, and have co-authored a new novel coming out in February. Sarah and Brian read out snippets of the new read, and Sarah’s voice is the kind you could have podcast the local Chinese menu and be hooked on every word. I cannot wait to get my hands on their tandem title.


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