The nation’s largest literary and cultural festival returned to the USC University Park Campus on Saturday with a feast of fun for bookworms, authors and just about everyone else.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books kicked off with a serenade from the USC Trojan Marching Band and welcoming words from leaders of the event’s co-sponsors.
“We often think of reading as a solitary activity,” USC President Carol L. Folt said, “but what I love about this is: This is a community of readers, of storytellers, of visionaries who are helping us learn and change. And that is perfect for all of us to celebrate together.”
Chris Argentieri, president and chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Times, joined Folt in expressing his love of literature.
“I think it’s important to remember that books and stories bring us together as they have today, and sharing our stories encourages creativity, cures empathy and enriches our lives in ways beyond measure,” Argentieri said.
The opening ceremony also featured a reading by Luis J. Rodriguez of his “Love Poem to Los Angeles,” a piece of love/hate prose (but more love than hate). On Friday night, Rodriguez was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, the traditional kickoff to the weekend festival.
Festival of Books: Dozens of authors, and much more
The festival includes dozens of author booths and panel discussions, as well as performing arts stages, health screenings from Keck Medicine of USC and civic engagement offerings. The festival continues Sunday; admission is free, though indoor conversation panels require tickets that can be obtained online; a limited number of tickets will be available at the festival.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is in the 27th year. It moved to the USC University Park Campus from Westwood in 2011, but the last two festivals were held online because of the pandemic.