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Reasons to book it to UCLA

It's the 12th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

by Naomi Pfefferman

April 26, 2007 | 8:00 pm

Political provocateur Gore Vidal, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, industrialist Lee Iacocca, fantasy maven Ray Bradbury, Los Angeles crime novelist Lee Ellroy and Israeli author A.B. Yehoshua. Add more than 700 additional authors, readings, performances and panels, and you get a sense of the scope of the 12th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books -- the largest event of its kind on the West Coast -- which will take place April 28 and 29 at UCLA.

At least 130,000 patrons are expected to check out the diverse fare, which will include discussions on subjects ranging from terrorism to true-crime novels; cheekily titled panels such as, "Food Fight: When Did Eating Get Controversial?"; and a ceremony honoring this year's Times Book Prizes nominees (finalists include Yehoshua for his "A Woman in Jerusalem," and Daniel Mendelsohn for "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million"). Here's a sampling of other events that may be of interest to people of the book:

Author: Peter Orner, book prize finalist
Panel: "Fiction: Jumping Off the Page"
Time: Noon, April 28
Orner -- who won the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction for his "Esther Stories" (2001) -- will discuss his new novel, "The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo," which draws on his own experience in Namibia in the early 1990s. The fictional story revolves around a Jewish teacher who falls in love with a beautiful, enigmatic veteran of the country's war with South Africa, set against the backdrop of a barren, semi-desert landscape.

Author: Jeffrey Goldberg, book prize finalist
Panel: "Current Interest: Profiles in Terror"
Time: 2 p.m., April 28
In his memoir, "Prisoners: A Muslim and a Jew Across the Middle East Divide," Goldberg -- a veteran of The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine -- chronicles his unusual relationship with a devout Muslim during his service as a military policeman in the Israeli Army in 1990.

Author: Lucinda Franks
Panel: "Memoir: Hidden Truths"
Time: 2:30 p.m., April 28
Franks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, explores her father's secret past in "My Father's Secret War"; which she began researching when she discovered a Nazi cap in a sealed box he had hidden.

Author: Neal Gabler, book prize finalist
Panel: "Biography: 20th Century Lives"
Time: 3:30 p.m., April 28
Gabler, who tackled Jewish movie moguls in "An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood," dissects another pop culture auteur in "Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination." The biography posits that Disney was as childlike, indefatigable and "pathologically optimistic" as Mickey Mouse, The Observer (England) noted.

Organization: Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles
Booth: No. 535, near Haines Hall
Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., April 29
Six featured authors will include Jewish origami expert Joel David Stern, Susan Goldman Rubin on a Jewish financier of the American Revolution ("Haym Solomon, American Patriot") and Rabbi Aaron Parry ("Idiot's Guide to Talmud/Holy Scripture").

Author: Nancy Silverton
Event: Cooking stage
Time: 2 p.m., April 29
Silverton -- one of Los Angeles' premiere chefs (and proprietor of the popular new restaurant Pizzeria Mozza) -- will demonstrate layman-friendly recipes from her new book, "A Twist of the Wrist: Quick Flavorful Meals With Ingredients from Jars, Cans, Bags, and Boxes."


For more festival information, visit www.latimes.com/festival of books.

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