Over at the Smokin' Hot Indie Lit Lounge at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, Kaya Press staff and USC faculty had arranged a blue canvas couch, a map-patterned director's chair and a wood-and-cushion rocking chair around a coffee table.
The lounge at Booth 380 near the poetry stage was intended to be an oasis, said Sunyoung Lee, publisher at Kaya Press. Later Saturday, the tent will be host to a multilingual book reading, an artist and poet who will create illustrated haiku fortunes, and Boggle and Bananagram word games in addition to book sales.
"A lot of these places are trying to just sell you things. We wanted to create an experience for people … a place of respite, a place where you can sit and enjoy having intimate conversations with writers," Lee said.
At the edges of the large tent, they've set up working typewriters at a table. To educate people on the publishing process and spread the message of #LiTinCOLOR, a campaign to honor writers of color, the tent hosts invite festival-goers to come by their booth, pick up an open-ended prompt (one, for example, reads "What's behind you?") and sit down at a typewriter for three minutes.
Preprinted pages with quotes from writers of color will be available for use as well. Once finished, people will be able to collate their mini-book how they choose and walk away with a book of their own.
"For a lot of people, publishing is a very mysterious process; they think it's some really difficult-to-achieve thing," Lee said. "But we're trying to say the idea of publishing is literally to make things public. We really wanted to make people feel like it's accessible."
Check out the Festival of Books schedule for this weekend.
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