7 Events Not to Miss at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Carrie Brownstein, L.A. Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, Susan Orlean, and more

On April 9 and 10, USC’s campus will host the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. If you give even the tiniest of f&#ks about writing, reading, or journalism, you should check out at least a few of these events (and then ask your east coast friends if they still think L.A. is “cool, but just kind of like, devoid of culture”).

At the festival, authors, journalists and essayists will present their latest work, talk about the state of the written word, and explore the ways that we write and read. Here are seven events not to miss.

State of Emergency: Homelessness in L.A.
Saturday, April 9 at 1:30 pm

USC professor of urban social development Suzanne Wenzel talks with L.A. Mission chef Chris Cormier, L.A. City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and USC assistant professor of social work Ben Henwood about L.A.’s homelessness crisis.

Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate
Saturday, April 9 at 2:30 pm
Herrera (187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007, Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream) was named California’s poet laureate in 2012, and the U.S. poet laureate in 2015. He is the son of migrant workers, and received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Luis J. Rodriguez, Los Angeles Poet Laureate
Saturday, April 9 at 4:00 pm
Rodriguez (Music of the Mill; and Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.) has published 15 books, and is the founder of Tia Chucha Press. He writes fiction, memoir, short stories and poetry.

San Bernardino: Covering the Story
Saturday, April 9 at 4:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Times reporters Sarah Parvini, Paloma Esquival, and Joe Mozingo fastidiously covered last year’s shooting in San Bernardino. The three will be in conversation moderated by Megan Garvey, the Times’ deputy managing editor for digital content.

Author and talk show host Tavis Smiley
Sunday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m.
PBS and Public Radio International talk show host Tavis Smiley (50 for Your Future: Lessons from Down the Road) speaks to attendees from the Los Angeles Times Main Stage.

Susan Orlean in conversation with Carolyn Kellogg
Sunday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m.
The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief, Rin Tin Tin) will talk with Times book editor Carolyn Kellogg.

Ideas Exchange: Carrie Brownstein in conversation with Lorraine Ali*
Sunday, April 10 at 11:00 a.m.
Musician, actor and writer Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia sits down with journalist Lorraine Ali (Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone) to discuss her new memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl.

*Separate tickets are required and can be purchased here.