Y’ALL MEANS ALL
Yallwest is a book festival that takes place in the spring in Santa Monica, California. The festival was co-founded in 2015 by authors Melissa de la Cruz and Margaret Stohl with the help of an amazing team that included Pseudonymous Bosch, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Roth, and from the Santa Monica Library staff Robert Graves and Ivy Weston.The book festival is a place for readers to meet authors and publishers, get news of what books to look out for this coming year, and have fun with authors on panels about a variety of topics. For authors the festival is an amazing place to get to know their readers, hear their ideas, answer their questions, and have a conversation. With COVID-19 Yallwest and its sister festival Yallfest moved online and has been able to reach many more readers and fans.
In the Beginning…
Yallwest sister festival Yallfest began in 2011 and was co-founded by authors Margaret Stohl, Kami Garcia, and Johnathan
Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books. The festival takes place in the fall in Charleston, South Carolina. Both Yallwest and Yallfest are community events meant to bring people together, get excited about books, and connect with others.
Since the beginning, Yallfest and Yallwest have made an effort to make queer folk feel included, seen, and heard. “We’ve had panels centered around queer authors and as the festival has grown and time has passed we have more queer books, authors, and stories being represented and showcased. This year we are having a panel I will be monitoring about queer middle-grade books”, says Raphel Simon author of ‘The Anti-Book’.
In March 2020 the world went on lockdown and all preparation of having an outdoor Yallwest festival came to a halt. “We postponed the festival and were going to cancel, but decided to go online and do YALL STAY HOME”, says Shane Pangburn, illustrator of ‘The Unbelievable Oliver’. The festival was a hit reaching over 95k readers and fans around the world. The following fall Yallfest moved online as well. While panels, games and giveaways were different the excitement, connection and conversations were the same. You can find a playlist on Yallwest’s Youtube account to check out the Y’ALL STAY HOME 2020 festival or click here.
April 24th you can expect to see the Young Adult and Middle-Grade book festival, with previews on the 23rd, two weeks of giveaways, and special events. Yallwest will have all the fun panels and games past attendees, volunteers, and viewers have come to love. While this event is catered to young adult and middle-grade readers, all are welcome!