Lead Story West Edition

Top black authors expected for Leimert Park Village Book Fair

LEIMERT PARK — A traumatic event forces Caprice Tatum to flee to Atlanta. Many years later she decides it’s time to return to her roots — but this time, she’s coming back as Wicket, an international pop sensation. She wears her fame to perfection on stage, but offstage, she plans to use revenge to finally lay her past to rest.

So goes the saga “Vengeance” by New York Times’ best-selling author and “Queen of Erotica” Zane, aka Kristina Laferne Roberts.

Zane will be in good company as one of the headliners set to take the stage this year at the 10th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair Aug. 20. There you will also find White House correspondent and political commentator April Ryan, economist and political analyst Julianne Malveaux, celebrity and entertainment power couple Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Bobby Brown.

Media personalities Rolanda Watts and Flo Anderson, represent the list of crowd pleasers along with journalist and columnist Erin Aubry Kaplan, legendary musician Charles Wright, author Roy Albert Andrade, and one of the pioneering black filmmakers, Matty Rich.

Organizers are particularly excited about the book fair’s culinary event, which some have described as “cooking on steroids.” This year’s stage will feature reality star Robbie Montgomery of OWN’s “Welcome to Sweetie Pies,” Chef Rome Brown,season one competitor on Food Network’s reality show “Extreme Chef;” and Chefs Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizuof the Mexican restaurant at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Thriller and mystery lovers will have the opportunity to meet and greet NAACP Image Award-winning novelist Pamela Samuels Young, author of “Anybody’s Daughter;” and Garry Phillips, author of “Cowboys” and “The Cocaine Chronicles.”

Other fan favorites include the best selling and award-winning husband-and-wife duo Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due will be signing copies of their latest releases “The Seascape Tattoo” and “Ghost Summer.”

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is meant for the whole family. Former professional basketball player Juaquin “Hawk” Hawkins, author of “The Stroke of Grace” may captivate sports lovers as he offers words of inspiration. Young adults may also be motivated as they hear from Sakina Ibrahim, regarding her NAACP Image Award-nominated debut self-help book “Big Words To Little Me: Advice to the Younger Self.”

The book fair began when founder and executive director Cynthia Exum decided to pay tribute to her late grandmother and late sister. Exum’s grandmother was an avid reader who read the Bible daily and kept stacks of National Geographic throughout her home.

“Having books in the home inspired a love of reading for me,” Exum said. “As a child, by flipping the pages of a book, I could go anywhere in the world, and dream the dreams of the person I wanted to be.”

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair has become an anticipated cultural tradition for many readers throughout Los Angeles as some of their favorite authors and media personalities participate in the event that promotes literacy and history.

“There’s a myth that black people don’t read books and that’s simply not true given the amount of support the Leimert Park Village Book Fair has received over the last 10 years,” publicist Wyllisa Bennett said. “We’re excited to celebrate such a big milestone this year. What I enjoy most is seeing the quality of authors coming to the African American community to promote the love of reading and literacy among our people.”

Exum and Associates produce the event in collaboration with a variety of sponsors. Philanthropists and art historians Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey serve as the book fair’s chairpersons, leading the fund-raising efforts and increasing the book fair’s brand awareness in the corporate community.

As many as 10,000 people are expected at the book fair. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the outdoor promenade of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The book fair captures the attention of thousands each year, creating unforgettable memories for both readers and their favorite authors who like Zane, create unforgettable and relatable characters like Caprice.