The Times Festival of Books is this weekend at UCLA, which means there will be a lot of authors around the city (doing TV and radio, making bookstore appearances, giving lectures, going to parties) this week and next. Last night, for instance, Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens were on stage with Mona Simpson at UCLA Live. A quick perusal of the festival program finds some highlights of more than average local interest:
Saturday 11 a.m. panel, "The Illusive City, Looking for L.A." has James Brown, Diana Wagman and Al Martinez moderated by Scott Timberg.
Saturday 1 p.m. panel, "How I Got the Story," with Eric Lax, Martin J. Smith, Carlo Rotella and Hampton Sides, moderated by Marc Cooper.
Saturday 1:30 p.m. panel, "California's Invisible History," with Mark Arax, Dana Gioia, Richard Street and Rick Wartzman, moderated by Kevin Starr.
Sunday 10 a.m. panel, "Iraq One Year Later," with Mark Danner, Christopher Hitchens, Robert Scheer and Miachel Ignatieff, moderated by Steve Wasserman.
Sunday 10 a.m. panel, "How I Got the Story," with Steve Oney, Peter Schrag and Alex Frankel, moderated by Jon Wiener.
Sunday 10 a.m. panel, "Fiction: Writing Hollywood," with Robert Cort, David Freeman and Elizabeth Stromme, moderated by Rachel Abramowitz.
Sunday 3 p.m. panel, "Reporting L.A." with Edward Humes, Steve Lopez and Patt Morrison, moderated by Marty Kaplan.
Sunday 3 p.m. panel, "Writing L.A." with Pico Iyer, Carolyn See and David Ulin, moderated by Kit Rachlis.
Other local authors appearing on panels include (but are not limited to!) Jonathan Kirsch, Matthew Miller, Arianna Huffington, Denise Hamilton, Paula Woods, April Smith, Gregory Rodriguez, David Rensin, Roger L. Simon, Francesca Lia Block and Michelle Huneven. Many more will be signing books in booths around the festival -- check the program.
Other panel moderators include (and this isn't all of them) Warren Olney, Tavis Smiley, Samantha Power, Mark Bowden, Jack Miles, Lisa See, Marcos McPeek Villatoro, Geoffrey Cowan, D.J. Waldie, Gina Nahai and Karen Grigsby Bates.
The Times Book Prizes will be awarded Saturday evening at a program in Royce Hall.
Tickets to panels are free and went up at Ticketmaster on Sunday; they sell out quickly but the program says 15% of tickets are held back for distribution at UCLA during the festival. If you go, figure on crowds and riding a shuttle from distant parking. For my small part, I'll be signing The San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at the L.A. Times Books booth.