L.A. Times fair comes to USC

The Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday that the 16th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be moving its home from UCLA to the USC campus next spring.

“After 15 years on the Westside, we are very excited to move the Festival of Books to its beautiful new home and have the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with USC to ensure we grow bigger and better in the future,” Los Angeles Times Publisher and CEO Eddy Hartenstein said in a press release.

The location was changed to allow for increased attendance and additional attractions. Event organizers chose USC because of its central location, additional parking and public transportation and new campus facilities, according to the release.

“The last festival brought in 140,000 people and we hope to have that or more over the weekend on our campus,” said James Grant, assistant vice president for USC media relations.

In an e-mail to faculty, President C.L. Max Nikias said he was thrilled the festival was moving to the USC campus.

“The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is known for sparking just the kind of intellectual curiosity and energy that are at the heart of USC’s mission,” Nikias said. “It is a great fit for our world-class faculty authors and writing programs, as well as for our literacy work in the community.”

The Festival of Books began in 1996 with the goal of bringing authors and readers of all ages together for a two-day event. Approximately 130,000 to 140,000 people attend the event each year, making it the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country.

The event, which is free to the public, features more than 400 authors in genres ranging from poetry to comic books.

Also in attendance are booksellers, publishers and literacy and cultural organizations from a variety of communities in Los Angeles.

In addition, the festival hosts celebrity appearances, speaker panels, book signings, children’s activities, famous chefs and local musicians.

The Los Angeles Times will publish a map of the festival on its website and distribute a program guide on April 24, the weekend before the event.

Elizabeth Windler, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said she had never heard about the Festival of Books but thought it sounded like a good opportunity for USC.

“If there are authors there that I like, I will go,” Windler said.

Laura Escobar-Vallecillo, a junior majoring in communication, is a big fan of the Festival of Books.

“I’m so excited to hear that the Festival of Books is going to be here because it was such a hassle to find time in my schedule to head over to Westwood, find a ride there and find parking,” she said.

Escobar-Vallecillo said she thinks the event might help promote reading across campus.

“Hopefully this will encourage other students to take up leisure reading, even with our hectic college schedules,” she said.