February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

YALLFest Promises Great Lit, Good Pie, and the Resolution of a Mysterious Rumor

“It’s well-known that he wrote my books or I wrote his,” says Pseudonymous Bosch, author of The Name of This Book is Secret (2007) and its sequels, of Trenton Lee Stewart, who wrote “The Mysterious Benedict Society” books (both Little, Brown). All misconceptions, rumors, and confusion about who really wrote these two blockbuster series will be laid to rest, says Bosch, on Saturday.

“Bosch vs. Benedict: It Ends Now” is a November 10 panel at YALLFest (@YALLFest), otherwise known as the Charleston Young Adult Book Festival.

“The final determination will be made on stage,” says Bosch, who expects “a lot of booing and heckling, possibly a few tomatoes” from the audience. The panel may also touch on rumors that moderator Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm (Dutton, 2010) “may also have written our books,” Bosch says.

How did Bosch get involved with the nascent YALLFest, now in its second year, and wind up as one of three directors of programming?

“I hear there’s a lot of pie in Charleston,” says the author. “It’s also a fact that I am secretly old friends with Margaret Stohl,” another YALLFest director of programming and co-author, with Kami Garcia, of the bestselling Beautiful Creatures.

Stohl is also drawn to Charleston because the region evokes the Gothic Southern setting of her books. “The South is the place in the US where magic can still happen,” she says. “There are fabulous storytellers, local lore and superstition.”

Pseudonymous Bosch speaking to a packed house at the inaugural 2011 YALLFest. Photo by David Strauss Photography.

In addition, both Stohl and Bosch wanted to be part of a literature festival taking place in an “underserved part of the country in terms of literacy programs,” in Bosch’s words.

There will be literature aplenty on November 9 and 10, with a lineup ranging from keynote speaker Cassandra Clare (City of Bones, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007) to Holly Black (“The Spiderwick Chronicles” series, Simon & Schuster). YALLFest began last year after a larger planned book festival in Charleston that featured a YA component fell apart. YALLFest founder and director Jonathan Sanchez, owner of Charleston’s Blue Bicycle Books, teamed up with authors who had planned to attend to organize their own gig. “It was a little like stone soup because we tapped all the writers we knew to come down and eat pie,” says Stohl.

Sponsored by Blue Bicycle Books, an independent bookstore, as well as Amazon and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the festival is operating on a budget of about $25,000 this year, says Sanchez. Last year, there were 2,000 attendees, according to a press release, which also states that “YALLFest has a mission to improve literacy through great YA literature.”

Other authors among the 45 participants include Ellen Hopkins, Pat Conroy, Sue Monk Kidd, and John Corey Whaley.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I hope nobody believes these terrible aspersions that I’m not the real author of my books,” says Bosch.  “I intend to prove that I wrote every word.” How? “I don’t know. But I’m bringing a wad of cash.” And, “If you see a guy in dark glasses and a fake mustache, that’s not me.”

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Sarah Bayliss About Sarah Bayliss

Sarah Bayliss (sbayliss@mediasourceinc.com, @shbayliss) is associate editor, news and features, at School Library Journal.



  1. Huh. Here I’ve been recommending The Mysterious Benedict Society to fans of The Name of This Book Is Secret for ages and I had no idea they had any deeper connections. Or don’t. Whichever.