YA’LL Fest 2016: Where All the YA Fans and Authors Meet Up!

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Last week my daughter, my mother, and I held fast to one of our favorite traditions: Going to Charleston, SC for YA’LL Fest, the largest annual Young Adult Book Festival and book signing. With over forty authors and their publishers, publicists, and book store owners running the show, the event is geared to thousands of avid YA readers.

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with Sarah Dessen

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with Jay Asher

One of the things I love about this festival is that although you run from signing to session to signing, the authors have one goal in mind: to meet and spend time with their fans. The authors are accessible to their readers, showing up at ice cream parlors for chats about Harry Potter and sponsoring cupcake socials where the fans and authors play YA book trivia games. The authors even put on a variety show at the end of the festival where they sing (badly), dance (terribly), and read from their middle school journals (hilarious).

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with Kiera Cass

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The event is sponsored by the Blue Bicycle Bookstore in Charleston, SC and Epic Reads. And it takes place in various historic buildings throughout the city. We caught Jay Asher in a tiny brick courtyard that was so quaint it looked like a movie set, then we saw Kiera Cass at the library society in an antebellum mansion south of Broad street.

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with Leigh Bardugo

We dragged a rolling suitcase filled with books everywhere we went and that was in addition to our two backpacks. My mother and I took turns standing in long book signing lines so my daughter could stand in a third. Between texting and begging people to hold our spots, my daughter was able to get over thirty books signed. Not bad considering many authors limited how many books they’d sign. There were even publisher tents set up with famous authors, like David Leviathan, running carnival games and handing out ARCs and cookies.

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with Sabaa Tahir

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We spent time with authors such as Veronica Roth, Maggie Stiefvater, Kiera Cass, Victoria Aveyard, Sarah Dessen, Jay Asher, Eoin Colfer, Scott Westerfeld, Alexandra Bracken, Leigh Bardugo, Renee Ahdieh, Lauren Oliver, and many, many others. By the time we were on our way home, we had two suitcases and two backpacks filled with signed books, a dozen ARCs, and a “Library Card” bag covered with autographs.

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YA’LL Fest is a great experience, and it’s hard to tell who’s more excited to be there, the authors or the readers. So next November 10 & 11 we hope you’ll join us in Charleston, SC for YA’LL Fest 2017. It’s sure to be a blast!

About Sharon Wray

Sharon is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes novels of adventure, suspense and love for Sourcebooks. She's a wife, mother of twins, caretaker of Donut the One-Eyed Family Dog, and addicted to snapping photos and eating Oreos.

Posted on November 29, 2016, in Sharon Wray and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Sharon, this sounds so cool. And I hate to admit it, but way more fun than our traditional literacy signing at the romance writer’s annual conference. The YA authors really know how to throw a reader event. Loved the pics and the happy smiles on your daughter’s face. And I love that you both share this annual tradition.

    • You are so right, Lena. The YA book events are so much more fun than the adult ones. The young people have such passion for these authors and their stories that even standing in lines for hours doesn’t matter. The readers are so happy to be there and share their stories about these authors have changed their lives for the better, and the authors are so accessible and so grateful to be there. Its the best book festival I’ve ever been to. Maybe you can meet us there next year! 🙂

  2. What a great event. And how wonderful to share it with your mom and daughter

    • Thanks so much, Diana. It is so much fun to share this across three generations and at the end of each day we go out to dinner and share our different experiences in line and with random authors we’ve met. Great for memory-making!

  3. Reblogged this on Book Smart TV and commented:

    Author Sharon Wray brings us highlights from this year’s YA’LL fest — a Young Adult book festival in South Carolina. Enjoy!

  4. What FUN! I’m so amazed at how literature keeps your family close-that’s an amazing feat in the era of technology. Thrilled you guys got to go and that ya’ll 🙂 had such a lovely time. Thanks for sharing, Sharon.

    • The amazing thing is that these teenagers were dragging suitcases and wagons filled with actual books to get signed. None of them read e-books and the few that did then bought the hardcopy book for the signing. In my house my kids sleep with their favorite books but there Kindles are under the bed, discharged. :0

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