Toni Morrison wrote
“Books are a form of political action.
Books are knowledge.
Books are reflection.
Books change your mind.”

Established in 2012, LitFest Pasadena is the free community literary festival best known for its focus on writers  the power of the written word, and how literature manifests change in our world, our communities and ourselves. Some books do this head-on. Some explore how we handle change. Others can unsettle and challenge us by presenting a new or unfamiliar point of view.

LitFest Pasadena’s 2023 Theme

Books That Make a Difference

gives participants an opportunity to explore the power of the written word as they discuss their own work and the great books that have influenced them.

Books that have changed the world
Books that have changed my community
Books that have changed me

Join us for the 11th Annual LitFest Pasadena

May 6 & 7, 2023
Saturday and Sunday

Come hear over 150 authors, poets, and publishers for panel discussions that challenge and stimulate, readings that move and delight, workshops that inform and inspire, and interactive literary experiences.

Food Trucks ~ Author Signings ~ Books for Sale


LitFest Pasadena is free to the public.

The location will be announced shortly.

Details on programming and schedule to come.

Internationally bestselling authors Michael Connelly & Greg Hurwitz in conversation at LitFest Pasadena, Mountain View Mausoleum, April 30, 2022.

Litfest Pasadena is produced by Light Bringer Project, a nonprofit arts organization serving Pasadena and greater Los Angeles with arts education programming and events for people of all ages over the last 30 years.

LitFest Pasadena was founded by author and educator Jervey Tervalon, the late Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic; and Larry Wilson, the Pasadena Star-News public editor.

LitFest Pasadena co-founder Jervey Tervalon, Joe Loya, Luis Rodriguez, and Jasmine Williams during panel discussions at LitFest Pasadena, the Altadena Library, May 11, 2022.

LitFest Pasadena is headed by
a diverse steering committee,
which consists of local authors,
educators, publishers, readers,
and community arts supporters.

to everyone who submitted their proposals
for panel discussions, readings, workshops, and literary experiences
for LitFest Pasadena 2023.

Community participation
is the essence of LitFest.



The 10th Anniversary of LitFest Pasadena 2022 embraces a dynamic new format, expanding locations as well as returning to known favorites. LitFest Pasadena brings acclaimed authors and new voices together to engage in a variety of powerful and inspiring literary and social conversations.

This year’s in-person event is, as always, free to the public and no registration is required.

Find the program and schedule HERE

LitFest Pasadena 2022


Vroman’s Bookstore
Pasadena Presbyterian Church

• • •

Vroman Upstairs – books for sale!
3:00pm – 8:00pm


Books for Sale!
Courtesy of
Once Upon a Time
The Ripped Bodice

First events
1:30pm – 2:30pm

3:00pm – 4:00pm

4:30pm – 5:30pm


2:00pm – 6:30pm


Saturday and Sunday
May 15 and 16, 2021
Noon to 6:00 p.m.

• If the live stream below is not working, refresh your page and click the “play” arrow.
• If it is still not working, watch on our YouTube channel, by clicking here.

On Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, noon to 6:00 p.m.,
LitFest Pasadena will livestream (12) 50-minute panel discussions
as well as 10-minute interludes between each panel with pre-recorded readings and short films.

LitFest Pasadena 2021 programming will be accessible for FREE, public VIEWING at these locations:

the LitFest Pasadena Facebook main page,
the LitFest FB event page,
the event producer – Light Bringer Project’s YouTube channel,
and this website.

No registration is required. Just show up!

Check out the 2021 LITFEST PASADENA

10 minutes before the top of every hour
Saturday and Sunday, May 15/16
12:50, 1:50, 2:50, 3:50, 4:50, 5:50

Support LitFest authors!
Find their LitFest event
and book links on the
Authors & Speakers” page

Panel discussions run the range of social justice, cultural equity, race relations, and author activists; inclusivity in graphic novels, writing the SoCal experience, writing complicated families, speculative fiction, true crime, podcasting and 2020, Middle Grade authors, the “new unionism,” publishing and publishers, and foodie LA.

The 10-minute interludes include pre-recorded mini interviews and “in conversation” segments; poetry readings from traditional LitFest locations as well as from unusual places; and literary, sci fi, and Locavore Lit LA readings.

Check out the 2021 LITFEST PASADENA


SATURDAY, MAY 15 AT 3:50pm



September 2020

LitFest Artistic Director Jervey Tervalon has been asking Black authors to speak about owner Blanche Richardson and her Marcus Book Stores in Oakland, California – the oldest independent Black bookstore in the country with only books by and about Black people. Here’s Yolanda Smith speaking to to why this bookstore is so vital and important to her…



Science Fiction writers!

Updated details regarding the Tomorrow Prize for LA County high school students, as well as the Roswell Award for science fiction-writing adults the world over…



Submissions are now
for LitFest Pasadena 2020


Thank you to everyone
who submitted proposals!



Presented at venues throughout the
beautiful and historic Playhouse District
LitFest Pasadena is coming…

May 16-17, 2020

Offering panels, readings,
workshops, and performances
that engage and instruct, question and discuss, stimulate and inspire.

And, it’s all free!

Janet Fitch “In Conversation” with Lisa See and Nina Revoyr; Brian Biery photo.


LitFest Pasadena
is committed to highlighting local authors,
poets, and publishers
– though everyone is welcome! –
and to featuring events that mirror
our community’s diversity and depth.

Soon we’ll be
putting out the call for proposals,
so start mulling over submission ideas!

More details to come!


Poets in Distress; photo by Rene Bender.


LitFest Pasadena is presented by
Light Bringer Project
and sponsored by…



Scenes & Words from the
2019 LitFest Pasadena Weekend!

Unless otherwise noted, all photos are thanks to LitFest Pasadena official photographer Brian Biery.


Photo by Tori Eldridge









I spent an invigorating weekend at LitFest Pasadena soaking in the rich L.A. writing community, and picked up these book gems from Lisa See, Nina Revoyr and Kate Jonez. Had a blast watching crime fiction writers Gary Phillips, Steph Cha, Tod Goldberg, Joe Ide, and Paddy Hirsch answer hilarious questions by Naomi Hirahara at Vroman’s Bookstore. Hung out (and ate!) at The Stand while listening to Noir at the Bar readings from Ryan Gattis, Sarah M. Chen, and hosts Eric Beetner and Steve W. Lauden. Then came back the next day for HWA friends Lisa Morton, Kathryn E. McGee, and Kate Maruyama.…. What a weekend! Feeling very grateful to live in Los Angeles.—Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge and author Gary Phillip




Before it begins…




… and then they came…


It was a full house at the Playhouse for
Lisa See and Nina Revoyr in Conversation with Janet Fitch“…








Litfest is an amazing, first class event,
giving writers exposure and exposing readers to writers they may not be familiar with.
It puts great literature out on the street for passersby to discover and enjoy!
Poets in Distress are tremendously grateful at having been included.
—Johnny Bender / Brutus Chieftain, “Poets in Distress Melting Mountains

Poets in Distress; photo by Rene Bender.




A great way to kick off our weekend – celebrating Bookstores We Love! Thank you, Jen Ramos of our beloved Vroman’s, Dan Whitmore of Whitmore Rare Books, Jenny Tarzian of Flintridge Bookstore, as well as Mary Williams of Skylight Books for bringing a bit of Los Feliz our way, and Katie Orphan representin’ downtown LA and The Last Bookstore. Moderated by Julia Callahan of Rare Bird Books.

“As a first time panelist, I had a wonderful time being included in the “Bookstores We Love” conversation.  Julia was a great moderator and kept the conversation flowing and interesting.  It was wonderful to see the audience grow as we went along, clearly enjoying hearing a little bit about the behind the scenes workings of independent bookstores.”

“For my first visit to Pasadena LitFest, I greatly enjoyed the clear organization (and helpful map!) behind the festival.  There was a wide variety of interesting panels and panelists.  Set in the heart of Pasadena, there was easy access to great food, tons of parking options, and an excitement and love of books readily found.  Quirky booths, and interesting folks filled a happy afternoon.”
—Jenny Tarzian of Flintridge Bookstore, Bookstores We Love, LitFest Pasadena 2019




Our thanks to Leah Clancy and Erick Szentmiklosy of The Haiku Guys + Gals
for creating free haiku
… and thanks to Garrett of Time Travel Typewriters and Aaron of Typewriter Connection
for the Typewriter Guys’ pop-up
with fabulously restored vintage “writing machines.”


History sits before us,
the “clack, clack, clack”
Remembrance of sound





Memoirs of Black LA
The Burning Desire to Remember

“Inspired, and inspiring.”
—Erin Aubry Kaplan

Thanks to panelists, writers, and authors
Tori Reid, Eric Priestly, Michael Datcher, Jervey Tervalon, and Erin Aubry Kaplan




Thanks to the Northeast Mental Health and Wellness Center, and thank you to all the writers and poets who participated in this powerful, fun, and moving reading, “From Silence to Song.”

Watch this reading on YouTube here.




One of our favorite spots for a panel – the historic and cozy Pasadena Playhouse Library

L-R: Patrick Howell, Pete Magill, Bob Kulhan, and Bruce Craven: “How to Lead Without Losing Your Head.”
Community Storytellers” with Joshua Castro, Sonia Grace, Penelope Lowder, and Jaha Zainabu.











L-R: Christina Hoag, Sheila Sobel, Ann Rednisch Stampler, and Jeff Sweat: “Writing Strong YA Female Characters in the #MeToo Era.”
L-R: Vanessa Carlisle, Natalie West, and Christa Sacco in “#WeToo: Sex Work in the Wake of a Movement.”













Nefertiti Austin speaking during “Queer, Adoptive, and Nontraditional Families: Writing Our Truth.”
Pat Alderete.












Queer, Adoptive, and Nontraditional Families: Writing Our Truth.”
L-R: Carla Sameth, Cheryl Klein, Nefertiti Austin, and Pat Alderete.












How to Lead Without Losing Your Head
Lessons in Leadership from Game of Thrones, Second City, and the Third World
Patrick Howell, Pete Magill (moderator), Bob Kulhan, and Bruce Craven



Stepping Up for Open Mic
in Zona Rosa Alley







The Citizen Poets Sparking Our Civic Imagination
with the
Pasadena Rose Poets
Gerda Govine Ituarte, Toni Mosley, Shahé Mankerian, and Hazel Clayton Harrison




Four Pelekinesis authors meet for the first time and discuss
A Stranger Comes to Town
David Scott Ewers, Sean Pravica, Justin J. Murphy, and Adam Greenfield




As the sun sets and the lights turn on in the lovely Pasadena Playhouse courtyard…
Douglas Manuel, Michelle Brittan Rosado, William Archila, and Lory Bedikian
read their own work
Diving into the Wreck
The Inheritance of Trauma




Thank you, Georgia Jeffries, for moderating
Book to TV
Attica Locke, Gina Fattore, and Jim Gavin




The Playhouse District is magical…

Vroman’s Bookstore Courtyard, the Pasadena Playhouse, Zona Rosa Caffe Alley, The Stand, and El Portal




The Modern Wave of Middle Grade
Leslie Margolis, Kitty Felde, Jerry Mahoney, Doreen Spicer-Danelly, and Dana Middleton (moderator)




L-R: Colleen Dunn Bates, Thomas Backer, PhD., and Annabel Warren during “Collaboration in Publishing: What Works—and What Doesn’t?
Editor Susan LaTempa speaks during “Collaboration” panel.














Creating the Creator
Do Our Institutions Do Enough to Sustain the Literary Arts?
Meng Jin, Kirin Khan, Nick Taylor (moderator), and Joel Tomfohr




The Pasadena Playhouse courtyard was busy! LitFest fans listened to waves of poetry readings, ventured into the lobby to shop for author’s books at Vroman’s “satellite” store, sat with Nairy Fstukh for a one-on-one writing session, and extended an arm for an original Abby Edelstein henna design!




Sean Bernard moderating “Behind the Scenes of Southern California Lit Journals” with Allie Vernon, Kevin Brown, Emily Schuck, Viva Padilla, and Anna Leahy.




Writing for the Theatre
SoCal Playwrights Share Insights on Playwriting

Jonathan Josephson, Josh Gershick, Roger Bean, Diana, Burbano, and Sarah Tuft




Writing Our Own Codices
Acts of Resistance to 500 Years of Detentions and Killings
Sandy Rodriguez, Adrian Arancibia, Darren J. de Leon,
Leticia Hernández, Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, Arminé Iknadossian,
Yago S. Cura, Dr. Diana Magaloni, and Linda Ravenswood.




What You Need to Know About Publishing
Julia Callahan (Red Bird Books), Patty Rodriguez (Lil Libros), Olivia Taylor Smith (Unnamed Press),
Colleen Dunn Bates (Prospect Park Books), Carrie Paterson (Doppelhouse Press), and Tobi Harper (Red Hen Press)




Book Club for Kids
A Live Podcast Taping
Voice over artist Veronica Lopez, radio legend Kitty Felde, and Peasprout Chen author Henry Lien




Lenguas Revoltosas
Writers of Color Disrupting Traditional Literary Zones
Veronica Reyes, Angelina Sáenz, Olga Garcia Echeverría, Sehba Sarwar, and Tanya Ko Hong





Celebrating the bicentennial and “radical optimism” of America’s “first bard of democracy.”

Happy Birthday, Walt Whitman!
Amber West, Dominiqua Dickey, and Susannah Rodríguez Drissi




Is Traditional Masculinity Toxic?
Matt Englar-Carlson, Ioakim Boutakidis, Sehba Sarwar, and Jinghuan Liu Tervalon (moderator)




Thelma Reyna, Elline Lipkin, and Pauli Dutton
editors of the award-winning Altadena Poetry Review Anthology
host a reading by Pushcart Prize-nominees




Letters Under Rock
Cindy Rinne & Bory Thach




Corey Roskin moderates
You Might As Well Live
Traversing Pain, Pleasure, and Everything In Between in the Queer Memoir
Alex Espinoza, Karen Tongson, Carla Sameth, and Ali Liebegott




No Longer the Scream Queens
Women’s Roles in Horror
Ashley Santana, moderator
Kate Jonez, Kate Maruyama, Kathryn McGee, and Lisa Morton




Be True to You
“Own Voices” and Empathy in YA
Jeff Sweat, moderator
Karol Ruth Silverstein, Kayla Cagan, Abdi Nazemian, and CB Lee




Southland Poets Laureate
A Celebration of Literature
Ron Koertge, Charles Flowers, Teresa Mei Chuc, Hazel Clayton Harrison, and John Brantingham




Race & the Literary Life
Jervey Tervalon, Jean Guerrero, Keenan Norris, Abel Salas, Tim Stiles, and Kia Penso




Literary Listening
Making Great Audio Books
Jeffrey Kafer, Steve Sidawi, Petrea Burchard (moderator), Jamie Dupras, and Amy Rubinate





The Roswell Award 2019






Tomorrow Prize 2019





Thanks to moderator Justin Chapman
and the
Pasadena Weekly
Editor Kevin Uhrich, Deputy Editor André Coleman, Arts Director Carl Kozlowski, and columnist Ellen Snortland

Alternative News Sources
How Alternative Newsweeklies Are Going Strong in Changing Times




Red Hen Presents
Poems in Conversation
Kim Dower, William Archila, Doug Manuel, and Ron Koertge




Motels, Money, Murder, and Mayhem
True Crime as Entertainment
Frank Girardot, Jr. (moderator), Kari Martin, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Shiloh




Three Shades of Mystery 
Sisters in Crime LA
GB Pool, Janet Elizabeth Lynn, Anne Louise Bannon (moderator), Nancy Cole Silverman, and Sybil Johnson




Shades & Shadows
presented by Xach Fromson
Maria Alexander, Wesley Chu, Christa Faust, Cody Goodfellow, and Lucio Rodriguez




Sunday Open Mic
hosted by
Ricardo Reyes








How Jonathan Gold Reinvented Los Angeles

Amy Scattergood, Laura Gabbert, Laurie Ochoa, John Powell, and Jervey Tervalon





On behalf of Light Bringer Project, the LitFest Organizing Committee, 
and all of our sponsors,
thank you for joining us at LitFest Pasadena 2019!








LitFest Pasadena 2019 Schedule

Saturday & Sunday, May 18 & 19
1:00pm to 10:00pm
Playhouse District

The city and Southland’s free books-and-authors festival returns for its 8th year with two days of panels, discussions, readings, workshops, performances, and literary activities. Over 150 authors and special guest speakers will appear in more than 50 events from the afternoon into the late evening. LitFest Pasadena is held throughout the historic Playhouse District at Vroman’s Bookstore, the Pasadena Playhouse, and other local establishments within walking distance.

Authors’ books available for purchase at Vroman’s Bookstore and its “satellite” location in the Pasadena Playhouse lobby.
Support your authors and take home some books!

Saturday, May 18


Sunday, May 19

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