Valentina, Justin Torres and more on the Latinidad Stage at the L.A. Times Festival of Books (2024)

For the first time, De Los and L.A. Times en Español are bringing the Latinidad Stage to life at this year’s L.A. Times Festival of Books with a little help from drag superstar Valentina, National Book Award winner Justin Torres and a full lineup of authors and panelists.

The stage will focus on Latinx programming and spotlight voices from all walks of storytelling on April 20 and 21 on the USC campus. Panels will be held in English, Spanish and Spanglish.

Check out conversations about the first-generation experience, what Latino self-care looks like and the power of the Latino vote. Speakers will share their experiences and expertise on Spanish-language panels covering street vending in L.A. and soccer as a community unifier with Angel City FC.

6 books to shake off colonialism and rethink our Latino stories

In this issue of De Los Reads, we explore six books that pave the way for a more inclusive and authentic expression of our Latino identities.

Feb. 20, 2024

Saturday and Sunday will kick off with children’s books readings, followed by panel discussions and poetry readings with featured guests Angela Aguirre, Melania Luisa Marte and Yesika Salgado from the De Los poetry series.


The L.A. Times Festival of Books is the nation’s largest literary festival. The annual event consists of 550 authors and speakers who participate in various discussions, panels, signings, readings and demonstrations for readers of all ages.

With so much to see in the jam-packed, two-day fest, you’ll want to check out the schedule ahead of time. Explore the full lineup by selecting the Latinidad Stage in the location drop-down. For now, here’s a selection of panels you won’t want to miss:

Everything Latinidad: Challenging the myth of the monolith
What defines Latinidad? It depends on who you ask. The group’s population is diverse, growing and constantly changing, as are the attitudes on the markers of Latino identity. Join a conversation featuring Valentina, the “Princess of Southeast L.A.” and host of the inaugural season of “Drag Race: Mexico,” Alan Pelaez Lopez, Afro-Indigenous poet and editor of “When Language Broke Open: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Black Writers of Latin American Descent,” and Mario Alberto Obando, assistant professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at Cal State Fullerton as they discuss the narrative of a shared cultural identity and why we should challenge it. Moderated by L.A.-born Salvadoran poet Yesika Salgado. The discussion will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21.

Valentina opens up about her fame, her gender fluidity and her love of L.A.

The co-host of ‘Drag Race Mexico’ sat down with columnist Suzy Exposito to discuss her illustrious television career, her Chicana pride and the freedom of being nonbinary.

Aug. 4, 2023

Blood In Blood Out: From buried project to Latino cult classic
Get to know the inner workings of this fan favorite through a new book that commemorates the film’s 30th anniversary and chronicles its journey to the screen. Director Taylor Hackford and screenwriter Jimmy Santiago Baca will discuss the limited-edition hardcover book, also titled “Blood in Blood Out,” which features exclusive content, including a production journal and never-before-seen photos from the set. Hackford and Baca will share their insights into the movie and the portrayal of East Los Angeles Chicano culture with De Los editorial director Fidel Martinez at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, April 21.

In conversation with National Book Award winner Justin Torres: When writing is personal
“The way you tell the story is the story, don’t you think?” said Justin Torres in a blog interview with the Library of Congress. The author of bestselling novels “We the Animals” and “Blackouts,” which won the 2023 National Book Award for fiction, has been praised for the ability to capture human emotion and the complexity of cultural identity on the page. At a panel about writing and craft, Torres will speak about navigating autobiography and fiction and how life experiences shape his storytelling. Catch the conversation with Nadxieli Nieto, executive editor at Flatiron Books, at 12:25 p.m. Sunday, April 21.

A De Los series exploring Latinidad through poetry

The illustrated poetry series will feature new works by Latino poets in Los Angeles and across the U.S.

Feb. 1, 2024

Oaxacan influence: How a community has shaped culture in all corners of Los Angeles
From food to activism and education, Oaxacans have made a profound impact in Los Angeles and California. Hear members and advocates of the community share their perspectives and stories as they work to bring visibility and resources to this community of largely Indigenous people. Speaking on the panel will be the Lopez family, restaurateurs of famed La Guelaguetza, Odilia Romero, co-founder and executive director of Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO), and Mireya Olivera, contributor to ‘’Oaxacalifornia, Espacio de Unidad Binacional.’’ Join the conversation moderated by L.A. Times en Español reporter Selene Rivera at 1:20 p.m. Sunday, April 21. This panel will be in Spanish.

More to Read

  • If you love cookbooks, come see us at the L.A. Times Festival of Books

    April 10, 2024

  • L.A. Times Festival of Books lineup features Ariana Madix, RuPaul, Kerry Washington, Lauren Graham and more

    March 13, 2024

  • Raja Shehadeh, Yiyun Li and Maria Bamford among L.A. Times Book Prize finalists

    Feb. 21, 2024

Valentina, Justin Torres and more on the Latinidad Stage at the L.A. Times Festival of Books (2024)
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