Young adult (YA) lit is coming home to Southern California, and not just on the big and small screen.
Santa Monica Public Library is partnering with New York Times bestselling authors Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) and Melissa de la Cruz (Frozen) to create Santa Monica’s first young adult book festival, YALLWEST, on April 11 & 12, 2015.
The first day’s activities will take place on the campus of Santa Monica High School, while the second day will move to Santa Monica Public Library’s Main Library.
YALLWEST will be a West Coast sister festival to the five-year-old Charleston, SC-based YALLFEST, currently the biggest and most celebrated young adult book festival in the country, also co-founded by Stohl and co-organized by de la Cruz.
Epic Reads, HarperCollins’ online YA community (www.epicreads.com) has signed on as YALLWEST 2015’s presenting sponsor.
This year’s festival will celebrate local and diverse authors, and also spotlight YA lit’s strong connection to Hollywood. Santa Monica-based author Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which Tim Burton brings to the screen in 2016) will give the inaugural keynote address.
“Whether books or TV or movies, our city is one that loves to tell stories,” Riggs said. “I’ve studied film here and written books here—and a festival that celebrates both is a great fit for me and for YA.”
The YALLWEST Author Advisory Board includes Stohl, de la Cruz and Riggs, as well as fellow bestsellers Pseudonymous Bosch (Secret Series), Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me), Marie Lu (The Young Elites), Holly Goldberg Sloan (Counting by 7s), Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), Veronica Roth (Divergent), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), Brendan Reichs (Virals), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Ally Condie (Matched) and Mike Johnston (Frozen), all of whom will be appearing at the fest.
In true Hollywood style, panels will not only feature authors, illustrators, but also Hollywood creatives including producer Wyck Godfrey (The Fault in Our Stars, Maze Runner, Twilight), director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, The Lords of Dogtown), director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little), actor/producer Caleeb Pinkett (Annie), producer Richard Lewis (August Rush), and Michael DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko (co-creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra).
The YA author cover band Tiger Beat, fronted by New York Times bestseller Libba Bray, with fellow authors Dan Ehrenhaft, Barnabas Miller and Natalie Standiford, will also play the Saturday event.
YALLWEST also features New York Times and/or Los Angeles Times bestsellers Coe Booth, Ann Brashares, Libba Bray, Rachel Cohn, Kimberly Derting, Susan Ee, Shannon Hale, Lisi Harrison, Nancy Holder, Ellen Hopkins, Robyn LaFevers, E. Lockhart, Maile Meloy, Kass Morgan, Jandy Nelson, Alyson Noel, Lauren Oliver, Danielle Paige, Stephanie Perkins, Morgan Rhodes, Veronica Rossi, Madeleine Roux, Carrie Ryan, Neal Shusterman, Maya van Wagenen, Scott Westerfeld and Gene Luen Yang. Local authors include Colet Abedi, Victoria Aveyard, Robin Benway, Julie Berry, Greg Boose, Jessica Brody, Anna Carey, Katie Cotugno, Maria Dahvana Headley, Ava Dellaira, Michelle Gagnon, Aaron Hartzler, Leila Howland, Jessi Kirby, Justine Larbalestier, Alexander London, Abby McDonald, Gretchen McNeil, Jennifer Niven, Cindy Pon, Sarah Raasch, Robyn Schneider, Sonya Sones, Elissa Sussman, John Corey Whaley, Lisa Yee and Allen Zadoff. Book cover artists John Rocco and Gary Rosen will also appear.
More information will be posted as the festival takes shape on the YALLWEST website at www.yallwest.com.