After a pandemic hiatus, the Little Literary Fair will return to downtown Los Angeles.
Also known as LitLit, the two-day event is a celebration of West Coast independent booksellers and publishers that will feature dozens of authors, artists, community organizers, local press and publishers. literary arts organizations. The fair will be held at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, the arts complex in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. There will also be food, music and activities for people of all ages.
The event will be free and open to the public, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 30 and 31, and will be presented by the Los Angeles Review of Books in partnership with Hauser & Wirth Publishers.
LitLit was just getting started when COVID-19 put a halt to in-person events; 2019 was his first year, and it will be his second. Its organizers are grateful to be back. Other rallies haven’t fared as well, leaving the upstart LitLit, for now, as the standard-bearer for Los Angeles’ independent press.
Kelly Peyton, LARB’s public programs and engagement manager, said independent presses and bookstores “are critical to creating a diverse literary landscape, and we wanted to give them time to face Angelenos, especially now. that many fairs dedicated to print culture have not returned after the pandemic.
Among those that haven’t returned are Acid-Free and the Los Angeles Art Book Fair, though the former plans to return in person in February 2023. But it’s not just the fairs that have taken a hit during the pandemic – independent bookstores across LA and beyond are struggling to make ends meet. Stores like Brentwood’s Diesel and Stories in Echo Park launched GoFundMes while others, like Family Books and BookMonster, closed for good. Last month, a co-owner of beloved Eso Won Books in Leimert Park announced that the black literature and culture center would close by the end of the year.
LitLit, meanwhile, is receiving renewed attention and funding. Thanks in part to a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, this year’s fair will host more panels, press and workshops. “We’re just so grateful that we still have enough presses that survived those very difficult years to feature this,” Peyton added.
Exhibitors will include 826LA, Angel City Press, Dryland Literary Journal, Not a Cult, PEN America, Semiotext(e), Con Todo Press and Kaya Press. Also planned are Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA Extension Writers Program, and Village Well Books & Coffee.
Michaela Unterdörfer, publisher of Hauser & Wirth Publishers, said the show was inspired “by the vibrant publishing ecosystem” in the Los Angeles area.
“The West Coast has a rich and diverse history of print culture,” she said in an email. “Our vision for LitLit is to provide a platform to promote open discourse in the field and allow a wider global audience to recognize the innovative work being done.”
On July 30 at 11:30 a.m., publishers and other literary leaders will debate “resistance, resilience [and] healing” in poetry. Panelists will include Neelanjana Banerjee, Managing Editor at Kaya Press; Quentin Ring, executive director of Beyond Baroque; Bidhan Chandra Roy, founder of Words Uncaged; and Hiram Sims, executive director of the Community Literary Initiative. LA Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson will host.
Other activities on the day will include a panel on the art of translation and a demonstration on bookbinding and letterpress printing with the International Printing Museum. On both days, attendees will also have the chance to screen print their own bags and t-shirts at the museum display table.
Panels on July 31 will include discussions on page-to-screen adaptations, print media and music criticism, as well as a demonstration on how to properly taste and prepare tea.
The seeds for the fair were planted in 2017 with the LARB Publishing Workshop, a summer training program for people interested in careers in publishing. Among the events was a day for local independent publishers, where Fellows were able to meet and interact with small presses in Los Angeles.
“There’s such a vibrant literary scene in Los Angeles, but like so many things in the city, it’s very diffuse,” said LARB executive director Irene Yoon. “And just seeing the energy around what can happen when you bring people together who do this really exciting work was really inspiring, so we decided we wanted to open it up to the public,” she said. added. “That was the genesis of LitLit.”
The inaugural fair in 2019 drew over 5,000 attendees from across the city and beyond and hosted local figures such as poets Vickie Vértiz and Yesika Salgado.
After more than two years of isolation, virtual events and pandemic uncertainty, Yoon is looking forward to reuniting in person again.
“There’s a lot of really exciting energy and really wonderful creative production going on,” she said, “and so if our exhibitors, panelists, readers and attendees can all get a sense of that, it would be really marvellous.”
For more information on the Little Literary Fair, visit litlit.org.