California to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday

William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

LOS ANGELES — In commemoration of the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth in 2014, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair (Book Fair) will pay tribute to the Bard when it opens its doors from February 7 – 9 at the Pasadena Convention Center.  The highly anticipated rare book extravaganza, which draws thousands of collectors, scholars and the world’s foremost dealers, will present a special exhibit featuring some of the finest expressions of Shakespeare through the centuries, a lively panel discussion “What Shakespeare Ate: Dining in the Elizabethan Age,” and other festivities.

“Because of Shakespeare’s enduring influence on literature and the arts, we couldn’t let this milestone birthday pass without celebrating his genius,” said Michael R. Thompson, Book Fair Chair of the Southern California Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America. “The Book Fair is all about bringing people closer to books by giving them a chance to browse, touch and even go home with items that they might imagine could only be found in a museum or special collections library.  We’re excited about connecting people with Shakespeare in the same way.”

Shakespeare Exhibit Preview
The Huntington Library, which holds a world-class collection of early editions of Shakespeare’s works, will offer an enlightening display on Shakespeare scholarship throughout the 90-plus years of its history.  Fine press and artists’ books from the Ella Strong Denison Library at Scripps College will show how Shakespeare has inspired the art of the book.  Poster images from the collections of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will spotlight memorable film adaptations of Shakespeare from around the world. The Honnold/Mudd Library at the Claremont Colleges Library will offer insights into stage productions.  The University of California San Diego Library will serve up a selection of rare books on food and cookery in Elizabethan times.

A related discussion Saturday, February 8 at 1 p.m. entitled “What Shakespeare Ate: Dining in the Elizabethan Age” will further immerse visitors into the world of the Bard.  Panelists include Los Angeles Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold; noted food historian Charles Perry; cookbook author and founder of the Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne Anne Willan; and bookseller Ben Kinmont who specializes in antiquarian books on gastronomy. Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison will moderate.

Those who want to start their own collections of the plays or sonnets will find many opportunities to acquire items from individual dealers who will be displaying their most desirable Shakespeare works at the Book Fair.  Highlights include a 1632 second folio of Shakespeare’s complete plays priced at $625,000.

Featuring the collections of 200 booksellers from the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, the Book Fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, autographs, graphics, photographs and more.

Book Fair hours are Friday, February 7 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 8 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, February 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Convention Center, located at 300 East Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101.  Tickets on Friday, February 7 are $25 and provide three-day admission. Tickets purchased on Saturday or Sunday are $15.

Purchase tickets for the Book Fair at Eventbrite.  For more information, visit or call 800-454-6401. Connect with the Book Fair at or


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