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Santa Monica’s First Young Adult Book Festival Coming This Year

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By Lookout Staff

December 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica will hold the city’s first young adult book festival this April to showcase local talent and highlight the genre’s strong ties to Hollywood, City officials announced Friday.

Called YALLWEST, the festival will serve as a companion to the Charleston, SC-based YALLFEST, which in five years has become “the biggest and most celebrated young adult book festival in the country,” according to Santa Monica Public Library officials.

The local festival will be held April 11 and 12 and is a partnership between the library and YALLFEST co-founders Margaret Stohland  and Melissa de la Cruz., the New York Times bestselling authors of “Beautiful Creatures” and “Frozen,” repectively.

Santa Monica High School will host activities the first day, and Santa Monica’s Main Library will host events on the second day, library officials said. Epic Reads -- HarperCollins’ online YA community -- will be the presenting sponsor.

“Whether books or TV or movies, our city is one that loves to tell stories,” said Ransom Riggs, a Santa Monica-based author who will give the inaugural keynote address. “I’ve studied film here and written books here -- and a festival that celebrates both is a great fit for me and for YA.” 

Riggs’ book “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” is scheduled to be turned into a film by Tim Burton in 2016.

  “In true Hollywood style, panels will not only feature authors and book illustrators, but also Hollywood creatives,” library officials said.

Participants will include producer Wyck Godfrey (“The Fault in Our Stars,” “Maze Runner,” “Twilight”), director Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight,” “The Lords of Dogtown”), director Rob Minkoff (“The Lion King,” “Stuart Little”), actor/producer Caleeb Pinkett (“Annie”), producer Richard Lewis (“August Rush”) and Michael DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko (co-creators of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “Legend of Korra”).

“The YA author cover band Tiger Beat, fronted by New York Times bestseller Libba Bray, with fellow authors Dan Ehrenhaft, Barnabas Miller and Natalie Standiford, will also play the Saturday event,” library officials said.

 Information will be posted, as the festival takes shape.

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