I can’t explain to you how excited I was when I was sent the email announcing that YALLWEST (Now YALLSTAYHOME) was going virtual! I’ve never been to a book festival before, and I’ve dreamt of attending this one. I registered so quickly! just the thought of getting to see my favorite authors speak about their books and writing had me over the moon. I documented this rare and wonderful occasion. At least something good came out of being stuck at home.
Saturday April 25
Creativity in the time of Corona was the first panel that I attended. This was such a fun panel! I’ve never attended a book festival before so I’m not exactly familiar with how these work. It was wonderful to watch these authors speak about creativity and writing. Alexandra Bracken said something in particular that I loved and felt like I could relate with and that was to learn to be kinder to ourselves in this really stressful time. That we don’t need to push ourselves to write that book or to always be productive and that it’s okay to take care of our mental health. Also, David Yoon had one hell of a chair, fuzzy and all. I’m really looking forward to The Unstoppable Wasp since I love Marvel so much 😍 Sarah Enni also talked about her podcasts which sound amazing and I’m going to try to listen to those soon (you can find them here!). Simone Elkeles has some really great sounding book and I really want to check those out. And of course I’m all for David Yoon and Nicola Yoon writing rom-coms which is much needed in a time like this!
The second panel of the day was Modern Magic Worldbuilding. For someone who loves to write I was especially excited to attend this one. Margaret Rogerson wrote two books that I absolutely loved and to hear her take on worldbuilding was great. All the authors really shared amazing things especially with what they take from the real world and what they don’t. They all had different approaches so it was nice to hear the different ways of writing and building worlds and characters. I’m super excited to read All the Stars and Teeth though and hearing Adalyn Grace talk about her book got me a lot more excited.
This has to be one of mt favorite panels of the day! Facing the Enemy: Hope, War & Revolution was just so important. I loved listening to these wonderful people talk about their books. We Hunt the Flame is one of my favorite books. The book was so rich and I can’t explain to you how great it felt to find Arabic words in a book and characters with Arabic names (please read her book!). Woven in Moonlight sounded amazing and it’s definitely going on my tbr. Raybearer though? 😍 That book is going to be such a hugh success I can just feel it. I’m so intrigued and I’m about to head over and read those first chapters. Victoria Lee’s books are some that I’ve heard so much about it and ones that I’m hoping I can get around to reading soon. I’ve already read Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and if you love DC characters I definitely recommend it. Red Queen has been on my tbr for ages and so I’ve decided it’s about damn time I got to those. Listening to them has most definitely inspired me in so many ways.
Sunday April 26
It’s Sunday and the first panel of the day for me was Suckage Is Part of Writing. I absolutely loved this panel! I’ve been getting story ideas lately and I’m just so terrified of writing anything in fear that it will suck. After watching these amazing authors talk and give advice it has honestly made me feel so much better. I’m extra motivated to write now. I’m actually world building in another tab right now!
Worldbuilding Beyond Wikipedia was so so brilliant! (which I keep saying about every panel). I loved hearing about what inspires them to write. Roshani Chokshi was an amazing moderator and she asked such great questions. This panel was all sort of fun. Each author had such a different way of coming up with stories and all the research that went into the books they wrote. I felt like writing so bad after watching this one.
Ah Tahereh Mafi needs to start a podcast with that voice. So calming and comfortable to listen to. Writing Empathy was one I was really interested in attending because I find it hard to write about difficult or important topics while also keeping the story on it’s plot. These authors really helped with that. I’m also pretty interested in these titles too. Would be wonderful to see how they write difficult topics while also following the main plot.
Cassandra Clare moderating a panel? You bet I was going to register for it! Juvenalia was a wonderful end to this virtual book festival. Each of the writers read out a piece of writing that they wrote a very long time ago. Some even in their teenage years! I had such a good laugh with this one. I didn’t even realize how much I needed it. Ransom Riggs’s story had everyone laughing (really hope he publishes that one). The Beautiful Cassandra by (of course) Cassandra Clare was wonderful. I really want to read the rest of the book. It was just so so funny. Although it seems to be quite long. Holly Black’s story was as strange as usual and just looking at her tear up from laughter on screen had me doing the same thing.
Overall, this virtual book festival was amazing. I loved connecting with the authors and listening to them talk about their books and writing. I got so much inspiration from these few panels. A huge thank you to YALLWEST for organizing this and keeping us all busy during self isolation!