The two-day celebration of all things YA (and some middle grade this year, too) hit the sunshiney campus of Santa Monica High School in southern California on the weekend of April 30 and May 1. More than 100 authors and illustrators hosted panels, workshops, games, and more, while readers browsed book tents, had books signed, snacked from food trucks, and even engaged in sing-alongs and Quidditch matches. See photo highlights from the festivities here. All photos: Gina Clyne Photography.
The organizers of Yallwest, Margaret Stohl (l.) and Melissa de la Cruz, kick things off at the festival photo booth.
Before the opening keynote, many of the featured authors gather together to share the theme for this year’s festival: “Y’all means ALL,” to support an inclusive spirit in the face of sexual orientation discrimination.
Audience members, rapt with attention.
Holly Black (l.) hosted the opening keynote on Saturday morning, and interviewed Rainbow Rowell (r.).
Following the keynote, the crowds descended on the autographing area. Here, one devoted fan gets all of his Holly Black books ready for inscription.
Teen readers browse the book tent.
An annual highlight of the festival is The Storyball. Hosted by Psedonymous Bosch and C. Alexander London, authors M.T. Anderson, Dave Barry, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Tahereh Mafi, Ridley Pearson, and Jason Reynolds were joined by illustrators Gary Rosen and Phillip de Leon to engage the audience in a live improvisation of a story.
One festival volunteer hands out prompt cards to the audience.
Illustrator Phillip De Leon and Ridley Pearson hard at work.
Dave Barry (l.), directs Dean Hale as a snail, with C. Alexander London looking on.
This year featured the festival’s inaugural book swap, in which attendees could socialize and take home something new to read.
The beautiful Santa Monica weather offered a perfect atmosphere to draw the crowds.
Authors (from l.) Adam Silvera, Erin Bowman, Leigh Bardugo, Tahereh Mafi, Sabaa Tahir, and Veronica Roth (alongside Hedwig the owl) address the audience at the “Harry Potter Is Lyfe” panel.
Yallwest ambassadors lead a Hamilton sing-along.
Soman Chainani plays a game of Taboo.
The UCLA Quidditch team engages in a scrimmage.
Author and editor David Levithan (far r.) moderates a panel with (from l.) Alex Gino, Simon Curtis, C. Alexander London, Nina LaCour, and A.R. Kahler.
Tiger Beat, the band comprised of YA authors and editors, closed the festival with a performance; here they are joined on stage by more authors and some young backup dancers.
(From l.): Margaret Stohl, Tahereh Mafi, Melissa de la Cruz, and Marie Lu bid adieu to the audience. See you next year!