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Bookworms Rejoice! LA Times Festival of Books is Almost Here

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Let hyperboles of excitement fly: the greatest annual book festival in the country is only a week away. Our beloved Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is set to take over USC’s campus next Saturday, where some of the greatest names in the book world will congregate for LA’s most literary weekend of the year. And this year (ok, every year) the LA Times Festival of Books features an all-star line-up of literary luminaries including authors, publishers, indie presses, lit journals, bookstores, magazines, book reviews, journalists, panel discussions, readings, and writing seminars. Whatever your literary liking, the LATFOB has something for you and anyone you bring along thanks to a wide array of programming--from extensive coverage of children’s books and story telling to panels on Obama, old Hollywood, and writing in the Middle East. And the best part? General admission is, as always, free.

While the festival usually takes place on UCLA’s campus, this year the LATFOB will grant USC the honor of welcoming thousands of LA bibliophiles onto its well-manicured lawns. The sprawling festival amasses hundreds of literary vendors and, if this year follows tradition, it’ll be near impossible to get halfway through the labyrinth of booths in merely a day. Thankfully, the LATFOB gives us two full days to cover serious literary ground. Which includes, of course, the star-studded panels and readings that run throughout the weekend. Per usual, this year’s panels are top-notch. Here are just a few of the schedule’s (many) highlights:

Patti Smith and Dave Eggers in Conversation with Steven Elliot
T.C. Boyle with an Introduction by Janet Fitch
Walter Mosley in Conversation with Erin Aubry Kaplan
Fiction: Breaking Boundaries with 2011 Pultizer-Prize winner Jennifer Egan on the panel
Jonathan Lethem in Conversation with Carolyn Kellogg
Michael Connelly in Conversation with Richard Rayner
Fiction of the Middle East features renowned journalist Reza Aslan
The Pale King: David Foster Wallace moderated by LATimes literary aficionado David Ulin
Mystery: Organized Crime with best-selling author T Jefferson Parker
From the Front Register: Bookselling Today features Emily and Michael Powell of the iconic Powell’s Books
The Poet’s Responsibility with Henri Cole, Amy Gerstler, and Carol Muske-Dukes
The Vanguard: Literary Journals featuring Black Clock and Slake, among other journals
Fiction: The Art of the Novel with legendary writer Francine Prose

There will be stage performances by Patton Oswalt, Demetri Martin, Rick Springfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, R.L. Stine, David St. John, 826LA, Write Girl, and many more.(You can find the full schedule here.) In addition, there will be writing seminars and USC programming--including offerings from its Cinema School, which will host a free screening of Focus Features’ film Beginners with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer—it’s still LA, after all.

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With an impressive lineup of panels, performances, authors, and vendors scheduled, the 2011 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will likely pull off another legendary year. And now that it’s at USC, it's well worth forging downtown traffic for.

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books @ USC
Saturday April 30, 2011 from 10am - 6pm
Sunday, May 1, 2011 from 10am - 5pm
General admission is free. Parking is $10.

Some panels and discussions, while ‘free,’ require passes because of limited-capacity. The service charge for the ticket costs $1. (Full ticket info here).Writing seminars, panel passes, and ‘special programming’ are at additional costs. The full LATFOB program will print in this Sunday’s LA Times and festival maps can be found here.

For more information, including the full list of programs, seminars, and vendors, visit the LATFOB website.