Considered the largest public literary celebration in the country, the L.A. Times Festival of Books will sweep through the University of Southern California’s University Park Campus April 18 and 19.

A centerpiece of the festival will again be the Keck Medicine of USC Health and Wellness Pavilion, which will double in size to host several health-related screenings, including those for skin cancer, sleep apnea, glucose, BMI, blood pressure and oral health.

“The Health and Wellness Pavilion showcases so much USC has to offer – we’re not just a university, we’re also a medical enterprise,” said Adam Rosen, assistant vice president, office of cultural relations and university events.

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Held at USC since 2011, the two-day event is in its 20th year. The festival is a marquee event for USC and Los Angeles, drawing an estimated 150,000 literary fans last year.

“It’s the only event like this in the country that brings out the literacy community and is focused on art, books and literature,” Rosen said. “The festival is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our campus and our commitment to arts and literature.”

The free festival will feature hundreds of lectures, readings, signings and performances by authors, poets, musicians and journalists. There will be a host of vendors spread across campus.

Noted authors this year include T.C. Boyle, Malcom Gladwell, Aimee Bender and Janet Fitch. Panels include Pulitzer Prize-winning L.A. Times food critic Jonathan Gold interviewing renowned chef Roy Choi and L.A. Times journalist Lorrain Ali interviewing musician Billy Idol. There will be live music performances, poetry readings and an array of gourmet food trucks.

“The program is better this year than it has ever been before,” Rosen said.

Parking will be $10 in USC parking lots. Parking will also be available at the L.A. Coliseum lots.

The Health and Wellness Pavilion will be an active place all weekend. A full schedule can be found on the Festival of Books website.

by Douglas Morino