Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spoke to thousands of book lovers, families, authors, and fans of all ages gathered in Leimert Park on Saturday, June 25, 2011 for the Fifth Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair.
This year’s fair featured 150 celebrity readings, book signings, writing workshops, panel discussions, poetry readings, stage performances, and musical acts. Leimert Park Village Book Fair has hosted some of the national’s top authors and artists including Nikki Govanni, Ishmael Reed, Pulizer Prize Winner Douglass A. Blackmon, California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young, Antwone Fisher, Hill Harper, and Synthia Saint James, just to name a few. LPVBF also annually distributes more than 1,500 free books to fair attendees, including over 300 books to local foster care children.
This year featured former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine Susan L. Taylor, economist Dr. Julianne Malveaux, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-author Isabel Wilkerson. Among the notable authors present was Sugar Ray Leonard promoting his recently published autobiography.
The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was founded in 2006 by Cynthia Ethusian Exum with the goal of promoting literacy and education in Los Angeles. The Leimert Park Village Book Fair was inspired by a project in February 1999 when Ms. Exum partnered with Our Authors Study Club, Inc. to present a ‘Festival of African American Authors’ at Los Angeles Southwest College. Its success in drawing 10 authors participating for an audience of 40 inspired the idea of creating an annual literary event. The concept of establishing a book fair in the community was further encouraged when Ms. Exum partnered with organizations Helping One Another Progress, Inc., Eso Won Books, the Leimert Park Merchant’s Association, and the 8th District Task Force Committee, and the office of Los Angeles Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, 8th District. Leimert Park was chosen as the host venue site because of its importance as the cultural/artistic center of the African American Community in Los Angeles.
The Inaugural Leimert Park Book was organized by a Planning Committee of over 30 persons including representatives from local schools, corporate/businesses, libraries, literary non-profit organizations, community organizations, and local authors, poets, and spoken word performers.
Today, the Annual Leimert Park Village Book fair attracts over 200 authors, poets, spoken word artists, storytellers, performers, and literary/educational exhibitor participants – and boasts an audience of over 5,000. Since its inception the Leimert Park Village book fair has grown in popularity and prestige becoming a cultural tradition and premier summer literary event. This year’s Book Fair will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2011, and everyone is invited this day of celebrating the written word.
More information is available at www.leimertparkbookfair.com