Ireland’s biggest annual Young Adult Fiction Convention, called Deptcon 5 took place on 11th and 12th October in the Liberty Hall Theatre. Going on its 5th year, it was hosted by Eason’s David O’Callaghan and Department 51, the bookstore’s department specializing in both YA books and popular culture. The convention featured panel discussions and signings by YA authors from all over the world.
There were some frequently asked questions during the different panels. One of these questions was: “What is your writing process like?” Every author had s slightly different answer. For Savannah Brown for example it is like “putting puzzle pieces together”. The poet and writer recently published her first novel The Truth About Keeping Secrets. Others first have an event they want to build a story around.
Another frequently asked question was if the writers had any say in the choosing of the cover or title of their books. Most of them did not and if they had, they often could only change small things. Taran Matharu had to fight to keep his illustrator for his Summoner series that illustrated his covers during his time as Wattpad author. Melinda Salisbury‘s Sorrow series actually has the same cover through all published editions, which is a bit surprising.
The question of representation and worldbuilding
The panels also talked about topics like the power of friendship and how it can help people through tough times. How relationships can change over the years, especially during high school. Another topic was the issue of representation in stories. Currently, YA books seem to have the strongest presence of either disabled or LGBT+ characters in them.
In one panel, the authors were asked how they build their complex worlds. And also how they can keep track of it. For Taran Matharu, authors are “like magpies that see shiny things and think: ‘I like that, I’m gonna keep that'”. While Melinda Salisbury tends to “play god” with her book universes. Fantasy book author Derek Landy admitted that he frequently forgets facts in his extensive Skulduggery Pleasant universe.
All in all, the Deptcon 5 Young Adult Fiction Convention was a great chance for readers to look behind the scenes of some of the greatest YA books published. The audience ranged from young teenagers to adults in their 40s. This shows that YA has become a genre that is read by everyone. The authors were interesting to listen to and frequently engaged in friendly banter with parts of the audience. The signings after the panels made it possible to meet your favorite authors up close and personal, which was an added bonus.
I personally enjoyed this weekend very much and found some interesting new books to read. I am excited to see what next year’s Deptcon will bring.
Lineup of authors featured on panels during the convention
For more Irish Authors you should check out, discover ‘Recommendations of a Bookworm: 6 Irish Authors’