Leimert Park Village Book Fair Draws 5,000+ Guests
When Terry Webb penned some 800 poems decades ago, amidst a life of drugs and crime, his publishing plans didn't extend beyond mailing them home from prison.
"During that time I would write, and I would send them to my mother," said Webb, a Watts resident who now works as a security guard and substance abuse counselor. "God has opened the door for me to now put this material out."
Webb was one of more than 200 authors and artists featured at the fifth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, an all-day event of literary stage performances, panel discussions, readings, workshops and vendors. More than 5,000 guests strolled through the fair among such presenters as Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson and former Essence Magazine editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor.
"We were waiting and praying to get into the book fair," said Webb, who missed the deadline to apply for a booth and was told that he might get a spot if he showed up ready to go. "We didn't think we'd get in."
Hours before the fair opened, Webb waited—and prayed—with his family alongside copies of his debut book, "Poetry to God, Volume I: Lord, Please Hear the Cry," a collection of 208 poems. Eventually, he was invited to share a booth with another author, and within an hour, he had made a sale.
"What I hope to get out of this is exposure," said Webb. "Knowing that I've touched the hearts and lives of anyone who's come in contact with this book is enough."
In February, Webb self-published his book through Trafford Publishing and has sold about half of the 300 printed copies. It is also available electronically through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and he has three more volumes in the works.
Photo by Lisa Rau
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