Here’s the complete list of virtual panels for the 2021 Festival of Books
Los Angeles Times Virtual Festival of Books
WHEN: April 17-23
HOW: Register in advance for events and receive a reminder email with a link.
DETAILS: Events are free to view except those featuring Don Lemon, Richard Thompson and Brandi Carlile, which cost $5. Books available through partner booksellers. Questions can be submitted on registration. See Festival FAQ for more.
10 a.m.: Festival of Books kickoff, presented with USC
Join us for the kickoff of the 26th annual Festival of Books featuring Dr. Carol L. Folt, USC president, along with surprise appearances by L.A. Times writers and a performance by the USC Trojan Marching Band. Please join in this prelude to the weeklong virtual celebration of books with conversations, panels, children’s and poetry readings and more! Times columnist Patt Morrison will host the event. Register here.
10:30 a.m.: Guy Raz, Mindy Thomas, Zooey Deschanel
Based on their No. 1 kids podcast, “Wow in the World,” hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take young readers on a hilarious, fact-filled, illustrated journey through the human body — covering everything from toes and tongues to brains and lungs. Featuring jokes, photos, quizzes, and experiments, this book has everything you need to better understand your own walking, talking, barfing, breathing, pooping body of WOW! Times TV writer Yvonne Villarreal will host a conversation with Raz, Thomas and Zooey Deschanel.
11 a.m.: Immigrants and American society, a historical look
A timely discussion of immigration in America looks back on our history and brings us to the present day. Panelists are Anthony Cody, a 2020 Book Prize finalist in poetry; Adam Goodman, author, historian and professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois Chicago; Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, poet, activist and author of “Children of the Land”; and Jia Lynn Yang, Pulitzer Prize winner and deputy national editor at the New York Times. Daniel Hernandez, L.A. Times culture writer, will moderate. Register here.
Noon: Young-adult fiction: The Black experience
These powerful coming-of-age novels, all written in lyrical verse, are fierce, profound and beautiful explorations of identity, race, wrongful incarceration, the power of drag and much more. Hannah Gómez, a judge in YA literature for the L.A. Times Book Prizes, will moderate a conversation with Dean Atta, Morgan Parker, Dr. Yusef Salaam and Ibi Zoboi. Register here.
Salaam, one of the five convicted in 1989 for a crime they didn’t commit, collaborated with author Ibi Zoboi on the verse novel “Punching the Air.”
2 p.m.: Selfies for social change: Claiming space in social media, presented by USC
Creators and influencers who use digital outlets to claim space and empower communities will discuss how social media can be used for social good. Colin Maclay will moderate a panel with Jackson Bird, Akilah Hughes and Allissa V. Richardson. Register here.
3 p.m.: Criminal justice in America
The works of Brittany K. Barnett, Emily Bazelon and Christine Montross focus on the criminalization of mental illness, the human cost of America’s devastating war on drugs, and how reform-minded district attorneys are innovating to increase fairness and reduce inequality in our prosecutorial system. Times columnist Sandy Banks will moderate a discussion about America’s broken criminal justice system and epidemic of mass incarceration. Register here.
4 p.m.: James Patterson discusses his new Audible original drama, “The Coldest Case”
In an audio-exclusive experience, actors Aaron Paul, Krysten Ritter and Nathalie Emmanuel perform the latest from James Patterson. “The Coldest Case: A Black Book Audio Drama” is the long-awaited prequel to Patterson’s No. 1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller “The Black Book.” L.A. Times Book Club Editor Donna Wares will moderate. Register here.
The awards recognize outstanding literary achievements in 12 categories, including the Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, with winners to be announced April 16.
5 p.m.: California Dreamin’: Walter Mosley, Ron Brownstein and David L. Ulin on Los Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s
Join us for this kaleidoscopic view of Los Angeles in the late ’60s and early ’70s, looking at culture and politics across Black and white communities. David L. Ulin, editor of the new Library of America release “Joan Didion: The 1980s & ’90s,” will steer the conversation with Walter Mosley, whose latest Easy Rawlins novel is “Black Grove,” set in 1969 L.A., and Ron Brownstein, author of “Rock Me on the Water: 1974 — The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics.” Register here.
6 p.m.: Behind the Scenes: A conversation about filmmaking
Mike Nichols, John Schlesinger, Richard Linklater. Don’t miss this conversation about the films that defined the last decades of the 20th century — from “The Graduate” to “Midnight Cowboy” to “Dazed and Confused.” Elvis Mitchell, film critic and host of KCRW’s “The Treatment,” will moderate a chat with Glenn Frankel, Mark Harris and Melissa Maerz. Register here.
After her parents fell ill, Victoria Chang, finalist for a Times Book Prize, wrote ‘Obit,’ poems styled as obituaries of loved ones — and herself.
10 a.m.: Meena Harris, author of “Ambitious Girl,” in conversation with Mary McNamara
Anyone who’s ever been underestimated or overshadowed will find inspiration in this new picture book from Meena Harris, niece of Vice President Kamala Harris. When a girl sees a woman on TV labeled as “too assertive” and “too ambitious,” it sends her on a journey of discovery through the past, present and future, focused on the ways women and girls can reframe, redefine and reclaim words meant to knock them down. Register here.
11 a.m.: Patrick Radden Keefe, author of “Empire of Pain,” in conversation with Matt Hamilton
Radden Keefe’s latest saga chronicles three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world. It is a tale that moves from the streets of early 20th century Brooklyn to the seaside palaces of Greenwich, Conn., to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. “Empire of Pain” chronicles multiple investigations of the Sacklers, whose fortune was built by Valium and whose reputation was destroyed by OxyContin, and the legal tactics they have used to evade accountability. Register here.
Noon: L.A. Times en Español presents a bilingual children’s picture book panel
Times special projects coordinator Angel Rodriguez will host a conversation with children’s authors/illustrators Jacqueline Alcántara, Monica Brown, Juana Martinez-Neal and NoNieqa Ramos about their new picture books and talk about representation in children’s literature. Register here.
A guest at this year’s virtual Times Festival of Books, the Scottish writer discusses his Booker Prize-winning novel’s difficult story — and his own.
1 p.m.: Andrew O’Hagan, author of “Mayflies,” and Douglas Stuart, author of “Shuggie Bain,” in conversation with Anousha Sakoui
Two award-winning Scottish authors discuss their semiautobiographical coming-of-age novels with Times staff writer Anousha Sakoui. “Mayflies” and “Shuggie Bain” are tender, beautiful portraits of a time and a place — 1980s Scotland — that will captivate readers. Register here.
2 p.m.: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, author of “Food Between Friends,” in conversation with Times TV editor Matt Brennan
Best friends Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of “Modern Family,” and recipe developer Julie Tanous pay homage to their hometowns in their debut cookbook as they whip up modern California food with Southern and Southwestern spins. Join Ferguson and Matt Brennan for a conversation about food, cooking and entertainment. Register here.
3 p.m.: The Black experience across genres
S.A. Cosby, Danielle Evans, Nikky Finney and Robert Jones Jr. will join UCLA sociologist Marcus Anthony Hunter for a conversation about their literary works spanning fiction, crime fiction, short stories and poetry, which all address the Black experience and larger issues of race, culture and history. Register here.
Allan Wolf talks about why he wrote ‘The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep,’ a finalist for the Times Book Prize, and ponders the best way to eat people.
4 p.m.: Music, money and mindfulness
This panel will explore the art and impact of music from multiple angles, including the relationship between music and mindfulness and how to succeed in the industry. USC Thornton School professors Jeff Brabec, Lynn Helding and Richard Wolf will chat with moderator Varun Soni, vice provost for Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention and dean of the USC Office of Religious Life. Register here.
5 p.m.: Fiction makes the world go round
Storytellers Chang-Rae Lee, Meng Jin, Imbolo Mbue and Sanjena Sathian will transport you to China, Africa, India and throughout America. Join us for a conversation that traverses the globe while exploring the immigrant experience, environmental degradation, cultural emersion, globalism and the American Dream. Times books editor Boris Kachka will moderate. Register here.
6 p.m.: Young-adult fantasy: Magic and mystery
Debut fantasy writers Tracy Deonn and Namina Forna will chat with award-winning author Daniel José Older for this young-adult fantasy panel that spans Arthurian legend, West Africa–inspired fantasy and the theme of enemies working together to save the Earth. Sharon Levin, a young people’s literature reviewer, will moderate. Register here.
5 p.m.: Richard Thompson, “Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975”
Richard Thompson, international and beloved music legend, re-creates the spirit of the 1960s, where he found, and then lost, and then found his way again. Known for his brilliant songwriting, extraordinary guitar playing and haunting voice, Thompson is considered one of the top 20 guitarists of all time alongside Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Randy Newman. Now, in his long-awaited memoir, the British folk musician takes us back to a period of great change and creativity — both for him and for the world. RJ Smith will join him in conversation for this paid ticketed event. (And Thompson will play two songs.) Register here.
Richard Thompson’s new memoir, “Beeswing,” was written with journalist Scott Timberg, who died before the book was completed.
6 p.m.: This moment in fiction
Contemporary writers Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Patricia Lockwood and Lauren Oyler reckon with the world around us — exploring the range of human connections, whether in real life or online. Times entertainment writer Amy Kaufman will moderate. Register here.
7 p.m.: Crime fiction: Secrets and suspense
Escape the humdrum of everyday life into worlds filled with gangsters, grifters and gut-wrenching suspense from crime fiction writers Christopher Bollen, Tod Goldberg and Jennifer Hillier. Mystery reviewer Paula L. Woods will moderate. Register here.
Times Book Prize finalists Rachel Howzell Hall, Ivy Pochoda, S.A. Crosby, Jennifer Hillier and Christopher Bollen talk about race, place and genre.
Noon: Don Lemon, “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism”
The host of “CNN Tonight With Don Lemon” — America’s only Black prime-time TV anchor — will bring an urgent, riveting, deeply personal plea. Times staff writer Greg Braxton will join him for a conversation about where our problems lie and what we can do to to fix them. Register here.
5 p.m.: Native American literature: A panel paying homage to Leslie Marmon Silko, 2020 Robert Kirsch Award winner
Acclaimed novelist, poet and essayist Leslie Marmon Silko is known for her lyric treatment of Native American subjects. In recognition of her lifetime achievement in writing and the 2020 Robert Kirsch Award honor, writers Danielle Geller, Brandon Hobson and David Heska Wanbli Weiden will discuss their works and 21st century Native literature. Register here.
6 p.m.: Making history: Media, stories, history and memory, presented by USC
USC authors Viet Thanh Nguyen, English professor and Pulitzer Prize winner for “The Sympathizer”; Howard Rodman, cinematic arts professor and author of “The Great Eastern”; and William Deverell, history professor and writer of “Kathy Fiscus: A Tragedy That Transfixed the Nation” will discuss their work and the connections between stories, media, history and memory. Priya Jaikumar, cinematic arts professor and author of “Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Space,” will moderate. Register here.
7 p.m.: Speculative fiction: The real and unreal, presented by the Ray Bradbury Foundation
Spanning time and space, plumbing psychological thrills and familial sacrifices, authors Amal El-Mohtar, Megan Giddings, Max Gladstone and Stephen Graham Jones create fantastical worlds while tackling societal moral dilemmas. They will join 2018 MacArthur fellow and moderator Kelly Link. Register here.
Stephen Graham Jones on how he put together ‘The Only Good Indians,’ a Ray Bradbury Prize finalist, and why horror is the most fascinating genre.
5 p.m.: Terry Crews and Rebecca King Crews, creators of the Audible original “Stronger Together,” in conversation with Michael Ordoña, presented by Audible
“America’s Got Talent” host Terry Crews and his wife, singer Rebecca King Crews, will share the ups and downs of their relationship and how they weathered the crises that have rocked their marriage in their new Audible original. Honest, intimate and hopeful, Terry and Rebecca make you feel that if they can survived it, you and your partner can too. Times staff writer Michael Ordoña will moderate. Register here.
6 p.m.: Memoir: Rebuilding life after loss
Emily Rapp Black, memoirist and writing teacher; Suleika Jaouad, creator of the Emmy Award–winning New York Times column “Life, Interrupted”; and Sara Seager, Times Book Prize finalist in science and technology and an MIT professor, will join author/editor Dinah Lenney to share stories of love, loss and healing. Register here.
7 p.m.: Eastside Punks, a screening and conversation, presented by USC
Celebrate the release of “Eastside Punks,” three documentary shorts produced by Razorcake magazine about first-generation East L.A. punk bands. Excerpts of the films will be screened, followed by a panel with “Eastside Punks” director Jimmy Alvarado and musicians Teresa Covarrubias (The Brat), Tracy “Skull” Garcia (Thee Undertakers) and Jack Rivera (The Stains), who played storied L.A. punk venues like the Vex and Hong Kong Café. Dino Everett, archivist for “Eastside Punks” and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, will moderate. Register here.
11 a.m.: History: Racism and exclusion in the United States
Alice Baumgartner, Walter Johnson and Martha S. Jones — L.A. Times Book Prize finalists in history — will discuss the connection between America’s past treatment of women and Indigenous and enslaved people and our present-day ills while looking at the people and the policies that have brought us to where we are today. Anna-Lisa Grace Cox will lead the conversation. Register here.
1 p.m.: Gustavo Arellano in conversation with California MacArthur Fellows
Gustavo Arellano, Times California columnist and host of an upcoming daily news podcast from The Times, will chat with recent MacArthur fellows Natalia Molina (2020) and Kelly Lytle Hernandez (2019) for a discussion about the historical roots of our immigration policy and the evolution of immigrant detention practices. Register here.
Remember the names Fannie Lou Hamer, Constance Baker Motley and Mary McLeod Bethune. Vice President Kamala Harris does, as does historian Martha S. Jones.
2 p.m.: Science and nature: From the page to wilder places
Jonathan Meiburg, Lulu Miller and Jonathan C. Slaght have written books rooted in science and the exploration of nature — and of its human and animal subjects. But their books are also about self-discovery as they look to the natural world for answers. These adventures in scientific inquiry take us to remote parts of the world. Mary Forgione, assistant travel editor of The Times, will moderate. Register here.
4 p.m.: Kristin Hannah, author of “The Four Winds,” and C Pam Zhang, author of “How Much of These Hills Is Gold,” in conversation with Patt Morrison
The Great Depression and the American Gold Rush are the historical backdrops for this conversation featuring bestselling authors Kristin Hannah and C Pam Zhang, highlighting their stories of family and the quest for the American Dream. Times columnist Patt Morrison will moderate. Register here.
Carribean Fragoza’s “Eat the Mouth That Feeds You” is a debut story collection ripe with surrealism but grounded in the soil of Latina experience.
5 p.m.: Fiction: The art of short story
Booker Prize winner Ben Okri and Carribean Fragoza, Deesha Philyaw and Shruti Swamy — three new voices in fiction — discuss their recently released story collections with Times books reporter Dorany Pineda. Register here.
6 p.m.: Grammy award-winning Brandi Carlile, author of “Broken Horses: A Memoir,” in conversation with Mikael Wood
Grammy winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile will chat with Times pop music critic Mikael Wood about music and her recently-released memoir. Register here.
7 p.m.: Fiction: Swept away by romance
Historical romance writers Amalie Howard, Eloisa James, Erica Ridley and Vanessa Riley enthrall readers with stories of dukes and duchesses while exploring contemporary issues including feminism, social justice, empowerment and autonomy. Elle Jackson will moderate. Register here.
10:58 a.m. April 13, 2021: Marcelo Hernandez Castillo will be filling in for Jacob Soboroff in the panel “Immigrants and American society, a historical look” on April 17 at 11 a.m.
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