Arts & Life, Events

Book festival returns to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books returned to the University of Southern California, featuring special guest speakers, numerous exhibitors, live music and food vendors on April 23 and 24.

This marks the 27th annual literary festival from the LAT and it was held in-person for the first time after two years of virtual events.

Chris Argentieri, LAT president and chief operating officer, said the festival brings the “brilliant and creative minds who create books and those who love to read them,” during the festival’s kick-off.

Multiple outdoor stages along with the festival grounds containing aisles of exhibitor booths and food trucks were free to attend while the indoor programing offered required a purchased ticket.

The outdoor stages hosted panels with Amanda Gorman, the 24-year-old author and inaugural poet, Max Greenfield, children’s book author and “New Girl” actor and other special guests.

Greenfield read an excerpt from his book “I Don’t Want To Read This Book” and explained how it was inspired by his Instagram documenting his homeschool experience with his daughter.

Christoph Paul, founder of CLASH Books, based in Tory, New York, was one of the exhibitors at the festival.

The independent publisher was founded in 2016 and offers an eclectic mix of books including “Tragedy Queens: Stories Inspired by Lana Del Rey & Sylvia Plath” and “hehehehe,” an eccentric book of poetry.

Paul said they want to target a younger demographic and are able to take more risks as a small publisher. When he looks for authors, he looks for a voice that gets him excited.

“A voice that speaks to me,” Paul said. “I don’t care about genre it’s all about voice”

One of the stages held performances from the USC marching band and other USC student and alumni musicians which included Greta Pasqua, who sang her original song “Just Like You” and covers of Tom Petty and Paul McCartney.

Kathy Kohl, who has been going to the festival for 10 years, attended Pasqua’s set and said she liked the singer’s “smokey voice” which caught her attention.

The Festival of Books occurred at the same time as the second weekend of Coachella, providing an alternative event for Southern Californians.

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