The last weekend in January was a really fun one for us, filled with loads of bookish things. A few months ago, we got invited to the Stripes EqualiTea event. The event was to promote Proud, their new LGBTQ+ anthology, along with some other exciting releases that Stripes have in store for us in 2019. As soon as we got invited, we jumped on the chance to go. The following day, we also had our semi-regular meeting with the Manchester Bloggers group. It was an incredibly bookish weekend.
A while ago, we booked our train tickets and were highly anticipating an exciting day out in London, including the Stripes event. We had been sent a copy of Proud beforehand, so had already read the stories and absolutely loved it. We’ve adored Stripes as a publisher for a long time now. They’re quite small, but their books have a lot of impact. Previously, we’ve done quite a bit of work with A Change Is Gonna Come, another anthology released by them in 2017. We wanted to show as much support for them as possible before the release of Proud and get really involved with a project that we both felt was incredibly important to add to the YA LGBTQ+ world.
The main focus of our day was obviously going to be EqualiTea, but we both wanted to fit in a little book shopping while we were in London (obviously). It’s so rare that both of us are in London together, alone, so we wanted to make the most of it and do everything we both really enjoyed – yes, this included getting a bubble waffle (honestly, as important as books).
We wanted to check out Gay’s The Word, because Sophie had never been before, as well as have our usual trip to Foyles. We had a limit of book buying for both of us. We knew that the weekend would be filled with bookish things, so we couldn’t go overboard. You see where this is going, right? We both went overboard, so we’ll talk about that more in a little bit.
EqualiTea, as i’ve already explained, was an event hosted by Stripes Publishing in The Apple Tree pub in London (a very adorable and lovely LGBTQ+ pub if you’re interested, it’s quite close to Kings Cross Station). There was promise of cake in order to support Stonewall with donations, talks from the authors about some of the upcoming novels in 2019 and loads of chats with some great bookish people. I don’t think we could have asked for a more wonderful afternoon. There were talks from each author about their new or upcoming releases, including the new voices in Proud – Cynthia So, Karen Lawler and Kay Staples (Michael Lee Richardson couldn’t make it in person but did record a video message).
Alex Bell (a really delightful woman, you should all check out her previous novels) also talked about her upcoming novel. She based her chat on the origins of a lot of aspects of her new novel, Music and Malice in Hurricane Town. She took a lot of influence from New Orleans and the culture there. This was incredibly interesting, and as two people who have a huge interest in New Orleans, we both loved hearing about her next book. Honestly, we are both super excited to read this!
We also heard about Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan, a story of a school trip gone very wrong. Gabriel spoke a lot about his process as a writer, and all the times he just never got around to finishing the book he wanted to write so badly. It’s so rare that you hear authors truly talk about constantly writing, but basically having nothing to show for it. We had a really great chat with him after his talk about creative writing and what that meant for all of us. I cannot wait to start reading Whiteout now!
Sarah Shaffi, who works at Little Tiger, spoke about how she secured My Not-So Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma to be published in the UK. This also sounds like an excellent book – we spotted the American edition in Amsterdam last year and remembered this as she was speaking about it. She also spoke of the importance of inclusion of people of colour both as authors and behind the scenes in the industry. It was a really wonderfully inclusive day and one of the reasons I love Stripes is for so often championing writers of all backgrounds and identities. They really do seem to place importance on constantly improving inclusivity and both of us value this a lot.
The rest of the event was filled with cake eating, chats with wonderful people – including Charlie from Stripes (our favourite member of the team) and choosing of ARCs. It was so lovely to get involved with something like this. We support everything that Stripes do, and really love the work the whole team put in. We champion diversity here and really have tried to constantly made an effort with improving the diversity representation we include in our reading and on the blog. Stripes have definitely helped us with that along the way. We owe them a lot in our little blogging world, so are more than happy and grateful for the opportunities the have given us, such as, inviting us to super great events! We are determined to get more involved this year and read more of their books.
That’s when the rest of the day took a little bit of a turn and we probably turned in to bad people. We had already made a little bit of a mistake with book shopping in Gay’s The Word before the event – more Sarah than Sophie. Sarah ended up breaking her one book goal already, where Sophie stuck to hers and bought one in Gay’s The Word. We had a really lovely chat with the staff there and probably spent far too much time looking around.
We headed straight to Foyles after the EqualiTea, in order to get as much time there as we could. We were both eager to check out some new releases. Once we arrived, we didn’t expect the 75% off sale on many American imported hardback (and some paperback) YA books. Hello dream sale! There actually were quite a few that we’d both had our eye on before at full price, and well, our one book in Foyles broke for both of us.
We both managed to pick up quite a few books each. At prices that we really couldn’t turn down. £3.25 for an imported hardback? Yes please. So we picked up some things we probably didn’t need, but desperately wanted once we saw the sale.
Sarah picked up –
- Love Is Love – a graphic novel
- Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann
- It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Sugiura
- Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro
- A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bathena
- Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
- All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds
- Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
- The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNiequa Ramos
Sophie picked up –
- The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
- Midnight at The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
- The Resolutions by Mia Garcia
- The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young
- The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNiequa Ramos
I did plan on talking about the bloggers meeting in this post too, but it’s getting a little long and honestly, I would have lost concentration by now. I really want to talk about the bloggers meeting, because it was hosted by DK and we chatted a lot about feminism, which is important to both of us. A post on that will be up tomorrow so keep your eyes out for it!