Reading Up On Bookfest

4cfb4826839b11e2bb0f22000a1fbc94_7  Grand Park’s Downtown Bookfest, 2013. Photo by Javier Guillen.  

“I hope you’re still writing.”

Writing is like wrestling a beast every day and knowing you will never win. No matter what the form, be it poetry, plays, or prose, it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to carve out a voice as a writer. Writers usually have to work alone at first then send out the work to the public space, which is not always easy.

I’m inspired every time I meet someone new who has garnered his or her livelihood using the written word. I’m twice as inspired by those who have not used writing as their source of income and continue to lay down the pen for no other reason than this:

Something deep inside compels them to communicate.

When I was given the opportunity of writing and curating the content for Grand Park’s blog, I got really excited.

I recently sent a letter to a mentor of mine telling her about the different projects I was working on at the time. She was glad to hear from me, (it had been a while,) and sent me a note, “I hope you’re still writing.”

Half the battle for new writers is just to find the time and space to sit down and churn out the work.

The other half is getting your voice heard.

So when I heard that Grand Park was having a Downtown Bookfest, presenting Los Angeles based publishers, authors, non-profits, arts organizations and performance groups, I was ecstatic! The participants of Bookfest are all devoted to cultivating literary excitement and accessibility for Angelenos.

So, what kinds of activities am I going to find at Bookfest? The list seems endless:

picstitchPhotos via 826LA.

Patrons of bookfest can add a line of genius to The World’s Longest Story by 826LA, a non-profit organization dedicated to “supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.”

1521999_655016174541489_655725566_nAbram Gomez delivering a Poem On Demand at Poesia Para La Gente in Pershing Square.

You can receive your very own poem-on-demand by Poesia Para La Gente! How cool is that?!

1782544_607606162651133_1197713924_oZinefest 2014.

Shop the local pop-up bookshop and discover books, zines and literary gems written by L.A.’s finest!

56283_543812195634896_938558363_oVia Story Pirates.

Onstage you can catch Story Pirates, a one-of-a-kind sketch comedy musical based entirely on stories by children, including those written by Grand Park kids.

Grand Park Pop Up Parks from Grand Park on Vimeo.

Bring your books for Grand Park’s wee library system – the Little Libraries. Find’em, fill’em, love’em! In anticipation of Bookfest, our Little Libraries were taken for a walk around Downtown (Ace Hotel Downtown Los AngelesHandsome Coffee, and Grand Central Market). Check out the video above!

Excited yet? Well, that’s not even the half of it: the list goes on!


When trying to wrap my head around the amount of activities, independent publishers, artists, writers, readers, performers, and fellow super nerds I would see at Bookfest, I wanted to get some perspective. I reached out to Chiwan Choi of Writ Large Press to talk shop about the written word, literary accessibility, and a project being activated in the park: PUBLISH!: You Can To.

858752_486259148098585_1589722658_oChiwan Choi at Bookfest 2013. Photo by Jason Gutierrez. 

Here’s a little of what he had to say:

MC: So tell me more about PUBLISH!: You Can Too. Can you break down what patrons of Bookfest can expect to experience?

CC: At the Bookfest, we will have multiple typewriters set up. We will also have a writing prompt or two. We will ask patrons to sit down and write to the prompt for 3 minutes.

Once that’s done, we’ll invite everyone to come back at set intervals, where they will then change hats and become the editors, as each person selects a handful of different writings from the day (including their own if they choose), then change hats again by becoming the publisher and assembling the books that are called “You Can Too”.

We will have book covers made. The books will be blurbed. And each book that each person makes will get an official Writ Large Press and Kaya Press stamp of approval, making it an official publication.

MC: Do you think placing the project in Grand Park will affect the writing?

CC: Of course. Physical space always affects writing. The weather. The noise. The size of the crowd. It will all have an impact.

MC: Can we expect to see more literature centric events in public spaces around Los Angeles?

CC: Yes. Definitely. That is one of the driving passions for Writ Large Press. To turn the entire city into a literary playground. We have a few things brewing that are incredibly challenging and exciting. Keep an eye out.

We’ll be on the look out!

You can experience PUBLISH!: You Can To and so much more at Grand Park’s Downtown Bookfest tomorrow, March 29th from 12-5pm. #homegrownlit Click here for more info!

– Mitchell Colley, Grand Park’s resident super nerd.