L.A. is a profoundly Latin American city, with countless historical and cultural ties to the Spanish-speaking world. Those ties include a common language. Spanish is spoken by over 40 percent of L.A. residents, making it the second-most spoken language in L.A. after English.
Remember, even saying the words “Los Angeles” (or if you want to get fancy and historical about it, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora del Rio de Porciúncula) means you’re using Spanish. Despite the role of Spanish in the daily linguistic life of L.A., there are few events that celebrate the language’s power and influence.
That brings us to LéaLA, the city’s annual Spanish language book fair, which returns this weekend to the Los Angeles Convention Center. For three days, and at no charge to visitors, attendees will be able to see some of Latin America and Spain’s top authors and publishers. In addition to talking about books, they’ll also speak about cinema, music, cuisine, sports and politics in the Spanish-speaking world.
LéaLA’s website has the rundown on scheduled authors, activities for children, and special events, like a how the city of Tijuana is being honored for its culture at this year’s festival.
For more about wider issues involving Spanish language literature and publishing in the United States, you can listen to my conversation with Marisol Schulz, LéaLA’s director below. We talked about the book fair, and why books in Spanish don’t get the kind of attention they deserve north of the border.