YA Shot started life an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raised the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts.
We believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all and, from the start, YA Shot brought UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country.
YA Shot launched as a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (London). The most recent festival, on Saturday 14th April 2018, was human rights themed and featured over 50 authors involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre and Uxbridge Library. We also hosted a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops as part of the UKYA Blogger Awards in the evening. YA Shot ran all of this in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge, as we did our 2015 and 2016 festivals.
YA Shot is incredibly grateful to have been awarded an Arts Council Grant for our inaugural year. YA Shot and its 2015/2016 Libraries-Schools Programme were supported using public money and National Lottery funding by Arts Council England. Thanks to this grant the 2015/2016 Libraries-Schools Programme was able to offer 35 events free to host Libraries in the London Borough of Hillingdon and local schools. We also provided a free copy of the relevant author’s book to both the host library and the school library for each event.
The 2016-2017 Library-Schools Programme – working with Haringey (London) and Sunderland Libraries was funded entirely by ticket-sales and donations from authors in our inaugural year. The 2018-2019 LSP – working with Lambeth (London) and Gloucestershire Libraries – was funded partly by ticket sales and donations, and partly by repurposed funds from our inaugural year grant thanks to the kind permission of the Arts Council. We received an 18-month extension on our grant to continue this work through June 2018. Our final report has now been submitted and accepted: we were awarded the full balance of the grant, including the portion that is always withheld till after the final report is submitted. This means that the funds we raised from the 2018 Festival can be replenished to pay for a 2019/2020 outreach programme. We’ll be doing things a little differently then, so watch out for updates!
In 2015, we offered work experience to a group of local students. In 2016, we formalised this to launch our Internship Programme. It went so well and so many interns wanted to stay on that in 2018 we created a second-year internship as well! We have continued this into 2019, sending our first-years to do work experience at the 2018 Bookseller Children’s Conference. Our current second-years will be doing their event-management experience in 2019, working on one of two currently-secret projects! Six of our original interns are now members of the Core Team. Beyond the 2018/2019 Internship Programme, things will be changing a little, but we’re planning to continue offering exciting opportunities to young people who can’t do a traditional internship but need experience and skills to get into the publishing industry.