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OCTOBER 9 & 10, 2010

Over 120 Celebrated and Emerging Authors Featured Including Victor Villaseñor, Fr. Greg Boyle, Sonia Nazario, Josefina López, Juan Felipe Herrera, Alisa Valdés-Rodríguez, Gustavo Arellano, Luís J. Rodríguez, Michele Serros, Jose Luis Orozco, and Reyna Grande Among Many Others


Actor/Community Activist Edward James Olmos Hosts Family-Friendly Weekend Event Including Children's Reading Stages, Folklórico Dance  Competition & More

The largest gathering of Latino authors in U.S. history will take place at the 13th Annual Latino Book & Family Festival (LBFF) at Greenlee Plaza, on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10 from 11:00am to 6:00pm.  The event is presented by founder/actor/community activist Edward James Olmos and Latino Literacy Now, a non-profit organization Olmos founded in 1997 to promote literacy in the Latino community.

In addition to bringing together over 120 award-winning and emerging Latino authors for panel discussions, book readings and signings, the festival will mount a ballet folklórico competition featuring dozens of regional ensembles representing several age groups.  The festival will host a children's area featuring book readings, stage performances, and arts activities. The festival grounds will also feature book vendors such as Barnes & Noble and Tia Chucha's Bookstore, and over a hundred exhibitors offering traditional and popular crafts, as well as an array of food and refreshments. 

Dr. Roberto Cantú, Distinguished Professor of English and Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A., where the festival is being hosted for the second consecutive year, asserts that the significance of the festival extends far beyond a weekend of Mariachi music, Folklórico dances, and educational activities for Latino families. "Not only are we promoting literacy in middle-and working-class households, we are also creating a forum for prominent and celebrated Chicana and Latino writers to meet and interact with younger writers. The festival is contributing to the enrichment of Latino literature and to the sense of being part of a larger society, integrating diverse sectors of the Latino and L.A. communities around the theme of literacy and family. During the two days of the festival, nearby Mexican and Latino communities will interact, appreciate the complex traditional and literary heritage of Latinos, and discover themselves as one living community at Cal State L.A.," explains Cantú, who also serves on the festival's planning committee alongside fellow educators, community activists, and authors.

Indeed, LBFF is by far the largest and most diverse assemblage of Latino authors to date in the country, with authors such as Victor Villaseñor, Luís J. Rodríguez, Josefina López, Alisa Valdés-Rodríguez, Alex Espinoza, Kathleen de Azevedo, Rene Colato Lainez, Alicia Partnoy, Daniel Chacón, Julia Amante, Frank Suarez, Reyna Grande, and Montserrat Lehner, representing nearly a dozen countries including Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and the United States and also features several award-winning Latino journalists including Sam Quiñones, Gustavo Arellano, and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Sonia Nazario, as well as the work of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, founder of Homeboy Industries, whose recent memoir, Tattoos On The Heart, chronicles his advocacy on behalf of former Latino gang members in Los Angeles, a special screening of the documentary Danza Folklórica Escénica: El Sello Artistico de Rafael Zamarripa, followed by a Q & A with director Olga Najera Ramirez, and a special performance by Ric Salinas of Culture Clash.
Among the varied offerings in the Literary Panel Program are discussions on the immigrant experience, Latino cartoonists, women's fiction and the Latina feminist tradition, the Latin American literary diaspora, and Latino poetry, as well as pragmatic, "how-to" panels on publishing, book promotion, and transforming books into films and self-help panels on weight loss, family, and empowerment, with more than 40 panels in total presented over the two-day fest.  Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP) will also be conducting workshops in Spanish for parents on topics related to education, reading, and child well-being.
"The Latino Book & Family Festival is pleased to have found the perfect site for our event. Last year's Festival was a definitely a turning point for us. We look forward to many years of celebrating reading and Latino authors at our new home at California State University, Los Angeles," noted Jim Sullivan, LBFF executive director.
Last year, the festival drew more than 10,000 attendees over the weekend, and organizers predict attendance at the 2010 event next month may double, given the kid-friendly fest's early word-of-mouth and steadily growing community support.
LBFF counts among its sponsors KWHY-TV Channel 22, an independent channel in Los Angeles.  With a programming line-up that's produced locally and that includes news, reality, sports and variety shows, this full-power TV station offers viewers content that reflects the lifestyle of Latinos in Los Angeles.  KWHY Channel 22 is commonly owned by NBC Universal one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies, and Telemundo, the fastest growing U.S. Spanish-language television network. Other sponsors include Univisión Radio, La Prensa, Pan American Bank, and the Pen Center USA.

The Latino Book & Family Festival was launched in 1997 in Los Angeles to promote literacy, culture, and education, as well as to provide people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of the multicultural communities in the United States in a festival atmosphere.  Since 1997 46 Festivals have been held with a combined attendance of 769,000.
The event is free and open to the public from 11:00am to 6:00pm on October 9 & 10, with a special ticketed event, "An Evening With The Authors," presented on Saturday, October 9, 6:30-9:00 pm., at a cost of $30/person, $25/students and children under 12 free of charge. Proceeds benefit Latino Literacy Now, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible. Currently the LBFF is hosted annually in Chicago and Los Angeles. In September, 2011, the Festival plans to return to Houston.
For more information and a full schedule of featured authors, festival panels and programs, please visit the website at 

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Last updated on Friday, October 19, 2012