Authors, authors everywhere at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Gerardo Campos, right, reads, "Picadillo the Armadillo," book to his daughter Angelina, 3, left, and niece Omega Flores, 1, during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in 2008.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
What does it mean to celebrate the written word? It means getting excited about, well, everything.

Festival of Books: A Friday Calendar article on authors attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books said that Michael J. Fox’s book “Always Looking Up: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” would be released next month. It is in bookstores now. —

At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA this weekend, authors will talk about cooking and former Vice President Dick Cheney, baseball and literature, poetry and politics, even life after Marcia Brady.

Maureen McCormick, former cast member of TV’s " The Brady Bunch,” joins celebrity memoirists Cloris Leachman, Alonzo Mourning, Marlee Matlin, Diahann Carroll and Michael J. Fox at the festival, now in its 14th year.

Fox, whose book “Always Looking Up: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” is out next month, will not be signing books for fans after his appearance Sunday at 3 p.m. in conversation with Times television critic Mary McNamara at Ackerman Grand Ballroom, but most other authors will do so.

All weekend, white-peaked tents will stretch across UCLA’s campus: a pop-up city of publishers, literary organizations and booksellers.

Many vendors, including Book Soup and the Mystery Bookstore, will host their own signings, where readers and authors can meet face to face.

The official festival agenda brims with hundreds of writers and commentators.

For a dose of controversy, sample Arianna Huffington or Gore Vidal; for young adult books, Paul Feig; for literary edginess, Mary Gaitskill or Steve Erickson; for a famed mother-daughter duo, Mary and Carol Higgins Clark; for poetry, Robert Pinsky or Frank Bidart; for guys who strut their stuff, T.C. Boyle or James Ellroy.

Science fiction masters Ray Bradbury, Harry Harrison and Robert Silverberg are among the highlights; perhaps there will be pyrotechnics when Mark Waid appears to discuss BOOM! Studios comics on Saturday at 4 p.m. on the Etc. Stage.

Tickets to all panels are free, although Ticketmaster does charge a transaction fee. Where advance tickets have sold out, those who queue up in standby lines often can still find a seat.

For a full schedule of pan- els and conversations, visit

At the public stages, no tickets are necessary.

Kids who want to listen to actress Kathy Kinney tell stories as her new character Mrs. P, or dance to some “Yo Gabba Gabba!” madness, can consider themselves all-access VIPs.