Following the inaugural YALLSTAYHOME in 2020, YALLWEST 2021 continued the virtual festivities, accumulating two million impressions across social media with more than 50,000 people partaking in special events and giveaways, culminating in a full day of panels on Saturday, April 24. The 100 featured YA authors presented to thousands of readers from more than 100 countries. Signed books by participating authors were available via Blue Bicycle Books. We’ve gathered some highlights from the festival.
YALLWEST founders Margaret Stohl (top r.) and Melissa de la Cruz (bottom l.), middle grade author Raphael Simon (bottom r.), and festival producer Shane Pangburn (top l.) introduced the event.
(Clockwise from top l.): the Capture the Pride Flag panel, moderated by Raphael Simon with Ashley Herring Blake, A.J. Sass, Mike Curato, and Greg Howard, showcased queer lit for younger readers.
(Clockwise from top l.): authors Tahereh Mafi, Ashley Elston, Ashley Woodfolk, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Alan Gratz, and Francesca Flores participated in the Cozy Comforts panel, sponsored by Wednesday Books. They showed off home items that bring them comfort and joy, such as Gratz’s Godzilla doll.
(Clockwise from top l.): moderated by Victoria Aveyard with Chloe Gong, Ciannon Smart, Margot Wood, Nita Tyndall, and Aiden Thomas, the Digital Distractions panel, sponsored by Epic Reads, featured author discussions on surviving Zoom life and favorite digital pastimes.
(Clockwise from top l.): in Gone Beyond Grimm, sponsored by Riveted by Simon Teen, Melissa de la Cruz moderated a discussion with Alexandra Bracken, J. Elle, Lynette Noni, Mike Johnston, and Namina Forna on fairy tales, magic, and speculative fiction in 2021—what will never be the same, and what will never change?
(Clockwise from top l.): Emily Ritter led authors Rachael Lippincott, S.K. Ali, and Loan Le through a series of Would You Rather questions.
Viewer Brighton Rose illustrated this poster based on the Fictional Foundations panel, sponsored by Fierce Reads and moderated by Maureen Johnson with Angeline Boulley, Joan He, Graci Kim, and Tirzah Price.
(Clockwise from top l.): in Exploring the Brave New Digital World, sponsored by Fierce Reads, moderator Margaret Stohl, Charlie Jane Anders, Asha Bromfield, Lewis Peterson, Karen M. McManus, and Marie Lu answered the questions: How do formats change fictions? Are more platforms new opportunities or just more noise?
(Clockwise from top l.): in a panel tied to the new anthology Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed, writers from across the Latinx diaspora, including moderator/editor Saraciea Fennell and authors Kahlil Haywood, Mark Oshiro, Zakiya N. Jamal, and Natasha Diaz, interrogated the different myths and stereotypes surrounding this rich and diverse community.
Maureen Goo (bottom) and Sarah Kuhn (top) went live on Instagram for the Asian American Superheroes panel, sponsored by Penguin Teen.
All panels are now available to view on the YALLWEST YouTube page.