(From Left-to-Right): Actress, comedienne, and best-selling author, Kim Coles, American television, stage and Emmy-winning actor, Glynn Turman and TV journalist and “Entertainment Tonight” co-host, Kevin Frazier
Photos Courtesy of LPVBF/Photo Collage Brian W. Carter

The 11th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) is set to kick off on Saturday, August 19, 2017 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHC). The family-oriented event is held in the heart of Leimert Park, which is considered the center of the African American arts/intellectual scene in L.A. This year, the book fair welcomes actress, comedienne, and best-selling author Kim Coles (“Living Single”; “Open Your G.I.F.T.S.”) as its 2017 book fair ambassador.

This year’s theme of “The Great Outdoors,” recognizes the benefits of enjoying activities, such as walking, running, camping, hiking and surfing, and taking advantage of Southern California’s beautiful weather. Also by enjoying the Great Outdoors, it’s consistent with fostering a healthy lifestyle with so many benefits, such as raising Vitamin D levels with exposure to the sunlight, maintaining physical fitness, improving concentration, accelerating natural healing and speedy recovery time and most importantly, fueling the mind, body and soul.

“I just feel so proud when I see authors meeting fans and making new ones or when I see people enjoying the exhibits,” said Cynthia E. Exum, executive director of the Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

“And wait until you see our ‘Great Outdoors’ theme! We are really transforming the Outdoor Promenade at BHC Plaza! There will be Trees! And a rock climbing wall! And of course, we will highlight the African American Heroes of the Great Outdoors too. We’re here to remind everyone of our great contributions to everything from mountain climbing to space exploration and hiking. There are plenty of books about our explorations and what we’re doing now in the Great Outdoors!”

In celebration of “The Great Outdoors,” the book fair is planning a plethora of activities, programming and interactive exhibits designed with everyone in mind. There will also be special exhibits on the Buffalo Soldiers and the black township of Allensworth, CA, which highlights contributions of African Americans to the history of the Old West as well as strides made in outer space exploration.

“We are also very proud to honor American television, stage and Emmy-winning actor Glynn Turman with a Legacy Award because not only is he an all around great actor, but he’s also a real cowboy, and lover of ‘The Great Outdoors,’” said Exum.

TV journalist and “Entertainment Tonight” co-host, Kevin Frazier will present the Legacy Award and conduct a Q&A with Mr. Turman.

A family-oriented event, the LPVBF has something for everyone. Attendees will enjoy guest speakers, author talks, poets, storytellers as well as book-signings from your favorite fiction and non-fiction authors – and several publishing and writing panels coordinated by the Los Angeles Review of Books. And new this year is a Travel and Wellness stage featuring Celebrity Chef Darrell ‘Das’ Smith. The day’s celebration will end with a posthumous tribute to American treasure and Jazz Legend Ella Fitzgerald (in recognition of her Centennial) with special musical performances by jazz greats Eloise Laws, Elaine Gibbs, Nicole “The Velvet Voice” Simms, and the Harold Land, Jr. Quartet.

“Voted One of L.A.’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the LPVBF has become a much-anticipated cultural tradition in the community. It provides authors an opportunity to promote their newest work as well as meet some of their fans up close and personal.

The LPVBF has humble beginnings. Exum, a book lover, was looking for a way to honor both her community and the woman who encouraged her to read – that is, her beloved grandmother, Nellie Mary Horne. Exum invested her own money, and that of a few friends and family, for the launch of the book fair in 2007.

“Now more than ever, we need the support of the community, everyone,” said Exum. “We have to make sure that events like the LPVBF thrive in our communities.

She continued, “For kids and generations to come, it’s important that they see city officials, organizations, businesses and community supporting efforts like ours, to keep bringing the best to community.”

LPVBF would like to thank their 2017 sponsors which include: City National Bank, Sempra Energy/The Gas Company, Loyola Marymount University, ABC7-TV, KLCS-TV (PBS), WAVE Newspapers, philanthropists Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Los Angeles, and Capri Capital Partners/ Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

“And on the occasion of our 70th Anniversary Celebration, we are pleased to continue and support this important literary event in our community and host it here at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza,” said Rachel Freeman, general manager of BHC.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair will take place at the outdoor promenade of the historic Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHC), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information about LPVBF, visit www.leimertparkbookfair.com.