Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Remember book fairs from elementary school?  Well the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is nothing like that.

The two day event is one of the largest book festivals in the country.  While the focus is on books, their authors, and the people that love them, this event includes food, music, and art as well.

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The theme for this year’s Festival of Books is “Inspire Your Fire”.

The Festival is held on the campus of The University of Southern California and pretty much takes over the place.  In the lecture halls, authors discuss with fans the trials and triumphs of their latest works; On the walkways and lawns, booths and stages are set up for book signings and bands.

The USC marching band kicked off the festival on Saturday morning.

The USC marching band kicked off the festival on Saturday morning.

All events are free to attend but if you’re interested in getting a seat in a lecture, you’ll need to buy a ticket in advance for a $1 fee. The free method involves standing by until a few minutes before lectures begin and finding a space if possible. If there’s an author you’re really interested in seeing, I’d suggest splurging on the buck or two it takes to secure your seat.

I attended the Saturday session with my daughter who is an avid illustrator and writer. We sat in on “Picture This: Young Adult Graphic Novels”. It was a panel with three writer/illustrators: Gris Grimly, Jen Wang, and Gene Yang.

Sitting in the lecture hall was like listening in on an intimate conversation between these three as they discussed how they came to be authors and the painstaking process of getting their creations in the hands of their readers.

Like almost all of the talks at the Festival, the authors made themselves available for book signing and questions after the lecture.

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Jen Wang, author of "Koko be Good".

Jen Wang, author of “Koko be Good”.

Gene Yang, author of "Boxers and Saints".

Gene Yang, author of “Boxers and Saints”.

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Jen Wang shares a laugh while signing a copy of the graphic novel, “Koko Be Good”.

Gris Grimly (right), film maker and fine artist, illustrator of "Gris Grimly's Frankenstein" poses with a fan.

Gris Grimly (right), film maker and fine artist, illustrator of “Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein” poses with a fan.

To keep all of the book lovers fed, USC’s food court was open for business. Like any other big event in LA, food trucks and street-food vendors were on hand as well.

Ice cream!

Ice cream!

White Rabbit Truck.

White Rabbit Truck.

 

Speaking of food trucks, chef/author Roy Choi was at the food stage with Jonathan Gold discussing Choi’s latest work, “L.A. Son”, the story of Choi’s roots in LA.

Roy Choi's "LA Son".

Roy Choi’s “LA Son”.

With events going on from 10 AM until 5 PM — and even later with Festival After Dark — the LA times Festival of Books is packed with something for everyone. 

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