*The fifth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) will take place in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Leimert Park on the Vision Theatre Back lot, located at 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard.

A mix of authors, scholars, poets, spoken-word artists, entertainment and television personalities will be on hand for the event, including EUR’s Lee Bailey conducting a Q&A with actor Todd Bridges and providing the introduction for special guest Sugar Ray Leonard.

More than 5,000 enthusiastic book lovers, families and fans will be treated to celebrity readings, book-signings, writing workshops, panel discussions, poetry readings, stage performances, and musical entertainment for the whole family – all encouraging reading, writing and literacy in the African American community.

Plus, in the Children’s Village, sponsored by Nestle USA, kids will enjoy a crafts pavilion, celebrity storytelling, face-painting, book give-aways and more. A Healthy Food culinary stage sponsored by the Gas Company will feature cooking demonstrations as well as an appearance by celebrity chef Govind Armstrong, the visionary behind the Table 8 restaurants in Los Angeles and Miami,

“We are pleased to welcome back this wonderful literary event,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, 8th District.  “Each year the fair continues to bring together great writers in the community, as well as attract some of the nation’s most pre-eminent and highly-regarded authors, poets, and spoken word artists — all for the celebration and love of books and reading.  And just like last year — this will be another great opportunity to meet some of your favorite authors as well as discover new ones.”

Below is the lineup:


The Intelligentsia

•         In the Spirit With Susan L. Taylor – Taylor’s name is synonymous with Essence magazine, the brand she built — first, as its fashion and beauty editor to editor-in-chief in 1981 and the  publications director in 2000,  a position she held until her departure in 2008.  As editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Taylor penned a monthly inspirational column called, In the Spirit, a popular feature of the magazine.  In 1993, a collection of her columns was published for her first book, In the Spirit. Today, she is the force behind the National Cares Mentoring Movement, a mentoring movement to recruit one million able adults to help secure African American children who are in peril and losing ground.

•         Dr. Julianne Malveaux – Dr. Malveaux is the 15th president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC. Recognized for her progressive and insightful observations, Dr. Malveaux is also an economist, author and commentator, and has been described by Dr. Cornel West as “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.” Her contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender, and its economic impacts, are shaping public opinion in 21st century America. She is the author of “Striving and Surviving: 365 Days in Black Economic History” (Last Word Productions).

•         Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley – Dr. Kelley is the newly-appointed Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His books include the prize-winning, “Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original,” “Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression,” and “Race Rebels: Culture Politics and the Black Working Class.”  For his most recent book, “Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original” (Free Press), Kelley received several honors, including Best Book on Jazz from the Jazz Journalists Association and the Ambassador Award for Book of Special Distinction from the English Speaking Union. It was a finalist for PEN USA Literary Award. The Monk family, notably Thelonious Monk Jr., granted Kelley access to rare historical documents for his biography. No other scholar has ever had such access and support from the Monk family.

•             Dr. Maulana Karenga –Dr. Maulana Karenga is professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach. An activist-scholar of national and international recognition, Dr. Karenga has played a major role in Black intellectual and political culture since the 60’s, especially in Black Studies and social movements, and as executive director of the African American Cultural Center (Us) and Kawaida Institute of Pan-African Studies. Also, he is the creator of the pan-African cultural holiday Kwanzaa and author of numerous scholarly articles and books, including: “Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture;” “Introduction to Black Studies;”  “Odu Ifa: The Ethical Teachings;” “Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics,” and “Kawaida and Questions of Life and Struggle.” Currently he is writing a book on the social and ethical philosophy of Malcolm X titled, “The Liberation Ethics of Malcolm X: Consciousness, Cultural Grounding and Struggle.”


•         The Kinseys – Married for more than 40 years, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey are known for their incredible collection of African-American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the remarkable story of African Americans triumphs and struggles from 1632 to the present. They are the authors of “The Kinsey Collection,” a 155-page coffee-table book that showcases the couple’s incredible art collection, reflecting a rich cultural and historical heritage.

…and the Pulitzers

•         Isabel Wilkerson – Wilkerson is a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer who is currently professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University. Her first book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration (Random House) is the first major work to chronicle the Great Migration and its aftermath on a national scale, over the course of nearly a century. As the Chicago bureau chief at The New York Times, she won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her pieces on the rural heartache of the Midwest floods and her profile of a ten–year–old boy growing up with a man’s obligations on the South Side of Chicago. She was the first black woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first black American to win for individual reporting.

•             Douglas A. Blackmon – A journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Blackmon nabbed a Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category for his book, “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” (Doubleday), a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity. He calls it the “age of neo-slavery.”

The Crowd Pleasers:

•         For the Single Ladies — As a popular, award-winning blogger, life coach and editor for Essence magazine, Lucas has seen it all regarding dating and love —as both a relationship chronicler and as a professional woman navigating the waters of singlehood in New York City.  Recently named one of Essence.com’s “40 Fierce & Fab Under 40,” Lucas is the go-to girl for the what-to-dos and the what-not-to-dos in relationships. She is the author of  “A Belle In Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria Books).

•             Catching Up With Todd Bridges — The former child star—best known as Willis Jackson on Diff’rent Strokes — shares the shocking but inspirational details of his struggles with addiction, brushes with the law, and fierce fight to carve a path through the darkness and find his true identity in his memoir “Killing Willis:  From Diff’rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted ” (Touchstone). One of the first African-American child actors on shows like “Little House on the Prairie,” “The Waltons”, and “Roots,” Bridges burst to the national forefront on the hit sitcom Diff’rent Strokes as the subject of the popular catchphrase, “What’chu Talkin About Willis?”

•             Russ Parr – Parr is a nationally-syndicated radio host heard weekdays by 3.2 million listeners in 45 cities across America. And he’s no stranger to LA. Back in the day, he held a stint as a former radio host on 1580 KDAY, which is now 93.5 KDAY. Today, he is also a writer and director for several films, including his latest, “35 & Ticking,” that will open at the new Rave Theatre on July 1. Having tackled every aspect of the entertainment industry, Parr certainly has some stories to tell. He chronicles his experiences in the industry in a new self-help book titled “The Game Behind the Game: Mastering the Art of Bullshit” (Farrah Gray Publishing, Inc.).

•         Govind Armstrong – Raised in both Los Angeles and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, chef Armstrong brings diverse talent to the table. He has trained with some of the most renowned chefs, including Wolfgang Puck in the original Spago and the Arzak restaurant, which is the pre-eminent Michelin three-star establishment in San Sebastian, Spain. Armstrong is a media darling in the culinary arts with guest appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He’s the author of “Small Bites, Big Nights: Seductive Little Plates for Intimate Occasions and Lavish Parties” (Crown Publishing Group).

A special appearance by …

•        Sugar Ray Leonard — was a National Golden Gloves champion in 1973 and 1974 and won a gold medal for the United States in the 1976 Olympics. Leonard won several world titles as a professional boxer before retiring for the last time in 1997. He is an inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. His book, “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring,” is a brutally- honest and uplifting memoir, revealing intimate details for of the complex man behind the boxer. The Olympic hero, multi-championship winner, and beloved athlete waged his own personal battle with depression, rage, addiction, and greed. Along with a special appearance on the mainstage, the boxing legend will be signing his books at Eso Won bookstore.

CHILDREN’S VILLAGE | Children’s Main Stage

Actress Karyn Parsons, known for her role as Hilary Banks  on the NBC hit series, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” will entertain the little ones as one of the celebrity readers on the Children’s mainstage.  Parsons founded Sweet Blackberry, a non-profit educational organization that shares inspirational stories to children about African-American achievements.