Celebrating its 10th anniversary, YALLFest was held November 11–12 in Charleston, S.C. After going virtual due to the pandemic in 2020, the festival returned in person this year, drawing 4,000 avid readers and 60 authors. YALLFest directors Melissa de la Cruz, Margaret Stohl, Jonathan Sanchez, and Soman Chainani were on hand to coordinate and welcome attendees. We’ve gathered photo highlights from the event.
(From l.): YALLFest directors Jonathan Sanchez, Melissa de la Cruz, and Margaret Stohl opened the festival by thanking participating readers, authors, and sponsors.
(From l.): Authors Ayana Gray, Rachel Lippincott, Stephen Salvatore, Margot Wood, Aiden Thomas, and Justin Reynolds gathered at the Music Hall Step and Repeat for the opening keynote.
As host of the Smackdown variety show, author Soman Chainani performed a 20-minute dance introduction to the theme of “Bad Ships.”
Teens danced with Eric Smith, Justin Reynolds, and Adam Sass during the Smackdown.
The finale of the YALLFest Smackdown featured all of the authors on stage.
Blackout co-authors and keynote panelists (from l.) Ashley Woodfolk, Nic Stone, Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany Jackson and Angie Thomas. Nicola Yoon was unfortunately unable to attend.
(From l.): Judith Stephens, Jen Calonita, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Stacey Lee, and Nisha Sharma took part in the Protagonism panel, discussing what makes a hero heroic in 2021 and how that has changed over time.
In a panel called The Next Star Wars, (from l.) Victoria Aveyard, Jordan Ifueko, and Marie Lu spoke about how to write for extensive universes in SFF.
(From l.): Brendan Reichs, Ally Condie, Lori M. Lee, Mike Johnston, and Claribel Ortega explored how the makings of a villain has evolved during the Antagonist panel.
Keynote speakers and bestselling authors E. Lockhart and Adam Silvera discussed BookTok and working during a pandemic.
Readers browsed and purchased books.
Fans lined up outside of Blue Bicycle to get books signed. The queue stretched several blocks down King Street in downtown Charleston.
Chloe Gong, author of These Violent Delights and its sequel Our Violent Ends, signed books and posed for photos with readers.
Married bestselling authors Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs.
Margaret Stohl (l.) and Angie Thomas with Thomas’s dog, Kobe.