June 27, 2019
Los Angeles shows off its literary plumage with a new book fair
by Michael Barron
Watch out, New York. Los Angeles is once again stepping on your literary dominance.
According to the Los Angeles Times‘s Michael Schaub, the esteemed literary journal Los Angeles Review of Book and the publishing wing of the distinguished art gallery Hauser & Wirth are joining forces to launch LitLit, a catchy diminutive for the inaugural Little Literary Fair. A celebration of LA’s vibrant small press scene, LitLit will bring together more than 20 West Coast-based exhibitors over the July 20-21 weekend.
Schaub notes that a press release issued by the organizers promises to “feature interviews and panel discussions focusing on ‘themes such as activism, art, and absurdity.'”
Though the site for the fair has yet to release a programming schedule, the list of publishers and organizations involved has grown to include several laudatory names. Among them are the presses Two Lines, Inventory, and Rare Bird, along with the Los Angeles Public Library and the LARB / USC Writing Workshop.
“The small press world of Los Angeles is exploding,” Schaub quotes LARB founder Tom Lutz as saying. “At least half the small presses that are in the fair have been born in the last decade. It is part of L.A., which had always been home to great writers, really coming into its own as a literary city.”
With an increasing number of authors and publishers calling the southern California city home (including Melville House authors Marci Vogel, Ellen O’Connell Whittet, and Jonathan Lethem), along with more established festivals such as the L.A. Times Festival of Books and the Los Angeles Book Art Fair, LitLit is another viable challenge the City of Angels is making to the Big Apple’s claim as America’s literary capital.
If that’s the way the pages are collating, perhaps a Melville House west coast office may be in order.
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.