LA Times Festival of Books

I spent last weekend at LA Times Festival of Books, University of Southern California, doing a panel with some great writers, a couple of signings and seeing amazing kids’ and YA authors speak. Here are some pics and a few words, sharing my highlights of the fest, including Judy Blume, John Green, Dame Julie Andrews, Jeff Kinney, Libba Bray, Pete Hautman, John Scalzi, Ransom Riggs and this year’s Newbery-winner Jack Gantos.

Me with Kris from Once Upon a Time Bookstore who teamed with Simon & Schuster to sell our books at the fest, and middle-grade author Shawn Thomas Odyssey who wowed the crowd on the kids’ stage, bringing his book, The Wizard of Dark Street alive with hip-hop, dancing and magic.

Highlights of the fest for me were:

Judy Blume in the Bovard auditorium (the building pictured above). Here are a couple of tweets from the session:

* ‘Wow. I’m watching  talking Superfudge & Sheila the Great . A childhood author-hero of mine 

* ‘If you want your child to read a particular book, tell them they’re not old enough for it yet.’ –  

John Green in conversation with Lev Grossman was also fantastic in the Bovard. He is an intelligent and generous man and you could feel the strength of the support  that he has built over the past few years through his books, Youtube, and Nerdfighters. If you don’t know Green’s books, check them out. Here is a tweeted highlight:

* ‘2 Writing Tips From John Green   : 1. Read really broadly across genres. 2. In editing, kill what you love’

Jeff Kinney (Wimpy Kid) on the Children’s Stage

My tweet from the Kinney session:

* ‘Jeff Kinney says he wasn’t a great cartoonist. He started drawing like a kid so people would think he drew that way on purpose.

The crowd at the children’s stage.

Me with my fellow panellists, YA authors Cecil Castellucci (Canadian), Abby MacDonald (British) and Aaron Karo (Rhymes with J-Lo. The lone American). We had a funny discussion on Humour and Hormones on the YA Stage. Lots of laughs and an appreciative audience under a perfect So-Cal blue sky.
The most comprehensively yarn-bombed post I have ever seen.
Dame Julie Andrews on the children’s stage.

Tweet from Julie Andrews session:
* ‘Julie Andrews rockin the house   – anecdotes on Walt Disney & the challenges of spinning around in a field on a mountain-top with helicopter overhead.

A couple of other writing tips and thoughts I tweeted during the fest:
* ‘World-Building: John  warns not to let the World of your fiction overwhelm the story. 

‘The hive mind is in ascendance.’- Pete Hautman. 

* ‘Inspiring moment : Audience member ‘s parents had 3rd grade education. She says ‘s books inspired her [and her sister] to go to college.

I wound down from the fest in style with my favourite ice cream on the planet: Ben & Jerry’s New York Super-Fudge Chunk. 

Very soon I’ll blog the rest of my LA tour.



  1. April 26, 2012 / 7:31 am

    Wow, Tristan – looks amazing! Sounds like you're having a blast. Enjoy the rest of your trip (or maybe you already have?), and can't wait to hear all about it x

  2. April 26, 2012 / 11:20 pm

    Thanks KathBatt. How is Squish going out there in that Rabbit-eat-Rabbit world? Hope the words are flowing sweetly. T

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