Celebrating 25 years, the Festival of Books was not about to be stopped by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, the festival, presented by the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California, is going virtual. Programming kicked off today and featured the first children’s book panel and award-winning actor Henry Winkler.
We so enjoyed being with you !!! https://t.co/AEOvbyN8qj
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) October 18, 2020
The Festival of Books usually takes place on USC’s campus in the spring. Last year, the two-day event drew over 150,000 people. Pandemic rules permitting, it will take place next year on April 17 to 18.
The upside this year is that you don’t need to live in Los Angeles (not even California!) to access these panels. What’s more, programming extends over four weeks and registration is free. You can sign up here.
“Over the years, festival goers have listened to Eric Carle read about a ravenous caterpillar; the late Congressman John Lewis discuss his lifelong work for racial equality; Julie Andrews reminisce about the Swiss Alps; Luis J. Rodriguez wax poetic about life in Los Angeles; Viet Thanh Nguyen expound reclaiming historical narratives; Padma Lakshmi dish on food and life; and gone home inspired,” the Times said in a statement. “This year, the festival will make that kind of inspiration accessible from home.”
In addition to children’s story time, panels will include conversations on the Black experience, exchanges on romantic fiction and debates about the presidential election, according to the Times. Some lineup highlights include former California Gov. Jerry Brown, author Kevin Kwan, actress Natalie Portman, author Viet Thanh Nguyen, author Morgan Jerkins and a performance by USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.