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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.