LA Times Festival of Books

Los Angeles Shows Its Intellectual Side at the LA Times Festival of Books

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
Photo © 2013 Kayte Deioma, licensed to

Book lovers will gather at the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles April 22-23, 2017 for the country's largest celebration of literary accomplishment. The LA Times Festival of Books will bring 140,000 readers and collectors to see 500 authors and 300 exhibitors to a celebrate the written word. The free event has also evolved into a celebration of music, comedy, poetry, photography, film, art, and food, with live performances and cooking demonstrations on nine stages.

Even if you're a book-lover, there is so much content at the LA Times Festival of Books that it can be overwhelming to sort through to find things that interest you if you just show up spontaneously. I find a little (or a lot of) advance preparation really helps to reduce stress.

Pre-planning is especially important if you want to attend any of the lectures, since you have to reserve tickets, even though they're free. But even if you just want to browse, it helps to map out a strategy so you don't spend all your time wandering through publishers and subjects that don't interest you and completely miss your favorite author signing books on another part of campus.

Information usually appears on the LA Times website a month or so in advance.

The Festival includes literary panels, author book signings, storytelling, readings for children and adults, music and dance performances and cooking demonstrations.

Some events require tickets, which are free, but have a $1 processing fee. These tickets are made available about a week before the event on a first come, first served basis. A $35 festival pass will let you reserve tickets for up to 8 events in advance. There are also writing workshops organized in conjunction with the festival for a fee.

This year's celebrity authors include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Margaret Atwood, Andrew Aydin, T.C. Boyle, Michael Connelly, Bryan Cranston, Ayesha Curry, Roxane Gay, Dave Grohl, Virginia Grohl, Hannah Hart, Chris Hayes, Tippi Hedren, Marlon James, Clinton Kelly, Rep. John Lewis, Cheech Marin, Danica McKellar, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Joyce Carol Oates, Kelly Oxford, Chuck Palahniuk, Nate Powell, Mary Roach, Luis J. Rodríguez, George Saunders, John Scalzi, Scott Simon, Angie Thomas, Stephen Tobolowsky and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, among others.

The children's stage, which includes both readings and musical performances, and the children's author book signings are extremely popular, For concerts, plan to be there early if you want a seat. It's a lot of fun for the kids, but the book signing lines can take hours standing in the sun. Make sure your kids are prepared for that before you get in line. this year's entertainment also includes Center Theatre Group performing songs from the musical “Into the Woods”.

Keep your eyes open for the large-scale street art installations curated by Branded Arts.

To help navigate the festival there's a free LA Times Festival of Books App for iTunes and Android.

When: April 22-23, 2017, Saturday 10-6, Sunday, 10-5
Where: USC Campus, Exposition Blvd and S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Festival is free.

Indoor panels and lectures are free (except for the Ideas Exchanges), but require tickets.
Parking: $12 in campus lots. Shuttles will run from outer campus lots.
Metro: Expo Line to Exposition Park

While you're in the neighborhood, check out Things to Do in Exposition Park across the street.

More Free Things to Do in LA

Guide to Intellectual Los Angeles

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