You don’t have to be a bookworm to love the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, but if you are one, well, it’s almost your favorite time of the year. The annual event, touted as the biggest literary festival in the world, returns next month—and for those of us already counting down the days to April 13 and 14, the festival just announced a little something to tide us over: This year’s lineup is fantastic.
One weekend each spring, much of USC’s 226-acre campus hosts the literary symposium and book fair, and next month, we can expect more than 500 writers, artists, chefs and musicians to perform live readings of their works, host book signings and engage in panel discussions on topics ranging everywhere from telling compelling ghost stories to writing about climate change in any genre.
Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown will discuss his memoir, Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope, while Chelsea Clinton will appear in conversation with Times culture critic Mary McNamara for a talk on Clinton’s new children’s book, Don’t Let Them Disappear. This year’s lineup also includes the wildly prescient and acclaimed Difficult Women author Roxane Gay, plus American Psycho and Less Than Zero novelist Bret Easton Ellis.
As is usually the fest’s format, tickets to conversations and most events are free—but if you want to reserve your spot for a particular talk, advance tickets will be available starting April 7, for a $2.50 service fee. A limited number of events—such as LA Opera’s after-hours event—are also ticketed, ranging in price (with some starting as low as $10). You can reserve tickets to 20 conversations before they go on sale with a festival pass for $40, or if you’re feeling especially generous, with the “Friend of the Festival PLUS” membership for $125.
And, in celebration of the lineup announcement, the Festival of Books team is dropping books from this year’s speakers, along with other freebies, into 14 Little Free Libraries across the city. (You can follow along on Instagram to try and find the giveaway items before they’re gone.)
This year’s event will be spread across nine outdoor stages and other areas, and will include the usual family friendly activities, food trucks, and more than 200 exhibitors selling books and locally made goods. Keep your eyes peeled for poetry readings, live music and cooking demos—Tablet magazine’s Alana Newhouse will lead a demonstration on Jewish foods, for instance, while The Kitchen host Marcela Valladolid will perform a how-to on cooking Mexican-American party food.
Of course there’s so much more to love, whether you’re a voracious reader or a casual page skimmer—and you can find the festival’s full programming schedule here.
The 2019 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is a free festival running April 13 and 14 at USC.