Meet the 2021 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books panelists

A portrait of Don Lemon smiling against a blue background.
Den Lemon, among other renowned panelists, will provide attendees with invaluable literary expertise and wisdom. (Photo courtesy of CNN)

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will be streaming virtual panels from April 17 to April 23. Over the course of the festival, more than 100 authors will participate in the panels to discuss different topics and writings.

Below are some of the featured panelists on this year’s Festival of Books mainstage:

Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas (Saturday, April 17)

Guy Raz is an award-winning journalist, creator and radio host. He is widely known for hosting and creating the podcasts “How I Built This,” “The Rewind” and “Wisdom From The Top,” and he is also the co-creator and former host of NPR’s “Ted Radio Hour.” Throughout his career, Raz has interviewed more than 6,000 people from various fields, and his shows have amassed over 19 million listeners every month.

Raz is the co-creator and co-host of “Wow In the World” and “Two Whats!? And A Wow!,” which are two NPR podcasts made for children.

Mindy Thomas is a creator and award-winning radio host. She is Raz’s fellow co-creator and co-host for “Wow In the World” and “Two Whats!? And A Wow!”. Thomas is also the host of the “Absolutely Mindy Show” and is the program director and host of “Kid’s Place Live Channel” on Sirius XM. Thomas is an expert and advocate for children’s literature and independent family music.

This Saturday, Raz and Thomas will talk about their new book “Wow in the World: The How and the Wow of the Human Body” to the audience. The panel will be hosted by L.A. Times reporter Yvonne Villarreal and moderated by actress and Critics’ Choice Award winner Zooey Deschanel.

Meena Harris (Sunday, April 18)

As a lawyer, entrepreneur and author, Meena Harris strives to increase awareness of social causes. She is the founder of Phenomenal, a women-driven lifestyle brand that advocates for the rights of underrepresented groups. Harris also writes children’s literature. Her latest picture book, “Ambitious Girl,” is a New York Times No. 1 Bestseller that tells an inspiring story about a girl’s journey to discover and realize her power and potential. The panel with Harris will be moderated by Mary McNamara, a columnist and critic at the L.A. Times.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Sunday, April 18)

Widely known for his performance in the TV show “Modern Family,” Jesse Tyler Ferguson is coming to the L.A. Times Festival of Books with his debut cookbook “Food Between Friends.”

Ferguson has a deep interest in cooking and is the co-founder of a food blog. In “Food Between Friends,” Ferguson and his co-author Julie Tanous, who is also a private chef, collect their favorite recipes of modern California food with a mix of Southern and Southwestern flavors.

Ferguson will be on the panel moderated by Matt Brennan, the television editor at the L.A. Times.

Richard Thompson (Monday, April 19)

Richard Thompson is a celebrated guitarist, songwriter and singer. He is a winner of the British Ivor Novello Award, which is presented to outstanding songwriters and singers, and a three-time Grammy Awards nominee. The L.A. Times describes Thompson as “the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix.”

Thompson’s memoir “Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975” will take a retrospection of the legendary guitarist’s early career. The panel with Thompson will be moderated by RJ Smith, a senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine.

Don Lemon (Tuesday, April 20)

Don Lemon is the host of “CNN Tonight” and America’s only Black primetime anchor. He has reported and anchored on many national and international breaking news segments, focusing on issues including politics and systemic racism.

In his new book and The New York Times Bestseller, “This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism,” Lemon writes about his experiences and thoughts on racism. On the panel, Lemon will be discussing the book as well as ways to end racism with moderator and L.A. Times staff writer Greg Braxton.

Meanwhile on the USC stage, there will also be a series of panels and conversations starting from this weekend:

Selfies for Social Change: Claiming Space in Social Media (Saturday, April 17)

This panel will discuss the power of social media and how people can use it for social good. The participants on this panel include internet content creators and writers Jackson Bird and Akilah Hughes, and Allissa V. Richardson, an assistant professor of journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The moderator for this panel is professor Colin Maclay, a research professor of communication who also serves as the executive director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at USC.

Music, Money, and Mindfulness (Sunday, April 18)

This panel will focus on music in relationship with art and mindfulness. It also includes a discussion on ways to succeed in the music industry. The moderator of this panel is Varun Soni, the dean of religious life at USC. The participants include Jeff Brabec, the senior vice president of business & legal affairs for BMG, and USC Thornton School of Music professors Lynn Helding and Richard Wolf.

Making History: Media, Stories, History, and Memory (Monday, April 20)

Moderated by professor Priya Jaikumar of the School of Cinematic Arts, this panel takes a close examination of the participants’ writings and the relationship between elements of history, memory, media and stories. The participants of this panel include USC history professor William Deverell, USC English professor and novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen and Howard A. Rodman, the author of the novel “The Great Eastern.”

Eastside Punks — A Screening and Conversation (Wednesday, April 22)

This panel will be a celebration of “Eastside Punks,” a series of documentary shorts that introduces the first-generation punk bands of East L.A. The footage archivist of the documentary series, Dino Everett, will be the moderator of this panel.

He will hold conversations with musicians Jimmy Alvarado, Teresa Covarrubias, Tracy Lee (Skull) Garcia and Jack Rivera.