Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


by Sybil Johnson

I spent part of the weekend of April 22nd at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (LATFoB). It’s a huge book festival that is spread across the main campus of the University of Southern California here in Los Angeles. It includes events inside various buildings and lots and lots of booths outside. Events inside included interviews and panels with authors and a screening of the first episode of an AppleTV+ series, “The Last Thing He Told Me”, based on the novel by Laura Dave. There was a children’s book area, a YA stage, an En Espanol stage, a Cooking stage...

Some of the many booths.

The entrance near the Expo Line (or whatever it's called these days) and the En Espanol stage.

Everything is free, though I believe the ticketed events (all inside) were charged a processing fee. It’s a great way for an author to get their books in front of lots and lots of readers and for readers to discover new books and authors.

In 2022, the festival was held for the first time since the pandemic started. I missed that one since it was the same weekend as Malice Domestic. This year, though, I was good to go.

I haven’t seen any official attendance numbers for this year, but the 2022 festival drew 150,000 people, making it the largest book festival in the U.S. My feeling, though, was that the number of people there was lower than the times I attended before the pandemic.

Rides on Metro to the festival were free this year. At least that’s what people tell me. I admit to being slightly embarrassed that I drove there on Earth Day.

I attended the festival on Saturday where I signed at the Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles booth for a couple hours. Had a good time talking to readers and my fellow writers. I saw people I knew and some that I didn’t. Even sold several books! Always a bonus.

Me, Wendall Thomas, James T. Bartlett signing at the SinC/LA booth

The SinC/LA booth

USC is my alma mater, but I hadn’t been on campus for several years. Turns out it is now a no smoking and no plastic campus. The no smoking is self-explanatory. No plastic means they do not sell plastic bottles of sodas or water. It’s all aluminum.

The day was a bit warm for my taste. It was probably around 85 or so at 10 a.m. when I arrived. At least it felt like it. The Trojan Marching Band kicked off the festival on one of the stages. I listened for a while, then wandered around for a couple hours before my signing and for a bit after. Lots of booths. Lots of interesting things to see.

Trojan Marching Band opening the festival

I always enjoy attending even when it’s raining or too hot. You never know what the weather will be like in April.

I found this article about the festival interesting from the Daily Trojan, the campus newspaper: 

If you’re in the Los Angeles area the weekend of the festival, I highly recommend going. It's usually held on a weekend in April toward the middle or end of the month. You can see more about this year’s festival here:

Tommy Trojan. The SinC/LA booth was a hop, skip and a jump from here.


The festival map

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