Friday, September 10, 2010

L.A. Book Festivals Celebrate Latino Lit and Cultura

Festival de Flor y Canto - September 15 - 17 - University of Southern California

In 1973, USC hosted the first Festival de Flor y Canto (Festival of flower and song). This groundbreaking literary event, named after the Aztec word for poetry, featured dozens of emerging Mexican American writers addressing a broad range of themes— from personal stories to larger issues prominent in the Chicano
Movement. Many used the forum to comment on the duality of Latino heritage and the sense of pride and loss felt for the great indigenous civilizations of the past, especially in light of the discrimination they suffered chasing the elusive “American Dream.”

These poets and writers were in the vanguard of constructing a new Chicano and Latino literary tradition, defining and preserving their experiences within the dominant Anglo-American culture. The event spawned numerous Flor y Canto festivals and an abundance of new publications over the following years, as more and
more writers pushed deeper into explorations of Chicano identity.

El Centro Chicano played the lead role in organizing the event. The department was established the previous year on campus with the purpose of engaging Latino students in activities that celebrated their culture and history. This year, the USC Libraries—which hold recordings and publications from the early festival—reprise the Flor y Canto. The three-day event begins on Wednesday with a lineup featuring readings by many of the artists from the original festival and follows on Thursday and Friday with representatives from a new generation of voices working to expand the boundaries of self-expression.

The Flor y Canto festival, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Visions and Voices: The USC Arts and Humanities Initiative, with additional support from the USC Libraries, El Centro Chicano, the Latino Student Assembly, Chicano/a and Latino/a American Studies (CALAS), the Poetry Society of America, Letras Latinas, and Southwest Airlines.

The event was organized by Tyson Gaskill (USC Libraries), Barbara Robinson (USC Libraries), María-Elena Martínez (History and American Studies and Ethnicity), and Michael Sedano—who photographed the original 1973 festival for the Daily Trojan and provided the inspiration for reprising it in 2010. For further information, please call (213) 740-2070.

Latino Book& Family Festival - October 9 - 10 - Cal State University Los Angeles

Largest Gathering of Latino Authors in the Country

The Latino Book & Family Festival will be held on the weekend of October 9 and 10, 2010 at the Cal State University-Los Angeles campus (Greenlee Plaza). This year the festival will feature over 115 Latino authors, making it the largest gathering of Latino authors in the country! Authors include Victor Villaseñor, Sonia Nazario, Juan Felipe Herrera, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Josefina Lopez, Stella Pope Duarte, Reyna Grande, Sam Quiñones, Gustavo Arellano, Alex Espinoza, Luis J. Rodriguez, Rene Colato Lainez, Amada Irma Perez, Jose Luis Orozco, and Michele Serros, among many others.

There will be 36 panels/sessions on poetry, fiction, journalism, publishing, art, music, and dance, followed by a book signing. Families can enjoy the festivities at the main stage featuring singers, folklorico dances, music, and more. Children can enjoy the Children’s Area & Stage featuring arts & crafts, story-telling, and music.

There will be over 100 exhibitors, a food court, and a dinner reception “An Evening with the Authors” at the Golden Eagle Ballroom at CSULA, where you can dine with your favorite authors. The keynote will be delivered by Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries. The festival and panels are free to the public. The reception is $30.00 per person or $25.00 students, and it includes a buffet dinner. For more information visit www.LBFF.US, call 323 314 1330, or email Don’t miss out on this unique event, which is the largest gathering of Latino authors in history! Come celebrate the cultural and linguistic treasures of our Latino communities.

See you in El Lay!

Thought for the day, dedicated to book burners around the world:

[A]s good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
John Milton, Areopagitica


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