Stripes YA Afternoon Equali-tea

Stripes YA Afternoon Equali-tea

It’s hard to believe over a week has passed since I hopped on the bus to London and headed to Stripes YA Afternoon Equali-tea, but I couldn’t resist sharing my experience with you all anyway.

Unfortunately, on the morning of the event I woke up and my phone had refused to charge overnight, so I didn’t manage to get any pictures of my own during the event. I’m embedding some pics from fellow attendees in this post. Check out their feeds to see even more snapshots of a brilliant afternoon!

I was a few minutes late to the event – I have a terrible internal compass, so I turned the wrong way onto the road and didn’t realise until I’d reached the opposite end, oops! – but managed to arrive moments before Gabriel Dylan began reading a section of his debut novel Whiteout, the tenth Red Eye horror novel that Stripes have published.

I’m a big fan of horror, but the excerpt from Whiteout that Gabriel chose to read sent shivers down my spine. It takes a lot to unnerve me, but the way that he describes some of the events in the book have made me equally excited and terrified to read it.

The main focus at this event was on Proud, the upcoming LGBT+ anthology compiled by Juno Dawson. Three of the new voices featured in the anthology – Cynthia So, Kay Staples and Karen Lawler – were in attendance, each reading the first page of their story and answering questions, while Michael Lee Richardson – contributor of The Other Team – had recorded a short video interview, too.

With stories ranging from lesbian retellings of Pride and Prejudice to teenagers running away to their local Travelodge, the big names involved in the project might gain attention for Proud but I think the new authors are going to be the shining stars in this collection.

Then it was time to hear from Alex Bell. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town is her tenth novel, but even her years of experience didn’t save her from having to start the book from scratch – twice!

Talking about New Orleans and the parts of the culture that inspired the novel – and how she’s twisted those aspects to incorporate them into the story – you could tell that Alex is really passionate about the country. I can’t wait to see how that translates onto the page. Teaching us about Madame Lalaurie, mardi gras beads and kissing gates, I’m sure everyone in the room discovered something new. Music and Malice in Hurricane Town is being published on April 4th.

After a brief break for cupcakes, we heard from Randy Ribay
(who wasn’t in attendance as he lives in America, but had recorded a video clip for us) – author of Patron Saints of Nothing, releasing June 27tyh – before Sarah Shaffi, editor-at-large at Stripes, introduced her first acquisition, My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, which is being released on May 2nd.

Nisha Sharma was busy getting married at the time of the event – how exciting, eek! – but Sarah was so obviously excited about My So-Called Bollywood Life, and her enthusiasm was infectious. With every attendee given a handout recommending some must watch Bollywood films, I’m looking forward to fully immersing myself in the culture while reading My So-Called Bollywood Life.

Then it was time to do some mingling! I have horrendous social anxiety, but I’m proud to say that I introduced myself to a few people and didn’t run out of the door as soon as the informal section of the afternoon began.

I’d like to say a huge thanks to Charlie Morris, for inviting me to this event – it was such a fun day, and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing all five of the books I went home with.

Which of these five Stripes releases are you most looking forward to, and why?