Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: April 12-13, 2014

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Facebook

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is taking place at the University of Southern California (USC) on Saturday and Sunday, April 12-13, 2014. The family-friendly festival began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has since grown to include live bands, poetry readings, chef demos, cultural entertainment and artists creating their work on-site. There’s also a photography exhibit, film screenings followed by Q&A’s, and discussion panels on some of today’s hottest topics. Each year, the festival attracts 150,000 people of all ages from L.A., Southern California and across the country.

Participants include booksellers, publishers, museums, theaters as well as literacy and cultural organizations. They sell and promote books, distribute related information and/or sell merchandise such as clothing and handmade accessories. Many independent booksellers participating in the festival represent L.A.’s diverse ethnic and cultural communities, offering books in different languages and multicultural genres.

The legendary Julie Andrews signs her book for a young fan. | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Facebook

Authors scheduled to appear at the festival include: Hugh Acheson, Shoreh Aghdashloo, Gustavo Arellano, Reza Aslan, Philip Bailey, Mayim Bialik, T.C. Boyle, LeVar Burton, Roy Choi, Sandra Cisneros, Jackie Collins, Giada de Laurentiis, Rob Delaney, Barbara Ehrenreich, John Green, Carla Hall, Daniel Handler, Robert Hilburn, Pico Iyer, Diego Luna, Chris Kluwe, Terry McMillan, B.J. Novak, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver, Alicia Silverstone, Susan Straight, Marlo Thomas, Stephen Tobolowsky, Sandra Tsing Loh, Henry Winkler, Rachel Zoe, Adrian Todd Zuniga and more.

The Pop & Hiss stage | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Facebook

New and notable this year: 

  • Artists' Row: in a nod to the Southland's thriving fine art community, the Festival of Books will include a hand-selected group of artists from several genres creating installations live on site. They will be joined by one aspiring creator discovered through the "Inspire Us" contest.
  • LA Times Photo Pop-Up Gallery: the award-winning LA Times visual storytelling team will be showcasing recent work, with a spot reserved for an "Inspire Us" shutterbug.
  • Pop & Hiss Stage: in collaboration with Spaceland Presents, this year's music stage will host a variety of emerging bands as well as an artist and emcee selected through the "Inspire Us" music and comedy submissions.
  • Poetry Stage: one of literature's oldest art forms and the festival's longest-running stages will get a hit of street style with an "Inspire Us"-picked performance poet.

Admission to the Festival of Books is free. Only the indoor Conversations, Book Prizes and Festival After Dark require tickets (see below). For more information, visit events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/.

Conversations

DC Comics co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Facebook

Attend indoor discussions ranging from enlightening to epic, with today's most talked about authors as well as exclusive film screenings. Q&A's to follow. Tickets to Conversations are free, with a $1 service fee. Get your Conversations tickets at events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/fob-tickets/.

Book Prizes

Now in its 34th year, the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes recognize the best books of 2013 in ten categories. During the event, which kicks off the Festival of Books, renowned authors accept their awards at USC’s historic Bovard Auditorium. The recipient of the 2013 Innovator’s Award, which spotlights cutting-edge business models, technology or applications of narrative art, is John Green, a young adult writer and activist. Susan Straight is the recipient of the 2013 Robert Kirsch Award, which recognizes a body of work by a writer living in or writing about the American West. NOTE: this event is sold out.

Wits

On Saturday, April 12, Festival After Dark presents Wits, a public radio show that brings world-class comedians, actors and musicians to the stage, where host John Moe gives them and the audience the time of their lives. Wits mixes improv, sketch comedy, conversation, music, and genuine beauty. The show features comedian Margaret Cho, punk rockers Superchunk, and Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff. Wits starts at 8 p.m. and is taking place at Bovard Auditorium on the USC campus. Tickets for Wits are on sale at Eventbrite.

Metro Discount

Metro Expo Line, Expo Park / USC Station | Photo by Daniel Djang

Show your Metro TAP card at the Festival of Books merchandise booth, and save 10% on your total purchase of official 2014 gear including mugs, T-shirts and more. Metro provides bus and rail transportation to USC until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and the new Expo Line drops riders directly at the South end of the Festival of Books. For exact routing, fare information and tips on purchasing your TAP fare card in advance, check metro.net or call 323-GO METRO (323.466.3876).

L.A. is a city of stories. Not just screenplays and novels. But real life stories that can only happen in L.A. A close encounter with dolphins. A brush with a celebrity. A cupcake from a vending machine. It could be an event, an exhibit, a song. But the moment it happens, you can’t wait to tell everyone back home about it. What's your L.A. story?