Sunday, March 21, 2010

Uncover the literary side of Los Angeles

To honor Los Angeles' literary contributions, this year's Silver Lake Jubilee Festival will host a Literary Village. Never been to one? Neither have I. So what can one expect? More than just books. More than just newspapers. More than just printed text on paper. (Pictured at left: David Shook, poet & curator of the Literary Village. Photo by Julie Towner of Crown Jules Photography) 

A tent where festival attendees passively engage with product would not do justice to what Los Angeles has produced for American literature. Instead, David Shook, a poet himself and curator of the Literary Village, along with festival organizers are planning what they hope to be a much more immersive experience. In addition to publishers having their material and printed works on display, writers and poets will read excerpts from their creations. Student works (including newspapers and short anthologies) from the 826la after school program will also be featured. There is also talk of a spontaneous literature project, which will be in collaboration with the Art Village, though no details were available at the time of this writing. However, David did hint that it would be an opportunity for festival-goers to contribute to LA's literary heritage.

Understandably, literature is not the first cultural component that comes to mind when someone mentions Los Angeles. It's tough to compete when you're in a city that's home to top sports, music and film talent...Hopefully, this can change.

"LA gets a bad rap on the national literary scene," states Shook, who speaks enthusiastically when it comes to LA's love for creating and consuming literature. He points to the brand new public library in Silver Lake, as well as its tradition of poets and noteworthy writers as some examples of why LA should be considered more seriously on the literary scene. "The diversity of readers reflects the diversity of LA." It also goes without saying that the diversity of talent is a reflection of LA's culture as well as history.

LA is home to several book publishers, such as Red Hen and Taschen. Many of today's brightest and daring talents are also LA-based. And on any given night, one can find writers and poets performing readings, or libraries hosting events and lectures throughout LA County. Through this Literary Village, people can gain a better appreciation of what LA has contributed to literary culture, and what it will continue to produce and offer.

For a taste of Silver Lake Jubilee's Literary Village line-up, don't miss the next Serenade Sunset on March 31, where poet Kate Durbin will read from her book, The Ravenous Audience (not recommended for youth).

This post is the second in a series of previews of the upcoming Silver Lake Jubilee Festival. For more on the Silver Lake Jubilee Festival, visit


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