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.Ella Taylor, a former film critic for LA Weekly, is currently a freelance critic. Taylor is the author of the book Prime-Time Families: Television Culture in Post-War America.Gary Foster is the producer of The Soloist and has produced such popular films as Short Circuit, Sleepless in Seattle, Tin Cup, and Ghostrider. Currently, Foster is partnered with former head of Sony Television Russ Krasnoff. Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment develops feature films and television programs.Ben Hong, a cellist, joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at age 24, making him the youngest member of the orchestra at that time. Born in Taiwan, Hong won his native country's National Cello Competition three years in a row before leaving home for the Juilliard School. Hong trained several members of the cast of the The Soloist and is featured on the film's soundtrack.Steve Lopez is a columnist at the Los Angeles Times who writes on life and culture in California. He is the author of In the Clear, and his latest work, The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music, is now a major motion picture.
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