The L.A. Times Festival of Books was a lively and busy weekend. During both days of the festival, Kaya Press tabled at the Smoking Hot Indie Lounge with Gold Line Press, a small publishing press run by USC Creative Writing PhD students and alumni. As both presses sold their books, families with their children came to try out Kaya’s typewriters, make zines, and write collaborative poetry on canvasses.
On Saturday, Kaya read excerpts from one of its newest publications, Readymade Bodhisattva. The first South Korean sci-fi anthology published in translation, Readymade Bodhisattva was one of the more popular books sold during the festival. Later, during intern hour, Kaya interns got the chance to challenge festival patrons to games of Scrabble and arm wrestling. The day closed out with poetry readings from USC Creative Writing PhD students, along with drinks and snacks.
Brian Lin reads as part of USC Creative Writing program reading.
Then, on Sunday, Kaya hosted a postcard poetry event inspired by Sesshu Foster’s City of the Future, another bestselling festival book. Kaya intern and artist Gillian Romero also painted sumi ink portraits of festival patrons. Finally, fellow local literary groups Community Literature Initiative and World Stage Press came to hold a discussion on community publishing and African American literature. Both groups also performed a reading, featuring many powerful eulogies for the recently murdered L.A. activist, Nipsey Hussle.
More than just a booth for selling books and entertaining visitors, the Smoking Hot Indie Lounge was a chance for Kaya to socially engage with the local community and share a space with local writers. The festival was a chance for Kaya to reaffirm its L.A. roots, and provide an opportunity for others to do the same.
Sumi ink portraits by Kaya intern Gillian Romero.