WYLLISA BENNETT, publicist du jour


Emmy-winning Actor Glynn Turman to be Honored With Legacy Award for His Work in TV, Film and Stage

(LOS ANGELES) – After attracting more than 100,000 attendees as well as hundreds of authors, poets, artists and community leaders over the past 10 years, the 11th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) is set to kick off on Saturday, August 19, 2017 in Los Angeles. The book fair will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the outdoor promenade of the historic Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHC), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The family-oriented event is held in the heart of Leimert Park, which is considered the center of the African American arts/intellectual scene in LA. This year, the book fair welcomes actress, comedienne, and best-selling author Kim Coles (“Living Single”) -- the author of “Open Your G.I.F.T.S -- as its 2017 book fair ambassador!

This year's theme of “The Great Outdoors," recognizes the benefits of enjoying activities, such as walking, running, camping, hiking and surfing, and taking advantage of Southern California’s beautiful weather. Also by enjoying the Great Outdoors, it’s consistent with fostering a healthy lifestyle with so many benefits, such as raising Vitamin D levels with exposure to the sunlight, maintaining physical fitness, improving concentration, accelerating natural healing and speedy recovery time and most importantly, fueling the mind, body and soul.

In celebration of “The Great Outdoors,” the book fair is planning a plethora of activities, programming and interactive exhibits designed with everyone in mind. “In collaboration with our festival partners like the National Parks Association, Gateway to Nature Center -- LA and Adventure 16, we are bringing exhibits on hiking, rock climbing, camping, etc. We also have special exhibits on the Buffalo Soldiers and the black township of Allensworth, Calif., which highlights contributions of African Americans to the history of the Old West as well as strides made in outer space exploration,” said Cynthia E. Exum, executive director of LPVBF. “We are also very proud to honor American television, stage and Emmy-winning actor Glynn Turman with a Legacy Award because not only is he an all around great actor, but he’s also a real cowboy, and lover of ‘The Great Outdoors,’” she added. Entertainment tv personality, Kevin Frazier, co-host of “Entertainment Tonight” will conduct a Q & A with Turman and present him with the Legacy Award.

A family-oriented event, the LPVBF has something for everyone. Attendees will enjoy celebrity sightings, speakers, author talks, poets, storytellers as well as book-signings from your favorite fiction and non-fiction authors – and several publishing and writing panels, coordinated by the Los Angeles Review of Books. And new this year is a travel and wellness stage, featuring celebrity chef Darrell ‘Das’ Smith. The day’s festivities will end with a centennial celebration of American treasure and jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald with special musical performances by jazz greats Eloise Laws, Elaine Gibbs, Nicole “The Velvet Voice” Simms, and the Harold Land, Jr. Quartet.

“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the LPVBF has become a much-anticipated cultural tradition in the community. It provides authors an opportunity to promote their newest work as well as meet some of their fans up close and personal. Book fair attendees will get a chance to meet some of LA’s favorite and best-selling authors like Pamela Samuels Young, Gary Phillips, Tananarive Due, and Steven Barnes, as well as 2010 CNN Hero Susan Burton, the founder of A New Way of Life and author of "Becoming Ms. Burton," plus Jodi Baker, the YA writer of the “Between Lions” series, which New York Times calls “ … definitely the YA series to follow.” Child actress Nay Nay Kirby, the ambassador of the children’s village, will introduce celebrity readers, such as actor Sheldon Bailey of Nickelodeon’s “Game Shakers” and former LA Dodger Dennis Powell who will stop by the village to read stories and other children’s literature to the kids.

The LPVBF has humble beginnings. Exum, a book lover, was looking for a way to honor both her community and the woman who encouraged her to read – that is, her beloved grandmother, Nellie Mary Horne. Exum invested her own money, and that of a few friends for the launch of the book fair in 2007. Today, the LPVBF has become one of the nation’s best gathering of authors, scholars, entertainers and educators in the heart of the African American cultural district of Los Angeles ever since. The mission of the LPVBF has remained steadfast: to encourage, promote, and advocate literacy, education and learning throughout the Los Angeles area.

Sponsors of the 2017 LPVBF include, City National Bank, Sempra Energy/The Gas Company, Loyola Marymount University, ABC7-TV, KLCS-TV (PBS), philanthropists Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Los Angeles and Capri Capital Partners/Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

“And on the occasion of our 70th anniversary celebration, we are pleased to continue and support this important literary event in our community and host it here at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza,” said Rachel Freeman, general manager of BHC.

For more information about LPVBF, visit

Snapshot of Past Participants | 2007 to present

In the past 10 years, LPVBF has had an incredible lineup of authors, poets, celebrity authors, speakers and artists, including Pulitzer Prize winners Isabel Wilkerson and Douglas A. Blackmon; prominent literary figure Ishmael Reed; New York Times best selling authors Eric Jerome Dickey and Zane; author Tananarive Due and novelist/screenwriter Steve Barnes; novelist/screenwriter/producer Attica Locke; author Pamela Samuels Young; poet/activist Nikki Giovanni and poet/playwright Sonia Sanchez; author and Essence magazine Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Susan L. Taylor; White House correspondent and political commentator April Ryan; economist and political commentator Julianne Malveaux; award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, author and producer of the Fox hit series “Empire”, Attica Locke world-renowned visual artists Charles Bibbs, Synthia Saint James and Varnette P. Honeywood -- just to name a few.

Names from the entertainment world – that is, actors/entertainers-turned authors include Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr.; along with award-winning actors); Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”); Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Dreamgirls”); Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”); film producer DeVon Franklin and his wife, actress Meagan Good (“Think Like A Man”); Emmy-nominated music director Rickey Minor ("American Idol" and band leader of the "Tonight Show"); reality star NeNe Leakes ("Real Housewives of Atlanta”); reality star and restaurateur Miss Robbie (“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s”); playwright/author Donald B. Welch; and actress/children’s author Kim Wayans and Grammy-winning recording artist Bobby Brown -- just to name a few.


The LPVBF is produced by Exum and Associates in collaboration with Supervisor Mark Ridley- Thomas, District 2; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; City of Los Angeles and Capri Capital Partners of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall. Philanthropists and community leaders Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey serve as the book fair’s chairpersons, leading the fund-raising efforts and facilitating in increasing the book fair’s brand awareness among the corporate community. The Kinseys are known for their collection of African-American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the remarkable story of African Americans triumphs and struggles from 1632 to the present. The Kinsey Collection: “Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey” has been on a national tour and seen by millions.

The mission of LPVBF is to promote, encourage and advocate literacy, education and the love of reading throughout the Greater Los Angeles areas. LPVBF is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to producing year-round educational programming, as well as to the presentation of events in collaboration with our partners, in addition to the annual summer fair for which the organization is named.


Baldwin Hills Crenshaw (BHC) is an 870,000-square-foot retail destination located at the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Los Angeles, California. Anchored by Macy’s and Sears, with over 100 specialty stores, state-of-the-art cinemas and dining options, BHC has long been recognized as the hub of the surrounding communities. From a signature concert series, monthly Kids Club and a weekly Farmers’ Market to the many public services offered at the center, it is clear that BHC is more than just a place to shop, it’s a central gathering place for the local community. BHC is entrenched in the local lifestyle, and is committed to making this neighborhood an even better place to live, work, shop and just BE! BHC partners with several leading community partners to support a variety of events throughout the year, and continue to support programming that reflects the history and interests of its local residents.