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Home / Kal Penn

LA Times Festival of Books makes long-awaited in-person return

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will return in person to the USC campus Saturday for a two-day event that promises to attract tens of thousands of people perusing the latest works and hearing directly from authors, celebrities and literary experts.

More than 500 authors are expected to attend the festival, many of them signing their works, meeting with readers and taking part in discussions of their inspirations, current events and the craft of writing.

And as usual, the festival will attract an array of celebrities, many of them authors themselves. The big names on the bill include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Greenfield, Billy Porter, Janelle Monáe, Terry Crews, Josh Peck, Kal Penn, Kelly Rowland and poet Amanda Gorman.

While festival-goers can spend their time wandering among hundreds of exhibitor booths sponsored by countless booksellers and other retailers, reading enthusiasts can also attend ticketed panel discussions throughout the weekend. Tickets for the author discussions are available online for a nominal fee — and masks will be required at indoor events.

Among the indoor panel discussions over the weekend are:

— “Once Upon a Crime: Families, Victims and the Ties That Bind,” featuring Megan Abbott, Tod Goldberg, S.A. Cosby, Alison Gaylin and Rachel Howzell Hall;

— “The Poetics of Loss,” featuring CM Burroughs, Tyehimba Jess, Victoria Redel, Edward Hirsch and Forrest Gander;

— “History: Race in America,” with Martha S. Jones, Anna Malaika Tubbs, Clint Smith and Imani Perry;

— “Fiction: The Pandemic and Beyond,” with John Scalzi, Veronica Roth and David Duchovny; and

— “Arts & Culture: Comedy Through the Ages,” with Mark Harris, Mark Haskell Smith, James Curtis and Cari Beauchamp.

The festival traditionally attracts about 150,000 people during its two-day run. Attending the event is free, with only the indoor discussions requiring tickets.

A full schedule of events and information on tickets is available online at events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/.

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