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Book editor Carolyn Kellogg: My picks for Sunday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


If you want some great fiction, you can’t go wrong with Fiction: Disappearing Acts on Sunday at 11 a.m. The panel, moderated by writer Mary Otis, features the novelists Edan Lepucki, author of the bestselling “California” whose “Woman No. 17” comes out in two weeks; Amy Gentry, author of “Good as Gone,” which came out in January; Lydia Millet, whose “Sweet Lamb of Heaven” was longlisted for the National Book Award; our critic at large Alexander Chee, talking about his book “The Queen of the Night.”

Alexander Chee (M. Sharkey / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Alexander Chee (M. Sharkey / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Speaking of our critics at large, you can find more of them on Sunday: Viet Thanh Nguyen and Laiala Lalami in conversation at 11 a.m.; at 12:30 p.m., Marlon James in conversation with Times Editor and Publisher Davan Maharaj at 12:30 pm.; John Scalzi in conversation with Cory Doctorow at 1:30 p.m.; and at 3 p.m., Rebecca Carroll will interview Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, always rumored to be in serious contention for the Nobel Prize in literature; and also at 3 p.m., Susan Straight will join Steve Lopez, with Steven P. Wallace and Susan B. Geffen, for a conversation about California’s hidden poor.

For great nonfiction, here are some can’t-miss ideas:

The 10:30 a.m. panel Police, Prisons and Justice with Gary Younge, author of “Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives”Victor Rios, author of “Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth”Heather Ann Thompson, author of “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy”; and Les Klinger, co-editor of “Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted,” moderated by Margot Roosevelt.

At noon, the panel Nonfiction: Lost Stories of the West will feature four writers: Tim Hernandez, whose book “All They Will Call You” tells the story of a California plane crash and the Mexican farmworkers who were erased from its history; Kimball Taylor, author of “The Coyote's Bicycle: The Untold Story of 7000 Bicycles and the Rise of a Borderland Empire”Gabriel Thompson, author of “America’s Social Arsonist,” a biography of Fred Roos; and Christine Pelisek previewing her book “The Grim Sleeper: The Lost Women of South Central,” which hits shelves in June, moderated by Miriam Pawell.

Chris Hayes of MSNBC, whose new book is “A Colony in a Nation,” will be talking to The Times’ Christina Bellantoni at 12:30 p.m.

Viet Thanh Nguyen (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)
Viet Thanh Nguyen (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

And at 3:30, the panel Nonfiction: What’s Up With America features book prize finalist Jane Mayer with her book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right”Jeff Chang, author of “We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation”James Poulos and his book “The Art of Being Free: How Alexis de Tocqueville Can Save Us from Ourselves”; and Mugambi Jouet, author of “Exceptional America: What Divides Americans From the World and Each Other,” moderated by Dinah Lenney.

Jane Mayer (Stephen Voss)
Jane Mayer (Stephen Voss)

And last but not least, the panel I’m most likely to attend, if I’m still standing: Nonfiction: The Culture of Southern California with Josh Kun, Gustavo Arellano and David L. Ulin, moderated by The Times’ Carolina Miranda. It starts at 3:30 p.m.

See you at the festival!

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