Books literally surrounded Stacey Abrams as a child.
As the daughter of a reference librarian, she will attend daycare on the campus where her mother works. The childcare center closed before her mother left for work, so Abrams would nap in the library stack.
Her mother reads to her and her five siblings throughout the week, and on Fridays their father, a shipyard worker, entertains the children with fantastic stories. his own virtual – “a G-rated version of ‘Game of Thrones,'” the two-time Georgia governor candidate said.
Thanks to her mother’s read-aloud books and her father’s extraordinary stories, the suffrage activist “has grown up with an intense interest, not only in reading but also in storytelling, ‘ she told an enthralled crowd on Sunday afternoon at 43. Los Angeles Times Book Festival.
That love fueled the politician’s side career as an author – a career that included romantic suspense novels. written under a pseudonyma political thriller, two non-fiction books, and more recently a children’s book.
It was her latest photo book, “Stacey’s Notable Books,” that brought Abrams to the second day of the annual fair on the University of Southern California campus. But her love story is hardly the only written love story dominating the weekend.
Over the course of two days, tens of thousands of people roamed the tree-lined university campus, attended seminars, and purchased and viewed countless books.
The festival identifies itself as biggest literary event domestic.
As Abrams chatted with Times columnist Erika D. Smith from the main stage, fans spilled out of the audience tents, filling in grassy areas on either side and lined up along the edge of the fountain. near. They clapped their hands and squinted in the sunlight, took pictures with their iPhones, and excitedly whispered comments to their friends.
Representative Katie Porter (D-Irvine), a Senate candidate and author of the memoir, “I Swear: Politics Is More Chaotic Than My Pickup Truck,” received a passionate reception. similar on Sunday morning, when Times political correspondent Melanie Mason interviewed her in front of several newspapers. hundred people in a basement auditorium.
Sidney Stern, a high school student from Los Angeles.
“I’m really a romance reader, so I’m here for that,” added Stern, clutching a paperback she’d read while she waited for Porter to sign her t-shirt. . “But me and my mom are really Katie fans.”
Held the same weekend as another arts festival about 130 miles east in the Coachella Valley, the Los Angeles Times Book Festival attracts a different kind of star power.
In addition to Abrams and Porter, big names in attendance included cultural critic Roxane Gay; “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin; crime writing legend James Ellroy, Michael Connelly and Walter Mosley; beloved children’s author Lois Lowry; and famous novelists Ottessa Moshfegh and Rachel Kushner.
(And other festivals aren’t exclusive to musical talent: Legends like Susanna Hoffs and Joan Baez were among the many lyrical talents at the book festival.)
The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate sat with columnist Erika D. Smith at the LA Times Book Festival and shared the story behind “Stacey’s Notable Books.”
When California’s new laureate poet, Lee Herrick, reads “My California,” His most famous works, from the poetic scene, the stanzas have the effect of hypnotizing the crowd. A group of boisterous college boys passing by the tent suddenly stopped and stared, stunned as Herrick offered his melodious vision of the state, rich in images of Central Valley.
“What a wonderful little psychedelic sorbet,” one woman commented to her daughter about Herrick’s poems, as they both left the realm of poetry and entered the maze of pavilions. white goods.
There are many well-known publishers and independent bookstores represented. But many booths voiced each writer’s dream, pursued to the full, then made it available to the masses — typically a small bowl of candy or free stickers to attract potential readers.
By day, Marina Flores works as a marketing manager for a luxury furniture company. But this weekend, she was able to fully embrace her identity as a poet, manager One booth where she sold about 70 copies of her first collection, “A diary.”
Many potential customers were drawn in by the rainbow pride flags that adorned the sides of Flores’ booth – a fitting whistle for a personal piece addressing themes of gay identity. .
The stall isn’t cheap, she said, but is a worthy investment as she builds her brand and name as a poet.
On the other side of the festival, Élan Marché assures a potential reader that the self-published fantasy series she co-authored with her husband, Christopher Warman, as “less of witches and wizards and more of a rune-based magic system.”
Like Flores, Marché and Warman both had day jobs (as corporate real estate manager and cable networker, respectively). But their festival pavilion – sparsely decorated with layered copies of world maps from their book series – has allowed them to connect with a multitude of readers, build relationships and make sales. dozens of books.
“We just decided that we wanted to be on it and communicate directly with some of our real readers,” Marché said.
The festive atmosphere was disrupted on Sunday night when a scuffle broke out at the En Español stage, where controversial archaeologist Richard Hansen has spent decades excavating a vast complex of the Mayans in Guatemala – being interviewed by LA Times En Español editorial director Alejandro Maciel, whose Column One on Hansen’s research was published this year in The Times.
About 15 masked protesters stormed the small stage, shouting: “This is robbed land” and “F— imperialism.” According to the Los Angeles Police Department, a scuffle broke out between protesters and event crew members who were trying to clear the stage and one person was arrested for assault.
Reed Johnson and Laura Newberry contributed to this report.