Your guide to the Miami Book Fair

By for The New Tropic

book-fair

Book lovers rejoice! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Miami’s word nerds.

Marking its 32nd year, the Miami Book Fair kicks off this week, running from Nov.15 through Nov. 22.

“Miami is a city that’s gotten a lot of flack about not being literary enough,” said Lissette Mendez, program director for the Miami Book Fair. “But right here in Miami, we have the oldest and most respected book fair in the country.”

There are only two other book fairs around the country anywhere like the Miami Book Fair, the two-day Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and the one-day Brooklyn Book Festival. “But nothing comes close to the Miami Book Fair in terms length and programming,” Mendez added.

Mendez has been attending the fair since she was a teenager. “It’s such a big part of who we are, and who we are as part of the world community,” she said. “That’s the thing about books. … You’re talking not just about Miami, you’re talking about the world.”

This is especially true at this year’s book fair, as presenters will come from all around the world to showcase their art. From Cuban writers, to Caribbean chefs, Miami Book Fair International is truly international.

Drawing authors and artists from all over, the Miami Book Fair features a range of events including photography exhibits, book readings, author meet-and-greets, and an epic three-day street fair.

During the street fair, rows of colorful tents take over N.E. 2nd Ave. in Downtown Miami, transforming the Miami-Dade Wolfson Campus into a pedestrian, poetic paradise. The street fair runs from Nov. 20–22, hosting more than 200 vendors showcasing their books, crafts, and art.

But with so much to do, it can be hard to decide what to prioritize. That’s all right. We’ve got you covered. And we know exactly where to start.

The Swamp

If the Book Fair is a mini-city, The Swamp is its center square. We’ve highlighted our favorites, but there’s always something going on at this gathering spot. If you need a break, a moment to regroup, or just looking for a beer, head to The Swamp, which will be running throughout the fair starting Monday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m.
Where: 300 NE Second Ave.

Monday, Nov. 16

Historias Cubanas de Tiempos Oscuros: Gerardo Reyes y Fausto Canel
Writers Gerardo Reyes and Fausto Canel discuss dark times in Cuban history and how the island is grappling with an uncertain future.
Where: Room 2106 (Bldg. 2, 1st Floor)
When: 7 p.m.
In Spanish

An Evening with Robert B. Reich
The Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration discusses economics and politics.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 8 p.m.
Tickets $15

Tuesday Nov. 17

World’s Smallest Poetry Reading: An O, Miami Party
Each poet featured in the book Eight Miami Poets will read a poem at a time to one person at a time from inside specially made booths.
Where: The Swamp
When: 7 p.m.

An Evening with Jeanette Winterson
Famed British novelist Jeanette Winterson, author of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, discusses the process of writing her latest novel.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 8 p.m.
Tickets $15

Wednesday, Nov. 18

A Man and His Typewriter
Oscar Fuentes (a.k.a The Biscayne Poet) writes improvisational poetry on his antique typewriter at your request.
Where: The Porch
When: 6 p.m.

Paris Is Still Burning
A performance showcasing prominent contemporary queer poets of color whose work explores social, racial, and economic injustice.
Where: Olympia Theater
When: 6:30 p.m.

An Evening with Tom Brokaw
The legendary NBC Nightly News reporter who covered Watergate, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11 discusses his new book chronicling important moments in his career, as well as his battles with cancer.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)

A Swampy Romance
This magical realism, vaudevillesque extravaganza features shadow puppetry, video projection, live dance, live narration, and musical accompaniment.
Where: The Swamp
When: 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 19

Miami Against Humanity with The New Tropic
Hey, that’s us! We can’t wait to hang out with you and revel in our Miami love by reveling in everything we hate. Join us for an evening of group games with our Miami version of Cards Against Humanity – a celebration of our shared awfulness.
Where: The Porch
When: 6 p.m.

The Moth StorySLAM: Only in Miami, Literally
Prepare a 5-minute story to share or just sit back and listen to true tales told by locals.
Where: The Swamp
When: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $8

An Evening With David Axelrod
A political advisor to President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama’s chief campaign advisor, David Axelrod discusses his new book and career in politics.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 8 p.m.
Tickets $15

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