WYLLISA BENNETT, publicist du jour


12th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair to Spotlight Southern Roots, Southern Comforts at Summertime Literary Event

LOS ANGELES – “Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the renowned Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) invites those who love reading, literature, learning and fun to the 12th annual on Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in LA. 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.


With a theme of “Celebrating Our Southern Roots,” this year, the bookfair will be held inside the mall to create a more intimate, “salon experience” of entertainment, instead of an outdoor festival. In keeping with its theme, key offerings of the book fair include a distinguished lecturer with southern roots; a panel discussion about the Great Migration of African Americans from southern states to the West; and a walking tour, mimicking the migration pattern of blacks, complimented by vintage, life-size pictures of migrators. Plus, the African American Genealogical Society and the Family History Center from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will host a genealogy station for attendees to search their ancestral roots.

In addition, southern comforts and a taste of the south will be offered, such as a gospel brunch as well as lemonade and sweet tea stations throughout the book fair. And of course, there will be some pie served – that is, cobbler samples, compliments of Shae Seward's Cobblemania. In addition, the book fair will unveil its  list of “20 Must-Read Books By Notable Southern Writers and Authors.” 


Plus, LPVBF will celebrate its 12th anniversary with interviews, booksignings, panel discussions, musical entertainment and a variety of activities for the whole family. 


For more about the Leimert Park Village Book Far, visit

The book fair is free and open to the public.



Her commitment to the book fair was acknowledged when she received public support from the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, LA Department of Cultural Affairs as well as sponsors, community organizations and enthused merchants in Leimert Park Village, including Eso Won Books, one of LA’s premier African American-owned bookstores.With the support of these partners and supporters, she built a high-quality cultural event, and the people came!


Now considered one of the premier literary events on the West Coast, the LPVFB continues to be free to the public with more than 150 authors, writers, storytellers, poets, spoken word performers, vendors and exhibitors. Enjoying unprecedented growth, in 2013, the book fair was re-located to the spacious Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza -- a beautiful historic venue, located in the Leimert Park area. 


For Exum, the impetus for the start of the book fair began as a tribute to her late grandmother who read the Bible daily and kept stacks of National Geographic magazines around the house – as well as to her late sister who regularly received books from Exum, while serving time at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).  “Having books in the home inspired a love of reading for me,” explained Exum. “As a child, by flipping the pages of a book, I could go anywhere in the world, and dream the dreams of the person I wanted to be.”


Exum has taken the book fair on the road this year, hosting two community reading programs in collaboration with the Los Angeles Public Library (the Washington Irving Branch), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the LA Department of Cultural Affairs. In memory of her sister, she plans to organize a pop-up book fair at a women’s prison to offer inmates not only a lifeline; but hopefully instill a love of learning through reading.  Perhaps, taking a cue from media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Exum eventually wants to expand her book fair and literacy programs internationally to Africa.



In the past ten 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; spoken word tour-de-force-Talaam Acey, award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay, 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 Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless”); Hill Harper (“CSI: NY”); Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes); Isaiah Washington (“Grey’s Anatomy”); film producer DeVon Franklin and his wife, actress Meagan Good; 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”); writer and reality star Demetria Lucas D’Oyley (“Blood, Sweat & Heels”); actress/comedienne Kim Coles (“Living Single”); 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 the Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (District 2), Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. (District 10), Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. (District 9), Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8) as well as The Gas Company - Sempra Energy, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and Capri Capital Partners of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw. Philanthropists and art historians Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey serve as the book fair’s honorary chairpersons, leading the fundraising efforts and increasing the book fair’s brand awareness in the corporate community.


The Kinseys are one of the most admired and respected couples in Los Angeles. They 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. 


Cynthia Exum, an alumnus of the prestigious California State Senate Fellows program, holds a Master of Arts from UCLA’s School of Urban Planning and Public Policy. She founded Exum and Associates, a public affairs and events management firm in 2005. Exum is also the co-author of “Images of America: Leimert Park,” with Maty Guiza-Leimert -- the wife of Walter H. Leimert, whose grandfather developed the area in 1927. 


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.  For more information, visit


With the backing of partners and supporters, Exum built a high-quality cultural event, and the people came!




Leimert Park Village Book Fair

Saturday, August 25, 2018

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Baldwin Hills Crenshaw (BHC), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in LA

The event is free and open to the public.


The Leimert Park Village Book Fair will feature interviews, booksignings, panel discussions, musical entertainment and a variety of activities for the whole family. 



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“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals”