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L.A. Times Festival of Books going virtual as community-wide gathering

Linda Arkin, 75, of Valencia, looks over the Festival of Books section of the Los Angeles Times on April 21, 2018.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)


The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is opening a virtual chapter this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being postponed from April to October, the 25th Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas will take place online instead of being held on the University of Southern California campus, The Times announced Friday.

The marquee event, a partnership between The Times and USC, will be reimagined as a virtual community-wide gathering.

The e-festival will still celebrate storytelling when it launches Oct. 18. It will continue over four weeks rather than two days. The Times will host author panels, readings and other events during that time.

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The full programming schedule will be announced in mid-September.

“Over the years, festival-goers have listened to Eric Carle read about a ravenous caterpillar; the late Congressman John Lewis discuss his lifelong work for racial equality; Julie Andrews reminisce about the Swiss Alps; Luis J. Rodriguez wax poetic about life in Los Angeles; Viet Thanh Nguyen expound on reclaiming historical narratives; Padma Lakshmi dish on food and life; and gone home inspired,” a statement from The Times read.

“This year, the festival will make that kind of inspiration accessible from home.”

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Winners of the festival’s Book Prizes, which recognize outstanding literary works in 12 categories, were announced on Twitter in April.

Next year’s festival is scheduled to take place back on the USC campus April 17-18, though The Times will continue monitoring public health and safety protocols before that and adjust accordingly.

More details can be found at latimes.com/FestivalofBooks and on the festival’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (#bookfest).


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