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Leimert Park Village Book Fair Turns 10!
By Sentinel News Service
Published June 22, 2016
 A couple of girls discover the wonder of books at the 2015 Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

A couple of girls discover the wonder of books at the 2015 Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the renowned Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) invites those who love reading, literature, learning and fun to the 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in LA. This year, the book fair will be held outdoors, and luckily, it rarely rains in Southern California! Thousands are expected to flock once again to this family-oriented festival held in the heart of Leimert Park, the epicenter of the Los Angeles area African American arts, intellectual and literary scene.

LPVBF will celebrate its 10th anniversary with an exciting and eclectic mix of authors, scholars, poets, television personalities, and celebrities. The book fair will present a line-up of headliners and crowd pleasers, fan favorites of voracious readers and of book clubs around the country. This tribute to reading and literature will be punctuated by music, laughter, intellectual engagement and celebrity authors, signing their impressive works of literature.

“This year marks our 10th anniversary,” said Cynthia Exum, founder and executive director of the LPVBF. “We wanted to step things up a notch to commemorate this milestone; so, we are hosting city-wide special events, called ‘BookEnd’ events with our community partners.”

Actress Vernee Watson, the queen of commercials, has been one of the many authors, showcasing their work at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

Actress Vernee Watson, the queen of commercials, has been one of the many authors, showcasing their work at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

She added, “There will be concerts, film screenings, celebrity readings, panel discussions, reading parties and more to help us celebrate our theme of ‘Turning 10!’” In 2007, with a vision of staging a world-class book fair in Leimert Park, Exum invested her own money, and that of a few friends, into what has become one of the nation’s best gathering of authors, scholars, entertainers and educators.

Her commitment to the book fair was acknowledged when she received public support from the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs as well as sponsors, community organizations and enthused merchants in Leimert Park Village, including Eso Won Books, one of LA’s premier African American-owned bookstores. With the support of these partners and supporters, she built a high-quality cultural event, and the people came!

Now considered one of the premier literary events on the West Coast, the LPVFB continues to be free to the public, and expected to draw more than 10,000 people, with over 150 authors, writers, storytellers, poets, spoken word performers, vendors and exhibitors. Enjoying unprecedented growth, the book fair was re-located in 2013 to the spacious Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza — a beautiful historic venue, located in the Leimert Park area.

Mother-and-daughter authors of the cookbook, “Soul Food Love,” Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams are all smiles with master chef Govind Armstrong at the 2015 Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

Mother-and-daughter authors of the cookbook, “Soul Food Love,” Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams are all smiles with master chef Govind Armstrong at the 2015 Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

For Exum, the impetus for the start of the book fair began as a tribute to her late grandmother who read the Bible daily and kept stacks of National Geographic magazines around the house – as well as to her late sister who regularly received books from Exum, while serving time at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).

“Having books in the home inspired a love of reading for me,” explained Exum. “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.”

Exum has taken the book fair on the road this year, hosting two community reading programs in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library (the Washington Irving Branch), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the LA Department of Cultural Affairs. In memory of her sister, she plans to organize a pop-up book fair at a women’s prison to offer inmates not only a lifeline; but, a love of learning through reading. Perhaps, taking a cue from media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Exum eventually wants to expand her book fair and literacy programs internationally to Africa. LPVBF has become a much-anticipated cultural tradition in the L.A. area.

Chairpersons Dr. Bernard W. Kinsey and his lovely wife, Shirley, take time out to chat with the crowds and sign books at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

Chairpersons Dr. Bernard W. Kinsey and his lovely wife, Shirley, take time out to chat with the crowds and sign books at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Photos Courtesy of Exum and Associates

“We are pleased to support this pre-eminent literary organization, which hosts some of our greatest scholars, historians, established artists as well as emerging authors, providing a unique platform for them to connect with the community,” added Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey, chairpersons of the LPVBF. “The event is a beautiful testament that our community loves reading and the literary arts, and we’re so proud to be a part of this special celebration.”

Leimert Park Village Book Fair will take place on Saturday, August 20, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw (BHC) – courtyard plaza, located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in L.A.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair will feature iconoclast interviews, booksignings, workshops, panel discussions, poetry readings, stage performances, musical entertainment and a variety of activities for the whole family. The event is free and open to the public.

Visit us at www.leimertparkbookfair.com. Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeimertParkBF. Follow us on Twitter @LeimertParkBF. Follow us on Instagram: @LeimertParkBF

newsroom@lasentinel.net

Categories: Crenshaw & Around | Education | Family | Local | News
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