The Festival of Books has come to USC

Since 1996, the Los Angeles Times has celebrated the written word with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Every April for 15 years, the festival was held at UCLA featuring a variety of author signings, publisher booths and book vendors.

Attracting upward of 140,000 people in the past, according to the Los Angeles Times, it is by far the largest book festival in the country.

Jennifer Schultz | Daily Trojan

And this weekend, with free entry and hundreds of authors and exhibitors, the Festival of Books is set to transform USC.

A performance by the Trojan Marching Band and words from Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein and President C. L. Max Nikias kick off the Festival this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Attendees are then free to get books signed by their favorite authors or to inquire about an author’s work at booths set up around campus.

In previous years, the Festival  has featured authors and celebrities like Ray Bradbury, Gore Vidal, Michael J. Fox, Henry Winkler and Buzz Aldrin, to name a few.

This year the festival will include the likes of T.C. Boyle,  a member of the USC faculty, Dana Goodyear, Mary Higgins Clark, Kenneth Turan and Ted Danson.

On Sunday, the School of Cinematic Arts will host panels on the comic book industry, including one called  “Editing Comics the BOOM! Studios Way.” Los Angeles Times “Hero Complex” writer Geoff Boucher will be on hand to lead interviews.

The Festival includes a “Discover the World” section, showcasing the cultures of countries like Israel and South Korea.

Local museums, such as the Natural History Museum, are featured in the Arts and Culture Neighborhood Zone.

A number of outdoor stages will host performances, musical and otherwise. On Sunday at 11:40 a.m., USC’s Drama Club presents “Prequels to Classic Plays,” followed by an a cappella performance by SoCal VoCals at 12:50 p.m on the USC stage.

Of course, reading cannot be overlooked at the festival. A banner on the Los Angeles Times Pavilion wall asks visitors “What Are Your Reading?”

For two years, visitors have answered this question by writing on the 40-by-12 foot white wall. In the past, the most popular reads have been the Bible, the Koran and a number of classics, like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.

For writers, the Festival brings a wealth of resources. It offers bookstore exhibitors like Vroman’s Bookstore and Skylight Books, as well as publishing groups like Baker Publishing Group and SLG Publishing.

Writers can also sign up for seminars for $100 each. The seminars cover the different parts of the writing process, such as “Working with Editors and Publishers” and “Making a Life for Writing.”

Don’t miss out on this significant event and the opportunity to explore the bookworm in you.

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