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L.A. Times Festival of Books to move to USC

September 22, 2010 | 12:54 pm

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books will move its weekend-long celebration of the written word to the USC campus next spring after 15 years across town at UCLA, officials announced Wednesday.

The change of venue to USC's main University Park campus south of downtown Los Angeles will offer a more central location, better access to public transportation, easier parking and the use of newly expanded university facilities for the annual event, leaders of the newspaper and USC said.

The 16th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is scheduled for April 30 and May 1, 2011. It will feature the traditional array of talks by authors, book signings, musical performances and sales booths that have made the festival a major event in the city's cultural life and the nation's largest public literary festival. Last year, an estimated 140,000 people attended the event at UCLA's campus in Westwood.

"After 15 years on the Westside, we are very excited to move the Festival of Books to its beautiful new home and have the opportunity to work hand in hand with USC to ensure we grow bigger and better in the future," Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein said in a statement. "Attendees and exhibitors can expect more to see, do and experience in addition to great access and a refreshing change of scenery."

USC President C.L. Max Nikias said he was delighted to provide the festival a new home.

"The festival is a great fit for our world-class faculty authors and writing programs, as well as for our literacy work in the community," Nikias said. "USC and the Los Angeles Times are two of the oldest institutions in Los Angeles, and it's fitting that we would be joining together for this event that is so important to the intellectual life of Southern California."

Their agreement is for three years with an expectation for long-term renewals after that. Details of financial arrangements between the newspaper and USC regarding the festival are not being publicly released, spokespeople for both parties said. Times spokeswoman Nancy Sullivan also declined to say whether there had been negotiations with UCLA aimed at keeping the festival at that school.

UCLA is a larger campus, but USC spokesman James Grant said USC had plenty of room for the festival's many outdoor activities and indoor seminars and lectures. He said he expected the festival to be anchored at the campus lawns and plazas known as Alumni Park and McCarthy Quad, which are near Doheny Memorial Library and Leavey Library.

-- Larry Gordon

Photo: C.L. Max Nikias, left, president of USC, and Eddy Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, on the USC University Park campus. Credit: Steve Cohn / For The Times