The Miami Book Fair International, now in it’s 27th year, begins this Sunday with its inaugural afternoon. MBFI is a week long event culminating with a two-day street festival, featuring over 300 authors (including THL favorite, John Waters!!!!!) and 200 vendors and exhibitors. Over the years, it has become one of the largest literary gatherings in the country. There’s a lot to take in and the Fairgoer’s Guide holds 27 pages of information, schedules, and tips. Here’s an insiders’ guide to help you sort through it all and make the most of Miami’s biggest book party.
How To Get There:
The book fair is hosted at the Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, Downtown. Yes, parking will be a bitch. There are plenty of garages, but I recommend parking offsite and making use of the MetroMover. This year, thanks to the Green Mobility Network, there will be a bike valet at the Yellow Entrance on 3rd street on Saturday, 11/19 and Sunday 11/20 from 10a.m.-6p.m. Bikers will receive $3 off their admission to the street fair.
An Evening With…
MBFI kicks off with the An Evening With… series. Each event in the series requires a $10 ticket that you must purchase on the book fair website
This year the confirmed authors are…
President George W. Bush at 4pm in Building 3. Even if you wanted to go, tickets sold out in less than 4 minutes. Sorry.
Jay-Z in conversation with Dr. Cornell West – a live telecast from the New York Public Library at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public. There will be a limited number of signed books available at the event and at Books & Books after the fair.
Nora Ephron discusses her memoir I Remember Nothing at 8p.m.
Christopher McDougall, correspondent for the Associated Press and author of Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen at 6pm.
Robert Goolrick, author of the book club favorite A Reliable Wife at 8p.m.
John Waters, director, photographer, evil genius, and author of Role Models at 8p.m.
Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the New York Post and author of Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America at 6p.m.
Pat Conroy, bestselling author, discusses his new book My Reading Life and the huge influence books have had on his life and career. At 8p.m.
E.O. Wilson, world renowned biologist and author of the novel Anthill at 6p.m.
Patti Smith, art-punk pioneer, poet, and author of Just Kids, a memoir of 1970’s New York and of her friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe at 8p.m.
Prior to each An Evening With… presentation, fairgoer’s will be able to enjoy wine and gourmet cuisine at the Twilight Tastings, 5:30p.m in Room 6100 (Building 6). Free and open to the public.
Street Fair Weekend, Friday, 11/19 – Sunday 11/21. Open 10a.m. – 6p.m.
Admission is free on Friday, and $8 on Saturday and Sunday.
There are over 200 participating vendors and exhibitors. The Children’s Alley (behind Building 1) will host a variety of children’s authors, story book characters, and activities for the little ones. Be sure to visit the Harvey Wolf Antiquarian Annex along N.E. 2nd Ave for old and rare gems. And check out the giant inflatable sculptures by Alejandro Mendoza on display throughout the fair grounds. If you get hungry, swing by the new International Food Court along N.E. 1st Ave. Now serving beer and wine for the first time in the history of the fair!
This year Miami Book Fair International celebrates the culture of Mexico, the Bicentennial of the Mexican Independence and the Centennial of its Revolution. Plaza Mexico (on the corner of 3rd St. and 1st Ave.) will feature Mexican literary figures, art exhibits, music, film, dance, and theater. Bring book donations for Florida jails and help local Mexican artists build the World’s Largest Spiral of Books. The goal is to beat a record of 10,090 books (ongoing throughout the week).
Back by popular demand is the Comix Galaxy (in the Kyrakides Plaza, between Buildings 1 and 2). MBFI continues to salute the significance of comics and the importance of their role in mainstream literature by hosting Comic art exhibits, educational sessions, Kid’s Comic Con, and the Weekend Cartoons panel discussions. Visiting comic and graphic novel writers include Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets, The Art of Jaime Hernandez), Joe Sacco (Footnotes on Gaza), Brad Meltzer (Justice League of America, Heroes for my Son) and graphic designer/writer Chip Kidd (Shazam! The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal).
Festival of Authors
With over 300 visiting authors, your weekend will be jam-packed. I suggest visiting the book fair website where you can customize and print out your own schedule. Keep in mind, all presentations in the Chapman Building (Building 3) require a free ticket that must be reserved while supplies last.
This year’s highlights include:
Dave Barry, I’ll Mature When I’m Dead, and Willie Geist, American Freak Show: The Completely Fabricated Stories of Our New National Treasures – 10a.m., Chapman Conference Center
Dave Eggers, Zeitoun – 11:30a.m., Chapman Conference Center
Greil Marcus, Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus and Alex Ross, Listen to this – 12:30p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Lynn Emanuel, Noose and Hook, Chase Twichell, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems, Michael Hettich, Like Happiness, and Lola Haskins, Still, the Mountain – 1:30p.m., Building 3
Sebastian Junger, War, and Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War – 2p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Vendela Vida, The Lovers: A Novel, Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad, Julie Orringer, The Invisible Bridge: A Novel and Myla Goldberg, The False Friend – 2:30p.m., Building 1 Auditorium
Carlos Eire, Learning to Die in Miami, Edwidge Danticat, Create Dangerously: Immigrant Artists at Work and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir – 3:30p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Tigertail presents A South Florida Poetry Annual: Selected Collective, Poetry, Prose and Projects by The Miami Poetry Collective – 4p.m., Building 3
Salman Rushdie. Luka and the Fire of Life – 5p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Carl Hiaasen, Star Island and Scott Turow, Innocent – 10a.m., Chapman Conference Center
James Swanson, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jeffereson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, and David Grann, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder Madness and Obsession – 10:30a.m., Presentation Pavilion A
Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life – 11:30a.m., Chapman Conference Center
Jonathan Tropper, This is Where I Leave You, Adam Ross, Mr. Peanut, and Larry Doyle, Go Mutants! – 11:30a.m., Prometeo Theatre
Simon Winchester, The Atlantic: Biography of an Ocean – 12:30a.m, Chapman Conference Center
Susanna Daniels. Stiltsville: A Novel, Heidi Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky and Joanna Smith Rakoff, A Fortunate Age: A Novel – 12:30p.m., Building 7
Meghan McCain, Dirty Sexy Politics – 1:30p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Lev Grossman, The Magicians, Brock Clarke, Exley and Ben Greenman, Celebrity Chekhov: Stories by Anton Chekhov
John Avlon, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, Bill Press, Toxic Talk: How the Radical Right has Poisoned America’s Airwaves and Douglas Schoen, Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System – 2:30p.m., Chapman Conference Center
Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal – 3p.m., Presentation Pavilion A
Jonathan Franzen Freedom: A Novel
If you miss an event, you can still get signed copies of the books at Book & Books. Orders can be placed in person or online here.
Enjoy the fair!