Long Beach Public Library Celebrates the 2nd Annual Filipino-American Literacy Festival

Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) is proud to announce the second annual Liwanag Literary Festival, celebrating Filipino-American stories and literature. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library (5870 Atlantic Ave.). Each October, communities across the country recognize Filipino-American Heritage History Month by spotlighting the contributions of Filipino-American history and culture, thus inspiring the fitting name for this literary festival as ‘Liwanag’ is Tagalog for ‘Light.’

“The stories and experiences of our Long Beach Filipino-American community are integral to understanding the rich history of our city,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “This festival is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Filipino voices and encourage everyone to learn a little more about our neighbors and their culture.” 

The festival aims to illuminate the rich tapestry of Filipino-American experiences through author readings, engaging panel discussions and book signings, presented in collaboration with the esteemed Filipina-owned bookstore, Bel Canto Books.  

“We look forward to once again hosting the Liwanag Literary Festival in our North Long Beach community,” said Ninth District Councilmember Dr. Joni Ricks-Oddie. “It is important to recognize and uplift the contributions of Filipino-Americans, an integral part of our city fabric, for their contributions to literature and culture here in Long Beach.” 

The festival’s agenda features an array of activities including crafts tailored for children, enlightening panel discussions with a diverse lineup of authors – including Michelle Sterling, author of “Maribel’s Year,” Alex Brown, known for “Damned If You Do,” and Jasmin Iolani Hakes, the creative force behind “Hula” – as well as a captivating cultural performance by Rocksteady Rondalla at 11:30 a.m. Rondalla is a traditional form of music from the Philippines, usually comprised of instruments such as Bandurria, Laud and Octavina. 

“Long Beach Public Library is continuously striving to make connections with all cultures and demographics represented in Long Beach,” said Director of Library Services Cathy De Leon. “With over 20,000 people of Filipino and Filipino-American descent in Long Beach, it is a privilege to be hosting the second Liwanag Literary Festival at the Michelle Obama Library.” 

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact LBPL at 562.570.7500 or visit the library’s website at lbpl.org. 

By City of Long Beach 

Courtney LLaban 
Senior Librarian, Bret Harte Neighborhood Library 
Long Beach Public Library

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