How to watch this week’s Festival of Books with Natalie Portman, Maria Hinojosa and Marlon James

Natalie Portman
This week, Natalie Portman will chat with Times film critic Justin Chang about her new children’s book, “Natalie Portman’s Fables.”
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Welcome to the second week of the 25th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas!

This week’s lineup includes conversations with novelist Marlon James, journalist Maria Hinojosa, author Kevin Kwan and actress Natalie Portman.

All events are free. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this year’s celebration of the written word is virtual. For 25 days, writers, poets, artists, storytellers and bookstore exhibitors will be featured in 25 panels and readings — all viewable from the comfort of your home.


Here’s what’s happening this week and how to tune in:

Former Gov. Jerry Brown discusses a new biography on his California political life at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Oct. 22, 2020

The lineup

Monday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m.: Marlon James, winner of the inaugural 2019 L.A. Times Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction and a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, will join UCLA Afrofuturism professor Tananarive Due in a conversation about his science fiction novel “Black Leopard Red Wolf.”

Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m.: Authors André Aciman, Gayle Forman, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen talk about writing fiction for audio, and with listeners in mind. Audible editor Katie O’Connor will moderate the discussion.

Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m.: “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan returned this year with a new novel, “Sex and Vanity.” He joins Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, co-authors of “The Royal We,” in a conversation moderated by novelist and essayist Jade Chang.

Marlon James, whose novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” pioneered queer fantasy, thanks Mary Shelley and “Moby Dick” for predicting our current crisis.

April 17, 2020

Thursday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m.: USC professors Juan De Lara, Manuel Pastor and associate professor Sarah Gualtieri will explore race and immigration in Southern California now and throughout history. The panel will be moderated by professor William Deverell. Topics include racial demographics and the economy, and the state’s impact on politics nationally. This is the first half of a two-part panel on Los Angeles.

Thursday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m.: What and who should be remembered and memorialized across public spaces, and what should such commemorations look like? Members of the Civic Memory Working Group of Los Angeles, a diverse gathering of artists, architects, historians and others, will explore the ideas and obligations around civic memory (and civic amnesia). The discussion features USC professor Christopher Hawthorne, associate professor Taj Frazier and architects Frederick Fisher and Gail Kennard, with professor William Deverell moderating. This is the second half of the two-part panel on L.A.

Friday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m.: Maria Hinojosa, Emmy Award-winning journalist, NPR’s “Latino USA” anchor and author of “Once I Was You,” joins award-winning novelist Laila Lalami, author of “Conditional Citizens,” to explore immigration and what it means to be an American. Times Column One editor Steve Padilla is the moderator.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver write for the outsider kid in ‘Lights, Camera, Danger!’

Oct. 19, 2020

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m.: Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and his 6-year-old son, Ellison Nguyen, will discuss their picture book, “Chicken of the Sea.” Caldecott-winning illustrator Thi Bui and her 13-year-old son, Hien Bui-Stafford, also will join Sumun L. Pendakur, from the USC Race and Equity Center, for a reading and talk.

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 12:30 p.m.: YA fantasy authors Marie Lu and Tehlor Kay Mejia, along with debut YA novelist Jordan Ifueko, will delve into mystical world-building and the creation of strong female protagonists with moderator Sharon Levin. Loyalty and family, warriors overcoming evil in a broken world, and sacrifices made for freedom are all on the agenda.

Sunday, Nov. 1, at 2:30 p.m.: Times Film Critic Justin Chang will be in conversation with Academy Award-winning actress, director, producer and debut children’s author Natalie Portman. Her picture book, “Natalie Portman’s Fables,” is a retelling of three classic tales.

The 25th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas kicks off this weekend. Due to the pandemic, this year’s series of free events will be virtual. Here’s everything you need to know about how to tune in.

Oct. 19, 2020

How to watch

Register ahead of time for each event at You’ll receive an email reminder 48 hours in advance with a link to watch the event.

For more details and information, go to Follow the festival on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Questions can be submitted during registration.


In case you missed last week’s events, festival book talks are available for viewing on YouTube. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and novelist Ayad Akhtar joined writer and religion scholar Reza Aslan to discuss Akhtar’s latest novel, “Homeland Elegies.” Former California Gov. Jerry Brown and former Times editor-at-large and author Jim Newton talked politics with Times columnist Gustavo Arellano. Other guests included author and journalist Roberto Lovato and crime-fiction writers Rachel Howzell Hall, Attica Locke and Ivy Pochoda.