YALLFest, or the Freshman at the Senior Prom

Dear Crawfish Cakes,

My friend has a saying when she’s about to embark on something new and fun and kind of scary: “I’m nervous but excited.” (Okay, it’s not really a “saying” as much as something she says a lot, but when did you get so picky?) That pretty much sums up what I’m feeling today. Because this weekend I will be attending my first ever and the second ever YALLFest – Charleston, SC’s  young adult book festival.

Charleston YA book festival

Why am I excited? Because this is not just any regular book festival. This festival is organized as a labor of YA (and Southern) love by the writers (and bookseller) themselves. Because who else would make the centerpieces of their festival a storytelling smackdown and pie (yes, pie)?

Sounds awesome, right? So why am I nervous? Because the author list for YALLFest includes some pretty big names. Names like Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, Alyson Noel and Melissa de la Cruz, and, oh yeah, ELLEN HOPKINS and DAVID LEVITHAN and, did I mention, Pseudonymous FREAKING Bosch.

Charleston YA book festival

So, yeah, I feel like the freshman at the senior prom. I plan on spending the weekend wondering if they just asked me on a dare and if my hair looks alright and trying not to puke on anyone’s shoes out of sheer nervous excitement. If someone yells “FRESHMAN!” I’m running.

So, if you’re in the area (or not), come out this Saturday to hear some of these ridiculously talented writers talk about books and writing and the zombie apocalypse. You can also watch me nervous sweat (it involves the pits and the upper lip) my way through meeting David Levithan and have a copy of Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff signed.

Here are my panels:

11 am YA GIRL BAND: BETWEEN TWEEN & TEEN – American Theater Ballroom
Alyson Noel (Immortals series), Elizabeth Eulberg (The Lonely Hearts Club), Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss), Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry), Jenny Han (Burn for Burn), Kathryn Williams (The Lost Summer).
Moderator: Andria Amaral

4 pm  WRITING THE REAL — American Theater Ballroom
Kathryn Williams (The Lost Summer), Gayle Forman (If I Stay), Adele Griffin (Picture the Dead), Siobhan Vivian (Not That Kind of Girl), Alex Morel (Survive)
Moderator: Marjory Wentworth

And, of course:
6 pm  YA SMACKDOWN – Charleston Music Hall
Presented by Charleston County Public Library YA Services
Judge: Sarah Rees Brennan  MC: Rose Brock
Smackdown tickets are $6 and are available online until Friday, Nov. 9. Also available at Blue Bicycle Books and at the door.

See you there, I hope. I’ll be the one by the punch bowl.

 

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