This year marked the first YALLWEST, the West Coast counterpart of YALLFEST, now approaching its fifth year in Charleston, S.C. For the West Coast iteration, 90 authors participated in the festival that saw 8,000 attendees descend upon Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica Public Library April 11–12 for author talks, panel discussions, activities, food, and music. YA authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz co-directed the festival (with many more authors on the board), and Barnes and Noble, which conducted book sales for the event, donated a portion of sales to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District libraries. See below for photos of the festivities and a selection of the participating authors, including Ransom Riggs, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Veronica Roth, and Kami Garcia. All photos: Gina Clyne Photography.
All the authors gather at the first event of the day.
Stephanie Perkins (l.) and Carrie Ryan get the Southern California red carpet treatment.
(From l.) Emily Meehan, Melissa de la Cruz, and Mary Ann Zissimos pose for the paparazzi.
Lauren Oliver weighs in on the “Really Fantastic and Fantastically Real” panel.
Author Susan Ee signs books for fans.
A packed crowd for the keynote in Barnum Hall.
Ransom Riggs kicks things off with the Saturday morning keynote.
Riggs shares slides during his presentation.
Authors Pseudonymous Bosch and Melissa de la Cruz organize a game of StoryBall, with participating authors Julie Berry, Coe Booth, C. Alexander London, Shannon Hale, Brendan Reichs, Carrie Ryan, Natalie Standiford, Barnabas Miller, and Holly Goldberg Sloan, and illustrators Gary Rosen and Philip DeLeon.
Veronica Roth signs books for fans.
Author Leigh Bardugo (l.) moderates the panel “How We Hero: Benders, Boxers and Beyond – Avatar and Korra” with authors Gene Luen Yang, Bryan Konietzko, and Michael Dante DiMartino.
Festival attendees secure a loose ball from the nearby beach.
Veronica Roth (l.) moderates the “ ‘Strong Female Characters’ Ugh” panel, featuring authors Shannon Hale, Stephanie Perkins, Kimberly Derting, Victoria Aveyard, and Morgan Rhodes.
Stephanie Perkins weighs in on the discussion.
On the “Writers as Superfans: Cosplay Panel” authors dressed up. Pictured here are (from l.,) Maya Van Wagenen, Leigh Bardugo, Gene Luen Yang, and Margaret Stohl.
Authors Veronica Roth (l.,) and Marie Lu at the “Afternoon Teanote.”
Authors take the stage to embarrass themselves in the “YALLWEST Smackdown.”
A festival attendee joins authors on the stage for a game.
The band Tiger Beat, comprised of YA authors (from l.,) Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barnabas Miller, Libba Bray, and Natalie Standiford, take the stage at the close of the festivities.
One reader shares her day’s haul. Here’s hoping she doesn’t run out of books to read before next year’s festival.