It’s that time again, Angelenos! Spring is in full bloom, the weather is warm, and the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is this weekend. Traditionally held at UCLA, the annual free festival comes to USC this year, providing a central location in the downtown arts and education corridor. Parking is $10, both on campus and at the Coliseum (click here to view the parking map). There are many public transit options as well as “The Bullseye Bus,” a shuttle system which will run in a loop between Union Station, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and USC.

But enough about travel! What to expect when you arrive? If you haven’t attended before, the festival brings together readers, writers, and more characters than you’ll find in a Steig Larsson trilogy. It also includes nearly 300 exhibitors, dozens of panel discussions, readings, cooking demos, writing workshops, and live music.

Writers’ Program instructors are among the hundreds of authors reading, signing, or appearing on panels. Here is a quick cheat sheet we’ve put together for you to make navigating the event easier:

Saturday, April 30th

10am, Poetry Stage – Rick Bursky reads from Death Obscura

2:30pm, Taper 201 – Edan Lepucki joins the panel “Fiction: The Long & Short of It”

4pm, Target Children’s Stage – Lisa Yee reads from Aloha, Kanani

Sunday, May 1

10:30am, Bing Theatre- Jonathan Lethem in Conversation with Carolyn Kellogg

12:30pm, Andrus Gerontology Center- Samantha Dunn joins the panel “Memoir: Lost and Found”

3:30pm, Seeley Mudd 124- Carolyn Kellogg moderates the panel “Publishing: The New Shape of the Book”

3:30pm, Andrus Gerontology Center- Samantha Dunn moderates and Antoine Wilson joins the panel “Fiction: Worlds Unraveling”

So if you’d like to meet one of your favorite instructors, have your book signed, or just listen to their work, come on down!

Other panelists and readers include everyone from Dan Savage to Patti Smith to Larry Flynt. It’s the perfect opportunity to finally decide for yourself if Ted Danson’s hair is real, or if Jillian Michaels is really as scary as she seems on TV.

There’s even a full lineup for the kids at the Target Children’s Stage, where your little ones can see the likes of Lamb Chop (yes, the Lamb Chop), Jamie Lee Curtis, and frightmaster R.L. Stein (beware, you may get goosebumps).

And of course, your friendly Writers’ Program advisors will be on hand at booth 028 (near the main UCLA Extension booth) with all of the information you’ll need about our programs and events. Stop by to say hello, chat, or enter to win a cool Writers’ Program t-shirt. Oh—and we’ll have candy too!

Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Saturday April 30, 2011 from 10am – 6pm
Sunday, May 1, 2011 from 10am – 5pm

University of Southern California

For full details, please visit the Festival of Books webpage.

Katy Flaherty is the Program Representative for Creative Writing (Online) and Events. Write to her at kflaherty@uclaextension.edu.

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