Lineup announced for 2022 L.A. Times Festival of Books: Janelle Monáe, Amanda Gorman and more
Singer Janelle Monáe, poet Amanda Gorman, novelist Jonathan Franzen and actor Billy Porter are among the authors set to appear at the Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books this year.
On Wednesday, The Times unveiled its lineup for the annual literary celebration, which will feature more than 500 writers, musicians, artists and chefs spread out across USC’s 226-acre campus.
For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will take place in person, April 23 and 24, in the heart of the Downtown Arts and Education Corridor.
The awards recognize outstanding literary achievements in 12 categories, with winners to be announced at USC in-person on April 22.
“It’s back to what it was,” said Ann Binney, associate director of events at The Times. “We learned so much during the virtual festival, and it was so great, but it’s a lot harder to ... produce everything virtually.”
There were some benefits to going virtual, Binney conceded. “On the one hand, it’s easier to get people to do it, because ... as an author, you can participate from wherever you are in the world,” and “you can reach a lot of people that way.”
Yet there is no substitute, she said, for the feeling of meeting and hearing authors in person.
Gorman — the first American National Youth Poet Laureate, who floored the country with her verse at President Biden’s 2021 inauguration — will headline the festival’s L.A. Times Book Club event.
The awards recognize outstanding literary achievements in 12 categories, with winners to be announced on April 22 during the Book Prizes awards ceremony at USC’s Bovard Auditorium
Gorman, 24, who grew up in Westchester and often attended the Festival of Books as a young poet, will discuss her 2021 collection “Call Us What We Carry” on The Times’ main stage. Also set to appear on the main stage is Porter, the Emmy-winning star of “Pose,” whose memoir, “Unprotected,” hit shelves in September.
“We were so excited when we confirmed Amanda Gorman and Billy Porter,” Binney said. “They’re the perfect additions to our amazing lineup.”
As part of The Times’ “Ideas Exchange” series, musician and actor Monáe will answer questions about her upcoming collection of science fiction short stories, “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer,” at USC’s Bovard Auditorium — the largest performance venue on campus.
Other notable figures set to participate include Valerie Bertinelli, Meena Harris, Ziggy Marley, Tony Alva, Terry Crews, Adam Schiff, Rachel Lindsay, Josh Peck, Chrishell Stause and Kelly Rowland.
Celebrated authors on the itinerary include crime novelists Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Don Winslow and Attica Locke; literary luminaries Jonathan Lethem, Roxane Gay and Amor Towles; and many more, ranging from Jasmine Guillory and Akwaeke Emezi to Imani Perry and Jean Chen Ho.
Book club: Get tickets for conversations with Goodall on Feb. 25 and Grande on March 29.
In addition to the main stage programming, a number of activities — including celebrity author interviews, family-friendly entertainment, cooking demonstrations, Spanish-language content, expert panels, live music and poetry readings — will be held on stages designated for the L.A. Times en Español, cooking, poetry, children’s authors and YA as well as USC and USC Friends and Neighbors.
Another stage will feature the ongoing Times series Ask a Reporter, in which reporters, editors, photographers and podcasters talk about their work and answer reader questions. Staff set to appear include Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida, columnists Carolina Miranda, Gustavo Arellano and Robin Abcarian and many others.
More than 250 exhibitors have also been tapped to provide an array of giveaways, merchandise and books for sale.
“In its 27th year, the Festival of Books continues to celebrate the diversity of voices and forms of storytelling that enrich all of our lives,” said Anna Magzanyan, head of strategy and revenue and chief of staff to the executive chairman at The Times, in a statement.
“We’re thrilled to welcome everyone to one of L.A.’s most beloved community events.”
The evening before the festival begins, The Times will present the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement to Luis J. Rodriguez and the Innovator’s Award to Reginald Dwayne Betts. A dozen other literary works will also receive Book Prizes from The Times leading up to the main event.
General admission to The Times’ Festival of Books is free, while tickets for individual author conversations will be available April 17 via the event website.
A further sampling of the 550 participants is listed below:
- David Duchovny
- Justine Bateman
- T.C. Boyle
- Veronica Roth
- Father Greg Boyle
- Rumaan Alam
- Amelia Brodka
- Alton Brown
- Janelle Brown
- Mark Harris
- DJ Envy
- S.A. Cosby
- Eric Dickerson
- Sharon Gless
- Max Greenfield
- Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez
- Ali Hazelwood
- Craig Johnson
- Laila Lalami
- Casey McQuiston
- Nnedi Okorafor
- John Scalzi
- Gina Schock
- Michael Schur
- Lisa See
- Clint Smith
- Hector Tobar
- Kenneth Turan
- Marcela Valladolid
- Claire Vaye Watkins
- Joy Williams
- Ibi Zoboi
- Susan Straight
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