The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.Veronique de Turenne is a published playwright, journalist, and essayist, and was the book critic for the NPR's news show Day to Day. She has written for Salon and Variety and wrote the L.A. Now blog for the Los Angeles Times. Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian-born Jesuit priest, became a fiction writer during his seminary days. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Say You're One of Them, which is a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in First Fiction. Thrity Umrigar, the author of four books, has written for national newspapers, including the Washington Post, and contributes regularly to the Boston Globe. She is an associate professor of English at Case Western University. Her latest novel is The Weight of Heaven. Luis Alberto Urrea's books include The Hummingbird's Daughter, The Devil's Highway, and most recently Into the Beautiful North. Urrea is a recipient of the American Book Award and several other honors.
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