Yallfest in Charleston

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Every year, on the second weekend of November, thousands of readers come to downtown Charleston for the largest young adult book festival in the country: Yallfest. The festival was founded by Jonathan Sanchez in 2011, and is hosted by Blue Bicycle Books on King Street.

The Charleston atmosphere adds to the festival because of its historic setting and walkability.

“I think the way that Charleston is laid out where you can walk around the city and get around to places really easily is definitely conducive to the festival as a whole,” said Ms. Johnson, an English teacher at Summerville High School, “As far as Charleston being a good setting for [Yallfest], it’s got so much as far as layout and you can get to places really easily it’s very conducive to getting people to walk around and see what you can see,”

Over seventy authors came to Yallfest this year, more than double the number of authors that participated in its first occurrence in 2011. Most of the authors that attend Yallfest write young adult fiction including, Melissa Albert, Allie Condie, David Levithan, and Veronica Roth.

“My favorite part of the festival would have to be getting to meet my favorite authors and getting my favorite books signed,” said Sarah Lybrand, a junior at Summerville High School. Lybrand has been attending Yallfest for the past five years.

For many people, Yallfest has become a yearly tradition. It’s a time to bond with friends, family, and fellow book-lovers..

Authors can have a big impact on readers, who connect with characters in stories and even feel linked to the characters.

“My favorite author here this year would have to be Veronica Roth, mostly because I love all of her books and also because I have been reading her books since the sixth grade, so I feel very close to all the characters,” explained Sarah Lybrand.

Events like Yallfest are necessary because it brings people of all ages together to celebrate young adult literature.

“I think they bring awareness for young adult literature which is really important for getting our young people to read,” said Ms. Johnson, “And I think that having a festival like this that can really spark that excitement it can be something to look forward to for young people and the books that they’re interested in. I definitely think that it should continue.”

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