Books

L.A. Times Festival Of Books Going Digital For Fall Event, Casting Wary Eye At Spring 2021

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, canceled from its usual spring slot by the pandemic, is going virtual for a fall event.

Originally set for April and then bumped to an anticipated Oct. 3-4 run, the event now will be held online instead of at the University of Southern California campus.

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The country’s largest book festival is now scheduled to start Oct. 18. It will continue over four weeks rather than its traditional two days, but will still have author panels, readings and other events.

The full programming schedule will be announced in mid-September.

“Over the years, festival-goers have listened to Eric Carle read about a ravenous caterpillar; the late Congressman John Lewis discuss his lifelong work for racial equality; Julie Andrews reminisce about the Swiss Alps; Luis J. Rodriguez wax poetic about life in Los Angeles; Viet Thanh Nguyen expound on reclaiming historical narratives; Padma

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L.A. Times Festival of Books going virtual as community-wide gathering

Linda Arkin, 75, of Valencia, looks over the Festival of Books section of the Los Angeles Times on April 21, 2018. <span class="copyright">(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Linda Arkin, 75, of Valencia, looks over the Festival of Books section of the Los Angeles Times on April 21, 2018. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is opening a virtual chapter this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being postponed from April to October, the 25th Festival of Books, Stories & Ideas will take place online instead of being held on the University of Southern California campus, The Times announced Friday.

The marquee event, a partnership between The Times and USC, will be reimagined as a virtual community-wide gathering.

The e-festival will still celebrate storytelling when it launches Oct. 18. It will continue over four weeks rather than two days. The Times will host author panels, readings and other events during that time.

The full programming schedule will be announced in mid-September.

“Over the years, festival-goers have listened to Eric Carle read

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Books impresario Lisa Lucas named publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books

Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation and soon-to-be publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books. <span class="copyright">(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation and soon-to-be publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Lisa Lucas didn’t want to leave her job as executive director of the National Book Foundation, which hands out the prestigious National Book Awards every year, but when the offer from Pantheon came, she simply couldn’t refuse.

“It felt important enough to become more uncomfortable — if that makes sense,” Lucas said in a phone interview. “I could not be more excited, but it is an interesting sort of feeling. The bus comes and you get on or you don’t. It’s the bus I’ve dreamed of my whole life. It just came at a time I did not expect.”

Reagan Arthur, the executive vice president and publisher in charge of Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken Books, began discussing the position with Lucas over the phone in early June.

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