Miami Book Fair International
Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus

The 23rd Annual Miami Book Fair International is just a few weeks away. Opening on Sunday, Nov. 12 and running through Sunday, Nov. 19, the Miami Book Fair is sure to please all South Floridians and visitors with a roster of authors unequaled by any book fair in the U.S. – all of them on the grounds of Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, 300 NE 2nd Ave. This year, the book fair is “flirting with the classics,” celebrating classic art and its role in contemporary society with special commemorations of Shakespeare, Mozart and children’s book characters Curious George, Arthur and Wilbur of Charlotte’s Web. During the Street Fair, on the Fair’s final weekend Nov. 17-19, roaming musicians and street performers will entertain and amuse the crowd, filling the streets with color, dance and song.

The crowd-pleasing Evenings With... series kicks-off on Nov. 12, the opening night of the fair, with Pulitzer-winning memoirist Frank McCourt and continues throughout the week with other Pulitzer-winners, including Edward P. Jones and Richard Ford, plus best-selling novelist Isabel Allende, political pundit Arianna Huffington, and historian Thomas Cahill.

On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19, the Congress of Authors continues with hundreds of authors presenting their works. This year, fairgoers can expect to see John Berendt, Nora Ephron, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Gordon, Jay McInerny, Doris Kearns Goodwin, U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Robert Olen Butler, Francine Prose, Helen Thomas, Meg Tilly, and Gary Wills, among others. The Fair will also feature a cadre of beloved local authors, including celebrity chefs Norman Van Aiken, Michelle Bernstein, and Jonathan Eismann, Moroccan-born memoirist Malika Oufkir, meteorologist Brian Norcross, and former WPLG television reporter Mel Taylor, as well as mystery writers Les Standiford, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Tom Corcoran and James W. Hall. A rich assembly of Caribbean authors will also be at the Fair, including Colin Channer, Elizabeth Nunez, Kamau Braithwaite, Ramabai Espinet, and Cecile Accilien.

The Ibero-American Authors Program will return stronger than ever, with readings scheduled to take place every evening during the week and all day during the weekend. Among the celebrated authors in attendance this year are Jorge Ramos, Daina Chaviano, Jorge Edwards, Edmundo Paz Soldán, Gioconda Belli, former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferré, Santiago Roncagliolo, Andres Oppenheimer, Gonzalo Rojas, Maria Kodama, Borges’ widow, and dozens of others from Latin America, Spain and the U.S. The Miami Book Fair is the only festival of its kind in the country to present such a consistently strong line-up of writers of Spanish-language literature.

The Miami Book Fair International is a premier program of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts (FCLA) at Miami Dade College. The Center’s Executive Director Alina Interián promises that the Book Fair will be stellar, and tells us about this year’s additions to the Congress of Authors: panel discussions.

“In addition to the many best-selling authors reading from their books and answering questions, this year we are presenting panel discussions on timely topics in Spanish as well as English,” Interián says. “We are hoping to stimulate discussions that our audience will wholeheartedly participate in. We have panels on immigration—the one in Spanish will examine the positive impact immigrants have made to the United States from economic and cultural points of view. The one in English will examine the legacy of immigration on a more personal level, what it means to be an immigrant, what the immigrant loses even as he or she gains much. Other panels that tie in well with South Florida’s residents are Living the Golden Years and Globalization, Diaspora and Caribbean Culture. I also expect that the panel on nonviolence will be very well attended, as war is at the forefront of every American’s mind. For our IberoAmerican audience we have also scheduled a discussion on the future of Cuba with preeminent scholars and thinkers in the field, as well as a panel on the controversy that has surrounded The DaVinci Code since its publication.”

On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 16, the grand opening of the International Pavilions gets underway celebrating cultural diversity. The literature, fine art, music, and culinary traditions of Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Israel, and Spain, will be on display through Sunday, Nov. 19. For the first time in the history of the Fair, the World Art Gallery will showcase artwork by artists from the featured countries.

The Write Out Loud Café, (formerly the Spoken Word Café) presents readings and performances by Florida writers and musicians every evening during Book Fair week from Monday through Thursday, Nov. 13 to 16, at ArtCenter/South Florida, located at 800 Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. The Café will move to the Book Fair grounds (corner of 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue) starting Friday, Nov. 17 in the evening. On Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19, readings and performances begin at 11:00 a.m. and are scheduled back to back until the Street Fair closes at 6:00 p.m.

On Friday, Nov. 17, the Street Fair gets underway as South Florida students will converge on the fairgrounds and get the opportunity to listen to some of their favorite authors during the Student Literary Encounters. During Street Fair weekend (Nov.17-19), more than 250 publishers and booksellers exhibit and sell books in a festive atmosphere. Rare book aficionados will find first editions, antique maps and other collectibles at the Antiquarian Annex, and mystery lovers, history buffs and bargain hunters will also have bookstores catering to their whims. The Rockbottom Remainders, a fairgoers favorite, come back this year with authors (moonlighting as musicians) Dave Barry, Ridley Pierson, Greg Iles, Kathi Goldmark, Aron Ralston, and Andy Borowitz.

Starting Friday Nov. 17, children can return to some of their favorite Children’s Alley haunts: Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, What’s up Doc?, Let’s Play and Learn will be back, along with newcomers Arthur and Curious George at the “All Time Favorites” tent. Also new this year, the “Charlotte’s Web” tent and the Target Ready. Sit. Read! Book Club, where families will learn how to start their own book clubs and kids will have fun making their own bookmarks and getting their pictures taken with costumed characters.

There will be a nominal $5.00 admission fee to the Fair grounds only on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 18-19) of the Street Fair. Fairgoers 18 years of age and younger, Miami Dade College students and employees with identification, and Book Fair Friends, volunteers, exhibitors and guests with credentials will be admitted free of charge. Access to the Fair grounds on Friday, Nov.17 is free. Events during Book Fair week leading up to the weekend Street Fair, including the Evenings With series are also free of charge. In addition, a coupon booklet will be distributed to offer the paying fairgoer, if used, a value of more than $100.

The Book Fair is under the auspices of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College. The Center promotes reading and writing throughout the year by consistently presenting quality literary activities open to all in South Florida. Literacy projects target children of all ages—from kindergarten to high school—as well as college students and adults. Established and emerging writers from South Florida and all over the U.S. read, lecture, and teach workshops. They work with K-12, MDC students, and diverse members of the community, helping to deepen their understanding of literature, and encouraging their work of writers at all stages of development. The Center envisions South Florida as a nexus of literary activity in the Americas and beyond, and will continue to champion its mission of promoting the advancement and appreciation of the literary arts in all forms.

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Miami Book Fair International

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