Your guide to the Miami 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.

Olympia theater during the Miami Book Fair's inaugural event last year. (Courtesy of the Miami Book Fair)
Olympia theater during the Miami Book Fair’s inaugural event last year. (Courtesy of the Miami Book Fair)

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)
When: 8 p.m.
Tickets $15

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

Friday, Nov. 20

The Street Fair
More than 200 national and international exhibitors showcase their books, art, music, and more, featuring everything from a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut to signed special editions of rare volumes. It’s free on Friday, but tickets for Saturday and Sunday will run you $8.
When: Friday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Havana and Haiti: Reshaping the New Americas and the World
Carl Juste and Luis Rios present an installation as a series of essays and photographs, exploring the political and cultural identities of Cuba and Haiti.
Where: The Swamp
When: 11:30 a.m.

An Evening with the National Book Awards Winners and Finalists
The finalists and winners of the prestigious National Book Foundation’s National Book Awards gather.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 6 p.m.
Tickets $15

Spam All-Stars
End your Friday night by dancing along to the music of the pioneers of Miami fusion.
Where: The Swamp
When: 9 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21

True Tales of Miami Hip Hop
Miami-based 2 Live Crew’s “Fresh Kid Ice” discusses his new book with coauthor Jacob Katel.
Where: Rm. 8203 (Bldg. 8, 2nd Floor)
When: 10 a.m.

Cultivating the New American Canon in Collaboration with Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation
Writers Chantel Acevedo, Tananarive Due, M. Evelina Galang, Mat Johnson, and Ana Menendez, along with Program Director Elmaz Abinader, discuss the new American voice.
Where: Rm. 7106 (Bldg. 7, 1st Floor)
When: 10:30 a.m

Caribbean Literature: The Steel Pan of the 21st Century
Prolific Caribbean writer Michael Anthony leads readings followed by the poetry and prose of other writers representing the Writers Union of Trinidad and Tobago, including Cecily Ann Mitchell, June Aming, Colleen Selvon-Rampersad, Kavita Ganness, and David King.
Where: Rm. 8303 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor)
When: 11 a.m.

Beyond Basel
A panel discussing South Beach’s cultural richness, featuring Nathaniel Sandler, founder of Bookleggers Library; Cristina Favretto, head of special collections at the University of Miami Libraries; Doris Bravo, manager of arts content for WPBT2; Barbara Hulanicki, founder and designer of iconic clothing store Biba; Rob Goyanes of Miami Music Club; and artist and Guccivuitton co-founder Domingo Castillo.
Where: The Swamp
When: 11:30 a.m.

Hair: A Cultural Exploration
Untangle some of the politics and culture of hair, from the feeling of having a perfect hairdo, to how a hairstyle can provide deep insight into a person’s heritage. Hear more about it from authors Hallie Ephron, Ru Freeman, Marita Golden, and Elizabeth Benedict.
Where: Rm. 8503 (Bldg. 8, 5th Floor)
When: 12 p.m.

Land of Upheaval: A Literary Journey Through Haiti’s Modern History
Moderated by Hector Duarte Jr., Haitian authors M.J. Fievre, Fabienne Josaphat, and Katia Ulysse will discuss Haiti’s recent history, viewed through the prism of literature.
Where: Rm. 8303 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor)
When: 12:30 p.m

First Families
White House correspondent and presidential historian Kenneth T. Walsh discusses the history of America’s presidents as “celebrities in chief” while Peter Slevin tells Michelle Obama’s story.
Where: Rm. 2106 (Bldg. 2, 1st Floor)
When: 1 p.m.

The Rise of ISIS and How Islamic State Hashtags
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick and author Abdel Bari Atwan discuss the history and growth of ISIS through social media.
Where: Room 8301 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor)
When: 2 p.m.

Saved by the Sunshine State: Writers Find Themselves in Florida
Florida’s transient nature brings people here for their own reasons. Florida-based authors share their stories of coming to Florida.
Where: The Swamp
When: 2:30 p.m.

A Dream Derailed: The Dark Side of the Immigrant Experience
Immigrant narratives are shared by three authors and a filmmaker.
Where: Rm. 7106 (Bldg. 7, 1st Floor)
When: 3 p.m.

New Fiction: Stories of Exile and Displacement
Authors Jennine Capó Crucet, Naomi Jackson, and Rebecca Dinerstein discuss their new books.
Where: Rm. 8202 (Bldg. 8, 2nd Floor)
When: 4 p.m.

Best American Comics, 2015
A panel discussion on the best of American comics, featuring Bill Kartalopoulos and contributing artists Gabrielle Bell, Julia Gfrörer, and Anders Nilsen.
Where: Magic Screening Room (Bldg. 8, 1st Floor)
When: 4:30 p.m.

Ted Koppel on Surviving a Cyberattack
Renowned journalist Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely because the U.S. is wholly unprepared.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 5 p.m.
Free tickets required

The Working Poet Radio Show: Bringing Books to Life
A podcast and interview series dedicated to the working lives of creative people with Joseph Lapin and comics author Derf Backderf, Abrams ComicArts editorial director Charles Kochman, and actor/author John Leguizamo.
Where: The Swamp
When: 5:30 p.m.

An Evening with Leonardo Padura, Winner of Premio Princesa de Asturias 2015
Conversation with famed Cuban author.
Where: Auditorium (Bldg. 1, 2nd Floor)
When: 6 p.m.
In Spanish

It’s (Author) Party Time!
The first EVER open-to-the public authors’ party with the Rock Bottom Remainders, featuring Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Greg Iles, Mary Karr, and Mitch Albom. Bites and cocktails provided by Books & Books Café.
Where: Carnival Tower at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
When: 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 22

American Lives: Four Memoirs
Poignant and moving memoirs read from four American authors.
Where: Rm. 8202 (Bldg. 8, 2nd Floor)
When: 10:30 a.m.

Water and a World in Crisis
Authors Meera Subramanian and Seth M. Siegel discuss water scarcity in India and Israel, and what it could mean for the rest of the world.
Where: Rm. 8525 (Bldg. 8, 5th Floor)
When: 11 a.m.

The Soundtrack of Your Life
Shea Serrano, Jessica Hopper, and John Seabrook discuss the role of music in our daily lives.
Where: Rm. 8201 (Bldg. 8, 2nd Floor)
When: 11:30 a.m.

Florida Histories
Amanda Harris recounts the exploits of David Fairchild, South Florida historian Arva Moore Parks recounts George Merrick’s development, and Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon, offers insider tips for exploring St. Augustine.
Where: Rm. 8301 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor)
When: 12 p.m.

Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar
The Social Network star and the Big Bang Theory star get together to discuss their newest books.
Where: Chapman (Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210)
12:30 p.m.
Free tickets required

Here I Am: The Roots of Hip-Hop
Photographer and cinematographer Lisa Leone, graffiti artist and hip-hop pioneer FAB 5 FREDDY, Rosie Perez, and hip-hop artist Mare 139 discuss the roots of hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon.
Where: Magic Screening Room (Bldg. 8, 1st Floor)
When: 1:30 p.m.

Building Communities and Creating Change Through Digital Storytelling
Moderated by our very own Christopher Sopher, founder and CEO of The New Tropic and WhereBy.Us, this panel of leading professionals explores using digital storytelling to build communities and impact society.
Where: Rm. 8525 (Bldg. 8, 5th Floor)
When: 2 p.m.

The Future of American Public Libraries: Reading the Past to Project a Future
How public libraries are both succeeding and struggling in modern times.
Where: Rm. 8303 (Bldg. 8, 3rd Floor)
When: 3:30 p.m.

Crossing Over: Comics and Prose
In a panel moderated by editor Joan Hilty, Alex Segura (Silent City, Archie), Cory Doctorow (Homeland, In Real Life), Benjamin Percy (The Dead Lands, Green Arrow), and Jeff Burandt (Odd Schnozz and the Odd Squad) explore their experiences writing across multiple genres.
Where: Magic Screening Room (Building 8, 1st Floor)
When: 4 p.m.

Welcome to Night Vale
Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast, premier their book discussing the poignant ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves.
Where: Rm. 7128 (Bldg. 7, 1st Floor)
When: 4:30 p.m

Race in America, in Fiction and Nonfiction
MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid discusses how, despite the progress we have made, we remain a nation divided.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 5 p.m.
Free tickets required

American Lives: Two Memoirs
Actress and choreographer Rosie Perez discusses her latest memoir, and Colombian–American actor, producer, comedian, playwright and screenwriter John Leguizamo discusses his latest graphic memoir.
Where: Chapman (Bldg. 3, 2nd Floor)
When: 6:30 p.m
Free tickets required