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Union-Tribune, KPBS Launch San Diego Festival Of Books

A poster for the San Diego Festival of Books.

Credit: San Diego Festival of Books

Above: A poster for the San Diego Festival of Books.

Union-Tribune, KPBS Launch San Diego Festival of Books

GUESTS:

Britt Nevetsky, new business development director, The San Diego Union-Tribune

John Wilkens, reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Transcript

San Diego book lovers have a reason to celebrate this weekend. The San Diego Union-Tribune and KPBS are launching the San Diego Festival of Books, a daylong event featuring dozens of local authors talking about their craft.

The festival is modeled after similar events organized by The Union-Tribune’s sister papers: The Los Angeles Times’ Festival of Books and The Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Lit Fest.

San Diego’s festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Station. Panels will cover topics from mystery writing to "fake news," and a children’s pavilion will have a series of storytellers throughout the day. The festival is free, but tickets to panels cost $3 each.

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The Los Angeles Festival of Books is one of the largest in the country, drawing about 150,000 attendees. It attracted about 40,000 its first year. Union-Tribune new business development director Britt Nevetsky said she is expecting between 2,000 and 10,000 people at the San Diego festival.

“I already feel it’s a success,” she said. “The excitement we’re hearing in the community, the support we’ve gotten from everybody on our panels, the bookstores that have helped and ordered books for the signings, it’s really been overwhelming.”

CityBeat columnist Aaryn Belfer criticized the panel lineups last week, writing the festival was “having its Oscar-esque moment. That is, #bookfestivalsowhite.”

Nevetsky said the lack of authors of color came up during planning discussions, but maintained that the organizers reached out to a diverse list of authors.

“We wanted to keep the author base local and we reached out to hundreds of local authors and some said they couldn’t be there and some didn’t respond,” she said. “Next year, I think we’re going to see a big difference in people wanting to partake in it.”

Nevetsky joins KPBS Midday Edition along with Union-Tribune book columnist John Wilkens on Thursday to discuss this weekend festival.

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