Love Y’all Book Fest brings 67 romance authors to Atlanta

The three-day ticketed event has panels and signings

Love Y’all Book Fest bring 67 romance authors to Atlanta

Illustration by Olena Dumanchuk / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Fake dating, enemies-to-lovers, second chance—these are just some of the romance tropes authors must defend in Battle of the Tropes. It’s part of the first-ever Love Y’all Book Fest, where hundreds of readers descend upon Decatur’s Courtyard Marriott for romance author panels, signings, keynotes, and even exclusive meet-and-greets from February 16-18.

Atlanta has always had a bookish community with a strong book festival culture. Despite how romance-only book festivals are popping up across the country, like California’s Steamy Lit Con, Atlanta didn’t have its own. “We saw a lack of opportunities for romance writers in Atlanta,” says organizer Vania Stoyanova. “Our desire is to have more space for romance in the Atlanta book scene.” The festival is a collaboration between Stoyanova, the event coordinator at Brave + Kind; Hannah Teachout, a bookseller at Brave and Bookish Atlanta; and bookseller Chanpreet Singh of Eagle Eye Book Shop.

The Atlanta community was ready for it. What started off as an event with 10 local authors blossomed into the weekend-long festival with 60-plus authors from all over the U.S and more than 600 ticketed attendees. “The romance community is so passionate,” Stoyanova says. “The dedication they have for their favorite authors and discovering new authors, they really come out and support the community.”

Despite stereotypes of who reads romance, every reader should feel welcome at the festival. Panels highlight stories with neurodiverse, queer, and body diverse characters. But it should be noted though many young adult authors are on panels, the festival is mostly for those 17 and up.

Love Y’all Book Fest bring 67 romance authors to Atlanta
A poster for the festival

Courtesy of Love Y’all Book Fest

Two keynotes with bestselling authors anchor the event: Susan Elizabeth Phillips, dubbed the “creator of the sports romance,” and Mariana Zapata are in conversation Saturday. Sunday’s closing keynote is from Tia Williams, whose book Seven Days in June is being adapted as a series for Prime by Atlanta producer Will Packer. Attendees have their pick of panels the rest of the weekend on everything from monster and paranormal romance to how-tos on the publishing process. Saturday night ends with Stoyanova’s signature games, like truth or dare, which readers should remember from her YATL events. And some lucky readers can meet their favorite authors for cocktails or karaoke as part of exclusive experiences. Throughout, books are for sale from local shops and industry partners.

They hope this is just the first of many Love Y’all festivals. Plans are already in the works or smaller events throughout the year.

“I just want people to have fun, and we’re hoping people find authors and books they love and discover new books and authors to fall in love with,” Stoyanova says. “There’s something romantic about doing this festival during the month of love. We’re here to escape for a weekend.”