Sometimes meeting your favorite writer is a dream come true: the person who's inspired you, entertained you, and possibly taught you life lessons turns out to be just as cool on the printed page as they are in person. Other times, they turn out to be complete losers who can't string two coherent words together. That's the beauty of writers. Sometimes their talent is buried deep within and meant only to be shared privately with others on the printed page. This weekend, you'll be able to get up close and personal with more than a few of them at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Wordsmiths the ilk of Walter Mosely, Maxine Hong Kingston and Susan Straight sidle up next to prose poseurs like “Jessie's Girl” crooner Rick Springfield, fitness fanatic Jillian Michaels and Little House on the Prairie's Alison Arngrim along with 400 others — pro and non alike — to celebrate the printed word. Will a “writer” like Jada Pinkett Smith be more compelling than T.C Boyle? Can Stefanie Powers outshine Carolyn See? Don't judge a book author by his cover. Also slated: writing and publishing seminars, poetry readings, book signings, lectures, comedy, speaker panels, cooking demos and live music.

Sat., April 30, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., May 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly