Tuesday, September 28, 2010


We Latino authors are so fortunate to live in Southern California. Other than the remarkable weather, access to culture, wonderful population diversity, forward-thinking mindset, artistic ambience, etc. etc. that Californians usually rave about, there is one even more important reason to celebrate California:

American literary history will be made in Los Angeles on the weekend of October 9 and 10, 2010, at the 13th Annual Latino Book & Family Festival (LBFF).

Why? More than 130 of us Latina/o published authors will come together at this event to present workshops and panel discussions, do book readings and signings, and dialogue with readers and fans. This is one of the largest literary festivals in America, but definitely the one with the largest contingent of Hispanic authors.

This public event is free and highly popular with mult-cultural and multi-generational audiences growing in number each year. It will be held at California State University, Los Angeles. Though a large number of the Festival's writers live and work in California, several are coming from other parts of our country, such as two Texans--Chuy Ramirez, whose new book was recently reviewed on this site; and Daniel Chacon, a lauded fiction writer who teaches at the University of Texas, El Paso--and a novelist and short fiction writer from Arizona, Stella Pope Duarte.

Great Diversity of Publications

The Festival authors represent the spectrum of genres in literature: novels and novellas, short stories, poetry, drama, screenplays, children's literature, young adult literature, memoirs, essays and other nonfiction, graphic novels (comic books), scholarly writing, and so on. Many of the Festival's writers are prize-winning authors, such as:
  • the Festival's Director, novelist Reyna Grande
  • novelist Montserrat Fontes  
  • Pulitzer-Prize finalist Sonia Nazario
  • emerging historian and longtime radio personality, Manny Pacheco
  • poet and fiction writer, Melinda Palacio
  • New York Times best-selling "chick lit" author, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.
Many more award-winning writers will be present at the festival, including established, renowned authors such as Daniel Olivas; and emerging young adult literature author, Sandra Lopez. You'll learn more about this exciting pool of talent at the Festival. Read on....

Some Latino Literary Icons: Luis Rodriguez & Victor Villasenor

One of the early modern Latino writers in our country, author of 14 books and countless other writings--including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction--Luis Rodriguez'  astounding literary career has spanned over 30 years. He has published in every major genre, and has conducted countless workshops and book talks in venues spanning academic settings, community settings, prisons, and Native American reservations. Luis is perhaps best known for his 1993 memoir, Always Running: La Vida Loca, which has sold more than 300,000 copies; has won numerous awards, including the Carl Sandburg Literary Award; has been adapted into plays performed across America; and was performed for two years as a play at Los Angeles' famed Mark Taper Forum.

Luis' website (http://www.luisjrodriguez.com/bio) details the many media appearances he has made, including appearances on PBS and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He has been interviewed and his works have been reviewed by major media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Entertainment Weekly, LA Magazine, and La Opinion. Luis is often considered one of the leading Chicano writers in the United States today.

Another literary icon who will be present at the LBFF next month is Victor Villasenor, best-selling, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author of Burro Genius. Victor's highly-acclaimed Rain of Gold, a book inspired by his family that took him 16 years to research and write, will be part of an HBO mini-series scheduled for filming in Spring 2011. His website (http://www.victorvillasenor.com/ ) also talks of his "nine novels, 65 short stories, and 265 rejections" prior to selling his first novel, Macho!, which has been compared to the writing of Nobel-Prize winning American author, John Steinbeck.

Victor's long literary career has been an inspiration to many generations of Mexican-Americans and others. His works are studied in schools across America, and he was featured as an "American Latino TV Hero" in May 2010. In addition to his novels, Victor has written short stories, nonfiction, and the screenplay for "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez," which starred Edward James Olmos.

The Authors in Action: Workshops and Panel Discussions

On Saturday, October 9, panel discussions (with almost all of them having 5-6 authors) will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. Then, on Sunday, October 10, the same timeframe will be followed, with these panel presentations lasting one hour each. In almost every time slot, four panels will be going on simultaneously in different rooms of Salazar Hall on the campus. See the website for a map of the Festival's location.

The weekend will be filled with literary fun and enlightenment, with a total of 53 presentations scheduled. The audiences will have the opportunity to ask questions of the authors and engage in discussions of their work. Topics of panel discussions range from children's literature, poetry, filmmaking, self-help, short stories, novels, getting literary agents, self-publishing, to history of folklorico dancing and cartoon books. It's a buffet of literary delights!

When we aren't presenting, many of us authors will be available on the festival grounds at our own booths to sell and autograph our books and chat with fans. What a great opportunity to meet your favorite authors or to meet new ones to expand your horizons!

More Information at the Website

Go to the festival's website at  http://www.lbff.us/  to see photos of last year's festival, photos of this year's author participants, bios of these writers, their websites, and the schedule of the panel presentations. See you at this historic festival!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all this info! I hope some of the speakers talk in Spanish, too.

Caridad Pineiro said...

Thanks for the info! It sounds like a wonderful gathering and I hope it goes well.

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Rosalinda and Caridad: Thanks for your comments. I know many of us in the festival are counting the days!

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for keeping us infored, Thelma. Which reminds me, I better write something up for Latino Books Examiner!

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Sounds like a wonderful event. Makes me wish I were in CA.

Thelma T. Reyna said...

Thanks, Gabriella. Yes, we're so lucky to be here, surrounded by many fellow Latina/o writers. Our multicultural ambience here is great.