The two-day, 15th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins Saturday at UCLA, with nearly 100 panel discussions and readings featuring more than 400 authors along with hundreds of exhibitors representing booksellers, publishers and literacy and cultural organizations.
There will be seven outdoor stages featuring celebrity and author readings, book signings, question and answer sessions, live music, comedy, children's activities, cooking shows and culinary demonstrations.
An addition to this year's festival is the YA Stage, which will include appearances by such prominent young adult genre authors as Meg Cabot and Kate DiCamillo.
The Target Children's Stage combines performances, readings and book signings. Henry Winkler, Carl Reiner, Bernadette Peters, Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Peter Yarrow and R.L. Stine are scheduled to appear Saturday. Actress Holly Robinson Peete is scheduled to appear on the stage Sunday.
The popular children's groups Nickelodeon's The Fresh Beat Band, Hip Hop Harry, Justin Roberts & the Not Ready for Naptime Players will perform on the stage Saturday and Sunday.
The Cooking Stage will feature appearances by celebrity cookbook authors Alicia Silverstone (Saturday) and Trisha Yearwood (Sunday), the renowned chef Alice Waters (Sunday) and "Top Chef" contestants Betty Fraser, Chris "CJ" Jacobsen, Antonio Lofaso and Stefan Richter (Saturday). All but Silverstone will conduct cooking demonstrations.
Also set to appear Saturday are Carol Burnett, Louis Gossett Jr., Todd Bridges, Amber Tamblyn, Melissa Rivers and The Watson Twins.
Buzz Aldrin, Sarah Silverman and Daisy Fuentes are scheduled to discuss their books Sunday.
The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Parking is $10, while parking for the disabled is $3. Free shuttle bus service will be provided from outlying UCLA lots to the main festival entrances.
Between 130,000 and 140,000 people are expected for what organizers bill as North America's largest public literary festival.
More information is available online at latimesfestivalofbooks.com or by calling 800-LATIMES, ext. 7BOOK.