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Leimert Park Village Book Fair to celebrate the culture

LEIMERT PARK — The 13th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair will celebrate the culture of African Americans Aug. 24 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

This year’s theme, “We Do This for the Culture: Celebrating Our Collective Culture,” not only recognizes the influence of hip-hop culture but it also supports the book fair’s mission to promote, encourage and advocate literacy and the love of reading through the Greater Los Angeles area. 

“We named the theme ‘We Do This for the Culture: Celebrating Our Collective Culture’ because anytime you do anything out of passion, it is always to benefit the people that will be able to enjoy whatever the passion is,” said publicist Wyllisa Bennett.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair came about “for the culture” in 2006 when Cynthia Exum, book fair founder and executive producer, used her own financial resources to share her love of reading with the African-American community and the memory of her grandmother who sparked her passion for literature.

“She didn’t have the deep pockets or the level of sponsorship like the other literary events in town, but still wanted to bring a very high-end literacy program to the African-American community,” Bennett said. “Just like the other literary festivals, we curate an exceptionally wonderful entertaining program with authors and panelists who are making a mark in the African-American community.”

For more than a decade, the annual event has attracted the attention of thousands of African Americans and other racial groups to the historic Leimert Park area of Los Angeles. 

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is known for presenting exciting headliners and book club favorites. Each year, book worms of all ages and backgrounds flock to the book fair to meet their favorite authors and be introduced to new authors. There will be a variety of activities such as interviews, book signings, panel discussions, musical entertainment and a variety of other activities the whole family can enjoy.

This year’s main stage will be transformed into a kitchen-like setting and authors and panelists will engage in table talk discussions about topics relevant to the African-American community.

The 2019 book fair ambassador is athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, television personality and home chef Laila Ali. She is the author of a new cookbook, “Food For Life.” 

“I always enjoy working with the book fair ambassadors because you get their take on how literacy became important in their life,” Bennett said.

One of the panel discussions, titled “Conversation: Writing the Geography of the Blood,” will feature former poet laureate of Los Angeles Luis J. Rodriguez.

Special guest authors also include Gregory Williams, Regina Louise, Remi Adeleke, Aya De León, Shaun Sinclair and Trisha R. Thomas, who authored “Nappily Ever After,” which was adapted into a Netflix film. Book fair patrons can expect those authors to participate in various “table-talk discussions” and inspirational stories.

The fair will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. inside the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Admission is free and open to the public.

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By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer