Lead Story West Edition

Thousand celebrate literacy at local book fair

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Literacy is still thriving.

Judging by the crowd at the 11th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair, reading looks like it’s cool again.

The all-day book fair, which took place at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, received a shot in the arm from noted celebrities Kim Coles (“Living Single”), “Entertainment Tonight” co-host Kevin Frazier and Emmy-award-winning actor Glynn Turman.

Coles, author of several books, including “I’m Free, but It’ll Cost You: Single Life According to Kim Coles,” served as the ambassador for the 2017 Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

The book fair, operating under “The Great Outdoors” theme, had a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Panel discussions about publishing, science fiction and social activism provided an outlet for those seeking information on those topics. The author spotlight was shined on South Los Angeles’ own Susan Burton, writer of “Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery.”

It was quite a scoop to get Burton to appear as she is in the midst of a national tour promoting her book of going from being incarcerated to helping women with their lives after they leave the criminal justice system.

Some of the top authors on hand for the day were Chef Darrell “Das” Smith, Pamela Samuels Young, Steven Barnes and Gary Phillips.

The biggest draw of the Leimert Park Village Book Fair is how it is a great place for independent authors to showcase their work to a mass crowd.

While big names like NeNe Leaks, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Bobby Brown, Hill Harper and Isabel Wilkerson, April Ryan and Douglas A. Blackmon have given the book fair much-needed juice in the marketing department, authors with small-time budgets have benefited greatly as well.

One of the most attended panel discussions was “You-The Future of Publishing,” presented and sponsored by the Los Angeles Wave. Panelists Callie Siskel, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn and Boris Dralyuk shared tidbits on how people can get their manuscripts published.

Besides the many books and authors to check out, the Leimert Park Village Book Fair introduced a Travel and Wellness Stage and presented short film screenings.

A kid zone provided activities and entertainment that kept the young ones occupied as well.