Book Club: Amanda Gorman joins us at the Book Festival


Hello and welcome to the LA Times Book Club newsletter.

Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman entered the national stage in January 2020 with that unforgettable yellow coat and a voice full of passion, showing millions of Americans the power of poetry and its profound relevance to all of our lives.

“Having a mother who is a teacher had a huge impact on me,” Gorman said at the time, tracing his love of verse back to third grade, when his teacher read by Ray Bradbury “Dandelion Wine” In the classroom.

America’s first national Young Poet winner, Gorman dazzled audiences at the Super Bowl, the Met Gala and at home in Los Angeles with bands such as her beloved WriteGirl.

She turned 24 this month and in April will join readers of the LA Times Book Club to discuss “Call Us What We Carry,” a new collection of poems set in a time of pandemic and unrest.

Here is a passage from “Compass”, about “This year, the size of a sea”.

Lost the way we feel, there’s no better
Compass that compassion.
We don’t find ourselves being
The most seen, but the most visible.

Join us April 23 at the Festival of Books, where Gorman will be in conversation with Natalie J. Graham, Orange County’s new Poet Laureate and former book club guest. The free event will take place at 11:30 a.m. on stage at the LA Times.

Gorman’s book club speech coincidentally falls during National Poetry Month in April. We’ll discuss his work, the state of Southern California poetry, and where to enjoy live readings as the world opens up this spring and summer.

Tell us: What are your favorite places to enjoy poetry in LA and why? After spending so many months at home staring at a computer screen, I can’t wait to hear about your discoveries and your long-time favorites. I will include a selection of your responses in an upcoming journal club newsletter. Email your comments to [email protected]

Amanda Gorman reads “The Hill We Climb” during President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.

(Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

The book festival returns

Announced Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times Book Festival lineup includes more than 500 authors, including former book club guests Lisa View, Michael Connelly, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Laila Lalami, Luis J. Rodriguez, Gregory Boyle and Hector Tobar.

You will also find a wide range of other authors, artists, chefs, celebrities and musicians, among which Don Winslow, Roxane Gay, Attica Locke, Amor Towles, Jasmine Guillory, Rachel Lindsey, Billy Porter, Josh Peck, Michael Schur, Janelle Monae, Jonathan Franzen, Alton Brown, T.Jefferson Parker and Straight Susan.

The book festival returns to the USC campus after a two-year hiatus. I can’t wait to see everyone at the Amanda Gorman book conference on Saturday morning. I also lead a mystery panel with authors Craig Johnson and Attica Locke at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 24.

Be sure to schedule time for the festival’s Ask a Reporter stage, which builds on our popular community discussion series. Mudd Hall’s lineup features two days of conversations with Times staffers sharing some of the paper’s most interesting and innovative work right now. Some highlights:

  • Times Editor Kevin Merida will be in conversation with the columnist Caroline A. Miranda.
  • Journalist Gustavo Arellano will host a live podcast about LA mayor, council and sheriff races with Julia Wick, Erika D. Smith and Alene Chekmedyian. (Wick, by the way, is part of the reporting team behind the new LA on the Record newsletter, an essential guide to a memorable election year in Los Angeles.)
  • Photographer Genaro Molina will share “My LA” and 26 years of photographing the city.
  • Journalist Christopher Reynolds and editor michelle woo will discuss “How a Travel Writer Set Out to Find California’s 101 Best Experiences”.
  • Assistant Sports Editor Iliana Limon Romero Moderates “The LeBron James and LA Superstar Tradition” with Sports Reporter Broderick Turnercolumnist Bill Plaschke and TV editor Matt Brenan.

If you are going to: Full book festival the program is now online here.

General tickets: Reservations for individual panels are available from April 17 at 10 a.m.. Most events are free.

Friends of the Festival: Get early access to event tickets and other perks.

Portrait of a smiling woman standing on a beach.

AuthorReyna Grande.

(Imran Chaudhry)

Meet Reyna Grande

queen great says she never expected to write her new novel, ‘A Ballad of Love and Glory’.

After a reading in 2013, a member of the public approached Grande with a book idea: “Have you heard of the St. Patrick’s Battalion? »

Grande brushed it off. “Sometimes at events people come up to me and say, ‘You should write a book about this, you should write a book about this,'” she said in an interview with Dorany Pineda. “It often happens to writers, and it was the same thing.”

But the conversation piqued Grande’s curiosity. She ended up spending seven years researching and writing a historical novel set during the Mexican-American War and featuring the Battalion, a unit of mostly Irish immigrants who enlisted in the U.S. Army, to later desert and fight alongside Mexico. “A Ballad of Love and Glory” transports readers to 1846 as the United States Army marches south to wage war.

On March 29, Grande will join book club readers at 6 p.m. for a virtual conversation with the editor Steve Padille. Get autographed tickets and books on Eventbrite.

If you like our community book club: The Times offered numerous book club conversations and other live journalism events free and virtual. We worked hard to allow readers to easily connect with authors and journalists during the pandemic. Now we need your help to continue and grow. Please consider supporting the new Los Angeles Times Community Fund.

Los Angeles Times Community Fund Logo

(Parisa Hajizadeh-Amini/Los Angeles Times)


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