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The Food Portion of the LA Times Festival of Books Looks a Little Thinner Than Usual

The annual festival is on April 21 and 22 at USC

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18th Annual LA Times Festival Of Books - Day 2 Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for LA Times
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Every year, 150,000 book obsessed Angelenos head to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Festival organizers just announced the lineup for April 21 and 22, which will be at the University of Southern California campus. The Festival’s food portion usually showcases many LA chefs, but the 2018 lineup looks a bit lighter than usual.

In past years, Festival of Books organizers dedicated ample time to feature local chefs and authors, including Suzanne Goin, Scott Conant, Roy Choi, and Hugh Acheson. Perhaps organizers will make future additions to the schedule, but as of now there are only seven food related discussions.

One panel is set to discuss the evolution of Mexican cuisine in LA, with USC professor and author Sarah Portnoy, Eater LA contributor Bill Esparza, and Guerrilla TacosWes Avila. Chef Jet Tila will promote his cookbook from 2017, and Gustavo Arellano will moderate a panel that includes Andrew Friedman, chef Edward Lee, and Dan Stone. The remainder are celebrity cookbook authors, including Valerie Bertinelli, and the boxer Laila Ali.

The festival used to take place at the UCLA campus, until a disagreement between California officials and event organizers caused the Festival to find a new home at USC in 2011. The Festival of Books is completely free, but the Festival offers advanced tickets as sessions fill up quickly. Details are on the Festival of Books site.

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