The book prizes are coming! The book festival is coming!

Of all the writers who’ll be appearing at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, Peter Kimani may be the one to leave with the most frequent flier miles: The Kenyan novelist is coming all the way from Nairobi.

“For me to travel half way across the world to participate in such an event is a powerful message,” he says by phone. “I think literature affirms our shared humanity. It allows us to experience life as seen by others in a way that no other medium can.”

More than 400 authors will participate in this year’s festival. The literary lineup includes the endlessly prolific novelist Joyce Carol Oates interviewed by crime fiction writer Steph Cha; feminist icon Roxane Gay in conversation with novelist and Times critic at large Alexander Chee; Chuck Palahniuk (best known for “Fight Club”) in conversation with BuzzFeed books editor Isaac Fitzgerald (who had a Fight Club in his high school); and an out-of-this-world sci-fi pairing, Times critic at large John Scalzi in conversation with Cory Doctorow.

And on a stage in front of Doheny Library, L.A. Times Editor and Publisher Davan Maharaj will speak to basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose latest book is the essay collection “Writings on the Wall.”

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