Monday, August 30, 2010

PAYA Festival

So last Saturday, I had the great fortune of attending the PAYA Festival, a YA lit event organized by the incredible Skyanne of Harmony Book Reviews. PAYA is an acronym for "Bringing YA 2 PA," which raises money and collects YA book donations for Pennsylvania public libraries. It was held in West Chester, PA, which was about 30 minutes away from me. As we've almost never had a large, multi-author YA event in Pennsylvania, I was really excited to be a part of this one!

I arrived a little before 9AM to help Skyanne set up. We drew signs leading up to the obscure little building--in the picture you see Skyanne hard at work setting up a sign!--and then I drew lots of signs and labels for the rooms inside. From 10-12, I attended a writing workshop with the authors Jon Skovron, Josh Berk, Stephanie Kuehnert, Jeri Smith-Ready, Amy Brecount-White, and Shannon Delany (am I missing anyone? I really really really hope not!). Each author shared their experience with one aspect of the writing process, from writing REALLY crappy rough drafts to working with the entire editorial and publishing team to make your book amazing. For the second hour, we divided up into two groups of authors and aspiring writers, and each of us aspiring writers got to have a page or two of our WIPs verbally critiqued by the authors!
New books on sale for the author signings.
The raffles table.
It was exciting to see the new books to be sold being set up by Children's Book World, as well as people looking at the basket raffles full of amazing goodies, and the used book sales. 1-3 was the author signing! I'm sad to say that I did not get very many books signed, as I was low on money. However, it was so great to see how BUSY the event was! For a first-time event, with a location that was a little difficult to find, I was really happy with the crowd we had drawn.

Some of the authors who came to the event, with Skyanne in the middle!
I especially had a wonderful time meeting all the bloggers who had gone! I got to see again Skyanne of Harmony Book Reviews (of course), Kristi of The Story Siren, and James of Book Chic. I especially loved meeting new bloggers though. I met and got to talk to Anne of Potter, Percy, and I, a 12-year-old blogger who came with her mom; Caitlin of Scarrlet Reader (she and her mom actually came down from basically near my hometown in North Jersey--stupid Jersey Turnpike traffic!); Jenn of Book Crazy and her daughter; Jamie of Broke and Bookish and Perpetual Pageturner; Christina of Confessions of a Book Addict; and oh gosh I know there are quite a few more but my mind is blaaaaaaaaaanking, so if I missed you please leave me a comment and I will link to you!
A small sampling of bloggers: Chelsea (The Page Flipper), me, Kristi (Story Siren), Skyanne, and James (Book Chic).
Anyway, overall it was fantastic turnout with such a positive, happy, and supportive atmosphere. A special thanks to Skyanne for organizing everything, Children's Book World for supplying us with books to buy for the signings, the various people who contributed to the raffles and book sales, and last but not least, the authors who were the only reason this event was possible. Let's hope that PAYA Festivals in years to come will only get bigger and better from here! (They have a lot to live up to.)


  1. I actually go to west chester university! And I was going to go to this, but I had so much going on! I'm glad to hear it all went well! and I hope you all do it again next year! :) or sooner! :)

  2. So great meeting you, too! Thanks for sharing about all the writing workshops! I was wondering what that experience was like! Sounds like a really awesome opportunity for aspiring writers! :)

  3. chelsea: LOVE your shirt xD
    PAYA sounds fantastic, thanks for spreading the word :)

  4. It's so awesome ya'll got to meet! I wish I lived near PA.

  5. What a great event! I'm glad you enjoyed meeting everyone and being able to attend.

  6. It was awesome meeting you there. I still am so impressed by Skyanne. PAYA was amazing....thanks to her! I look forward to going next year!

  7. Great recap! Mine will be up this weekend. :) It was so great to see you again too and hang out for a bit. This was a great festival!

    Also, I think it's hilarious that in the blogger picture, all you girls are wearing open toed shoes and then there's me in my big boots, lol.

  8. Great post Steph, I'm with you I thought PAYA was fantastic and can't wait to go again next year!


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