Imagine downtown Charleston, SC – easily one of the most walkable and picturesque US cities – filled with book crazed teens and the authors who write for them. Authors dressed like Harry Potter or singing in rock bands or competing in ridiculous game shows. Add in southern comfort food and hilarious panels and that’s Y’All Fest.
Okay, so I’ll confess that I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I accepted the invitation. For those of you who might be unfamiliar, Y’All Fest is just five years old and is the brainchild of mega authors Margie Stohl and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures series and more), along with indi bookstore owner Jonathan Sanchez (Blue Bicycle Books). Today, it’s big. It’s wacky. It oozes cool. But underneath, it’s mostly an amazing festival that uses books to transform a community and serve kids. If you’re a YA fan, this is an event to put on your calendar every year.
There was too much going on to capture everything, but here are a few shots to give you an idea…
The founders…Kami and Margie
My school visit at Palmetto Scholars Academy
With the fabulous Nicola Yoon, author of Everything Everything
The pros talk strategies for surviving the writing life. So many great suggestions, including wearing a hat with sharks stuck on it. Don’t ask.
Hollywood Squares with authors
Our Hollywood Squares contestant
Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, losing badly at a game show despite excellent directions by Veronica Roth.
Carolyn Mackler is as funny and wonderful in person as she is in her books (My longtime favorite: The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Fat Round Things)
What happens if you’re feeling shy? You find another first time Y’All Fester to feel shy with. Hello to the fabulous Michelle Falkoff, author of Playlist for the Dead
A random Gumby sighting with my friend, Greg Neri
Libba Bray (yep, THAT Libba Bray) fronting the band Tiger Beats. You know, if this writing thing doesn’t work out…
Singing “Walk This Way” by Aerosmith. The whole place was rockin’!
Best moment by far: High school choir singing “Let it Be” with Libba Bray in honor of slain librarian Cynthia Hurd