When I was small, one of my big sisters had an Indiana Jones lunchbox.
It was metal, and rattly, and completely impractical for actual lunch-carrying purposes (unless you like your sandwiches to taste of tin). But I loved it. I coveted it. It had Indy on, and I love Indy.
There’s something irresistible about Stuff that has Stuff You Love on, which is why when authors do events we know you like swag, merch, Stuff: bookplates and bookmarks and postcards, tshirts and bags and teeny weeny badges. It’s a way to declare your love. Run up your ‘I like THIS thing in particular!’ flag for all to see. But sometimes there isn’t any swag, or you can’t get to the place where they give that sort of stuff away, and that makes me sadface.
So: I made a thing. A shop. A UKYA shop, for UKYA things. (That’s Young Adult fiction written by those born or now resident in England Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, fact fans.) Because I wanted a bag like this one:
And a tshirt like this one:
And to drink tea from a mug with one of my favourite quotes on:
I love reading YA fiction from all over the place, don’t get me wrong. And of course, plenty of our most beloved UKYA authors are writing about Japan, or spaceships, not UCAS forms and snogs down the Tesco Metro. But sometimes I want a book that knows I eat my chips with ketchup.
What’s most important of all? ALL PROFITS FROM THE SHOP GO TO HELP SUPPORT AND PROMOTE UKYA, by paying for promotional materials in schools, libraries and bookshops, to help spread the word about all our fabulous homegrown lit. So you’re declaring your love twice over.
Now: what are you going to wear to YALC this year?
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