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L.A. Times Announces Lineup for Festival of Books

Festival of Books logo (2021)

Kristin Hannah, Meena Harris, Don Lemon, Guy Raz, Douglas Stuart, Richard Thompson, Ibi Zoboi and more set to appear at the online festival taking place April 17-23

The Los Angeles Times today released the schedule for the 2021 Festival of Books. Beginning on April 17, and taking place over the course of seven days, the online festival will feature more than 30 individual events. The lineup features a variety of writers, poets, artists and storytellers discussing a myriad of topics, including race, identity, immigrant experiences, historical romances and – following a year that’s tested its vulnerabilities and resilience – the human body.

Traditionally the nation’s largest in-person literary event, this year’s festival will bring together a community in L.A. and beyond with authors from across the globe. And while the pandemic has limited travel and experiences, books have taken readers on adventures and provided insights into other people’s lives.

“During an unprecedented year that tested humanity’s adaptability, it shouldn’t be surprising that, as sales numbers show, people turned to books more than ever to make sense of the world,” said Book Editor Boris Kachka. “The Festival of Books, too, has adapted to serve that need. With a year of experience behind us, the Times team has worked to create an event as rich, varied and communal as a virtual festival can be. I hope our readers agree.”

Festival highlights:

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  • Hosts of the No. 1 kids podcast “Wow in the World,” Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz chat with award-winning actress Zooey Deschanel about their new book “Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body.”
  • A young adult fiction panel about race and identity with Dean Atta, Morgan Parker, Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam moderated by Hannah Gómez.
  • James Patterson discusses his new Audible Original Drama, “The Coldest Case.”
  • Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, discusses and reads her children’s book “Ambitious Girl” with Times Columnist Mary McNamara.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson talks modern California food and his debut cookbook “Food Between Friends.”
  • S.A. Cosby, Danielle Evans, Nikky Finney, Robert Jones, Jr. and moderator Marcus Anthony Hunter on writing about the Black experience across different genres.
  • Historical fiction with Kristin Hannah and C Pam Zhang in conversation with Times Columnist Patt Morrison.
  • Novelists Chang-rae Lee, Imbolo Mbue, Sanjena Santhian and Meng Jin talk about writing internationally focused fiction with Times Book Editor Boris Kachka.
  • Iconic singer-songwriter Richard Thompson will discuss his new memoir with music journalist RJ Smith and perform two songs.
  • Don Lemon, CNN journalist, host and author of “This Is the Fire,” discusses America’s history of racism and how the country can begin to fix the problem with Times TV Reporter Greg Braxton.
  • Authors David Weiden and Brandon Hobson discuss writing about the Native American experience, and honor the legacy of Robert Kirsch Award honoree Leslie Marmon Silko.
  • A discussion about America’s broken criminal justice system with Brittany K. Barnett, Emily Bazelon, Christine Montross and moderated by Times Columnist Sandy Banks.
  • A conversation about films that defined the last decades of the 20th century with Mark Harris, Glenn Frankel, Melissa Maerz and moderated by film critic and host of “The Treatment,” Elvis Mitchell.
  • An exploration of the natural world and looking for answers about life with Jonathan Meiburg, Jonathan Slaght, Lulu Miller and Patrik Svensson.
  • Authors Eloisa James, Vanessa Riley, Erica Ridley and Amalie Howard talk historical romance with moderator Elle Jackson.

The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is presented in association with USC. Most sessions are free to attend and require advanced registration. Participating local booksellers will be selling books for every panel and, in most cases, will offer signed bookplates with purchase. The schedule can be found on the festival’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feed (#bookfest).


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