The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is a free, public festival celebrating the written word. It is the largest book festival in the United States, annually drawing approximately 150,000 attendees. Started in 1996, the Festival is held on the penultimate weekend of April, hosted by the University of Southern California, and features vendors, authors and publishers. Some of the events are panels with authors discussing a common subject, storytelling and performances for children as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. Until 2010, the festival was hosted at the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, however, after University of California officials and event organizers disagreed on how to share expenses, particularly in light of the recent budget cuts to the UC system, the festival was moved permanently to USC. The event has typically been held during the last week of April, though it has been moved to the first week, to avoid a scheduling conflict with Fiesta Broadway. The next festival was scheduled for 18–19 April 2020, the 3rd weekend of April, but will be a virtual one come mid-October, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Festival was conceived during an American Booksellers Association event held at the LA Convention Center. Festival Co-Founders Narda Zacchino and Lisa Cleri Reale were discussing Book Festivals around the country. Zacchino stated that she had always wanted to launch a Festival in Los Angeles. Cleri Reale responded, "Why don't we do it?" With a small allocation of funding from each of their departments, Zacchino and Cleri Reale moved forward with their plans. The initial Planning Committee was small but passionate group of Times employees who worked on their time.
The 25th Festival of Books will be held on a virtual basis, because the safety of the visitors & staff are paramount. Starts mid-October and continues over four straight weeks.
The 2019 Los Angeles Times Festival was held from April 13 to 14 at the University of Southern California. Highlights include The L.A. Times Book Prizes where authors Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Francisco Cantu and Rebecca Makkai won, and continuation of the spirit of the book festival thru the L.A. Times Book Club, a year-round new and more intimate forum.
The annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was held for the first time at University of Southern California on Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1. Some of the authors included Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, Mary Higgins Clark, Nancy Temple Rodrigue, Nick Flynn, and Dave Eggers.
The festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25, had 450 announced authors, including Father Gregory Boyle, Lisa "Hungry Girl" Lillien, Meg Cabot, Mary Higgins Clark, Dave Eggers, James Ellroy, Daisy Fuentes, Louis Gossett Jr., Terry McMillan, Bernadette Peters, Jane Smiley, and Alice Waters.
The 2009 Festival of Books was held on Saturday & Sunday, April 25 and 26, 2009. More than 100 panel discussions and readings, with nearly 450 authors participating, were scheduled in the various classrooms on both days. Topics included "Mystery: A Dark & Stormy Night", "Young Adult Fiction: Problem Child", "Rock & A Hard Place: Security & American Ideals", "Poof! Our Evaporating Economy", "Fiction: Intimate Strangers", "Mystery: Cold Cases", "History: The Underbelly of California", and "The Soloist from Page to Screen"
Some of the authors and panelists scheduled for panel discussions were James Ellroy, T.C. Boyle, Kevin J. Anderson, Michael J. Fox, S.E. Hinton, Clive Barker, Diahann Carroll, Ray Bradbury, and Gore Vidal. There were a number of areas set up for authors and moderators to sign their books. Additionally, there were many events planned at the various outdoor stages. Hip Hop Harry and Bullseye (mascot) entertained the children at the Target stage.
Robert Alter, "author of many acclaimed works on the Bible, literary modernism, and contemporary Hebrew literature", received the 29th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes' Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. He was in a conversation with Jonathan Kirsch at the festival.
- KELLOGG, CAROLYN (April 24, 2009). "Authors, authors everywhere at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- "Los Angeles Times postpones Festival of Books due to coronavirus". Los Angeles Times. March 11, 2020.
- web=https://www.latimes.com/books/la-et-jc-fob-festival-of-books-author-interview-panel-recap-20190415-story.html%7C title=The Festival of Books has ended, but relive the fun with these highlights
- Los Angeles Times Festival of Books