Yallwest is a book festival, under the backdrop of beautiful Santa Monica, California, that concentrates in the area of teen/young adult. The organizers, headed by directors Margaret Stohl and Melissa De La Cruz, do many things good shows should strive for.
The event assembles a lineup of talented and popular authors and has thoughtful and interesting panels that spark intelligent conversation. It is family friendly with a focus on students and provides an avenue for young minds to not only meet their favorite writers but speak with industry people to hopefully inspire the next wave of creatives.
There is also a community outreach aspect as Yallwest is free to attend and most of the books given out are free as well promoting literacy. They even bus in students from under served areas so they don’t miss out on the opportunities.
In addition, what’s becoming more common at book festivals, is the inclusion of comics and graphic novels. Because of the directors’ ties, Marvel and DC both exhibited and held panels. Big two writers like Gerry Duggan, Ryan North and Marguerite Bennett were present along with smaller publisher talent like CB Lee and Sarah Kuhn. Based off the target demographic, by the off chance any organizers read this, I think Boom! Studios would be a good fit for future shows.
Last but not least, their food truck game is on point. Highlights include the acclaimed Kogi taco truck and the gourmet cookie ice cream sandwich truck, Coolhaus.
The only drawback is that Yallwest always falls on FCBD so that could discourage some from attending. Luckily, Hi De Ho Comics is walking distance from the venue if you needed a break. Enjoy the gallery below.