A literary first for Scotland

editorial image

Scotland’s first ever literature festival dedicated to books for young adults was held at Cumbernauld Theatre on Friday.

The Yay!Ya+ festival was founded by local writer Kirkland Ciccone, author of novels Endless Empress and Conjuring the Infinite, with the aid of funding from CultureNL and the theatre.

Shortly after declaring the festival open, Kirkland told the News and Chronicle: “I first approached Tony Cownie of Cumbernauld Theatre back in August and he was very keen on the idea of Scotland having its own festival.

“CultureNL were also happy to get on board and then it was a matter of opening up my contacts book to invite authors. They were delighted to take part!”

“While there are a number of children’s book festivals - I’ve appeared at several - there is nothing specifically for the young adult category.

“I love YA fiction as it has no genre beyond the books being aimed at a specific age group - you’ll find romances next to war stories, horror or sports stories. The quality of writing is better than ever - plenty of YA books have large adult followings - and as a result there are loads of adaptations in the cinemas and elsewhere.

“We made this first event a schools only thing and it sold out in one day. We now plan to make it an annual festival and open it up to the public.”

Several of Scotland’s biggest names in youth fiction joined Kirkland at the festival for a day of readings, book signings and the chance to meet their readers.

Ten schools from all over Scotland were invited to send pupils and around 200 readers were in attendance.