L.A.'s literary scene comes alive at these 5 L.A. book events about witches and local press

Amanda Yates Garcia
Amanda Yates Garcia, a.k.a. the Oracle of Los Angeles, will be part of a talk on the tarot at Vocal Warehouse.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

More often than not, the best literary events offer a sense of discovery: the chance to encounter an intriguing new author, check out an unusual venue or explore another corner of the city with a book-loving community. You might leave with a new novel — or a new friend. This week offers ample opportunity to get immersed in L.A.’s rich and varied literary scene: browse indie exhibitors at L.A.’s newest literary fair, hear emerging writers present their work, consult the tarot with local authors or see a little-known film that spawned a great nonfiction read.

Discover indie presses, debut authors and divination at these five L.A. book events.

Happy exploring, readers.

Get lit at L.A.’s brand-new book fair


The Little Literary Fair, or LitLit, debuts at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles this weekend. Hosted by the Los Angeles Review of Books and Hauser & Wirth publishers, this bite-sized book festival spotlights independent publishers and local presses, including Unnamed Press, Angel City Press and Not a Cult. Saturday’s programming is robust: Dagny Corcoran of Art Catalogues joins X Artists’ Books co-founder Alexandra Grant to define what makes an art book, Dawn Finley of the Feminist Library on Wheels and Jessica M. Wilson of Tia Chucha discuss activism and publishing, and Melissa Broder talks absurdity in writing with Alissa Nutting. The fair will feature more than 20 L.A. and West Coast exhibitors — so don’t forget your tote bag.

11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21, at Hauser & Wirth, 917 E. 3rd St., Los Angeles. Free.

Catch PEN America’s 2019 Emerging Voices

Literary nonprofit PEN America’s Emerging Voices Fellowship, which pairs underrepresented writers with professional authors for mentorship and guidance, has reliably churned out heavy hitters in the literary scene — Natashia Deón, Lilliam Rivera and Kima Jones are all alumni. The fellowship’s latest crop gives their final reading together at the Hammer Museum on Tuesday where 2019 mentors Steph Cha, James Sie, Venita Blackburn, Vickie Vértiz and Sesshu Foster will welcome fellows to the stage. For most of the Emerging Voices, it will be their biggest reading to-date — and your chance to catch them just as they step into the limelight.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Free.

Lisa Locascio presents “Open Me”

In her debut novel, “Open Me,” Lisa Locascio pens a complex coming-of-age story about a young American woman abroad. After recent high school graduate Roxana Olsen lands in Copenhagen, she’s swept into an erotic affair with 28-year-old Søren — a relationship that quickly goes south. When she meets Muslim refugee Zlatan, the novel deepens into an exploration of not only sex and desire, but also, writes Ilana Masad, a critique of white supremacy. Meet Locascio for a reading and Q&A at Chevalier’s on Wednesday.

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at Chevalier’s, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles. Free.

A tarot event is in your future

It really is the season of the witch. On Thursday night PEN award winner Michelle Tea will join Amanda Yates Garcia, also known as the Oracle of Los Angeles, for a card-guided conversation on the tarot as psychedelic teacher. Hosted by Bett Williams and Beth Hill of the “No Cures, Only Alchemy” podcast and reading series, the event will begin with a guided breathing exercise and move on to cover all manner of mystic experience. Tea is the author of “Modern Tarot: Connecting With Yourself Through the Wisdom of the Cards,” and Yates’ “Initiated: Memoir of a Witch” will be published in October — victory to these literary goddesses.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at Vocal Warehouse, 3443 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. Free.

The movie behind the book

While living in Madrid in 2012, Aaron Shulman happened upon a cult 1976 documentary called “El Desencanto” (“The Disenchantment”) about an eccentric family of Spanish writers. It was a fateful discovery: he became obsessed with the Paneros, a fascination that eventually led to his book “The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain’s Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War,” which critic-at-large Rigoberto González called “a valuable primer on the ways literature intertwined with politics during Franco’s reign from 1939 until his death in 1975.” In collaboration with LA OLA and the Los Angeles Review of Books, Shulman will screen the documentary that so captured his imagination at Now Instant Image Hall, Highland Park’s new art house theater. What to expect? LARB describes the film as “on par with ‘Grey Gardens’” and like “’The Royal Tenenbaums,’ except the people are real.” Stick around for an interview with Shulman and LA OLA Director Rocío Mesa after the screening.

8 p.m. Thursday, July 25, at Now Instant Image Hall, 5319 York Blvd., Los Angeles. $10 general admission; $5 for LARB members