The Los Angeles Review of Books and Hauser & Wirth Publishers are bringing a brand-new book fair to Los Angeles next month.
LitLit, the Little Literary Fair, will premiere July 20 and 21 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, the arts complex in L.A.'s Downtown Arts District. The festival is a partnership between Hauser & Wirth Publishers, an international press that focuses on contemporary art, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, a nonprofit arts organization known for its online literary magazine and quarterly print journal.
The book fair will be free and open to the public, and will feature more than 20 exhibitors — independent publishers, booksellers and cultural creators — from Los Angeles and the rest of the West Coast.
Tom Lutz, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Review of Books, told The Times that the fair is meant to highlight the burgeoning small-press scene in L.A.
“The small press world of Los Angeles is exploding,” Lutz said. “At least half the small presses that are in the fair have been born in the last decade. It is part of L.A., which had always been home to great writers, really coming into its own as a literary city.”
Exhibitors will include California-based presses Not a Cult, Unnamed Press, Angel City Press, Rare Bird Books and Kaya Press.
“They each have things they do best, and some are the best in the country at what they do,” Lutz said.
The Los Angeles Public Library, Words Uncaged and the LARB/USC Publishing Workshop are among other exhibitors slated to appear at the fair, which will feature interviews and panel discussions focusing on “themes such as activism, art, and absurdity,” organizers said in a news release.
The book fair will take place at the downtown L.A. home of Hauser & Wirth, a branch of the Zurich-based art gallery. The arts complex, located in a former flour mill, is the home of Hauser & Wirth gallery, the Artbook bookstore and Kris Tominaga’s restaurant Manuela.
Michaela Unterdörfer, publisher of Hauser & Wirth Publishers, said the fair was inspired “by the vibrant ecosystem of West Coast publishing.”
“Los Angeles has such a rich history of cross-disciplinary cultural production, and for decades there’s been a strong, if under-recognized, tradition of artists and publishers who have shaped Southern California’s literary scene through their dedication to the potential of publications as artistic mediums,” Unterdörfer added. “Recently, this has been furthered by the significant emergence of collectives, small presses and independent publishers that’s allowing a discursive and highly engaged community to flourish in new and innovative ways.”
Los Angeles Review of Books editor Lutz said LitLit will celebrate L.A.'s status as a capital of the arts.
“L.A. has played second fiddle to New York in so many areas of culture for so long, but now the city is recognized as on a par in many of the arts,” Lutz said. “At the same time, culture is decentralizing and diversifying — this is part of a nationwide and worldwide phenomenon — L.A. is prepared for this shift and is building the new infrastructure for it.”