When Sherman Alexie comes to Miami Book Fair International, he enjoys the visuals.
“It’s like putting a bunch of geeky English professors in Bermuda shorts,” Alexie says. “I like the notion of all that energy surrounding books.”
Alexie is the author of award-winning novels, poetry and short-story collections about Indian characters living on and off modern-day reservations. His protagonists frequently share a deep, obsessive love of books and basketball.
That’s what Miriam Auerbach was thinking about 10 years ago while watching a television marathon of the iconic detective films starring Clint Eastwood.
“Suddenly I had a vision of Dirty Harry as a woman. So she was born,” says Auerbach.
Three years later, Auerbach published “Dirty Harriet,” the first in a series of satirical mystery novels. The protagonist is Harriet Horowitz, a gun-toting, Harley-riding former Boca Raton socialite who becomes a crime-fighter.
I don’t remember being told Woodrow Wilson was my great-great-grandfather. It was a fact I grew up with. A picture of my newborn grandfather, the last child ever born in the White House, being gazed at by mighty Woodrow, hung in the staircase of my parents’ home.
Beside it was a Wilson campaign poster from which he looked through his iconic pince-nez glasses and over his long, angular nose at me. But the person I was named after was, in many ways, a mystery.
There was, perhaps, a notion 30 years ago that any reading done by anyone in Miami mainly consisted of a paperback on a beach, some suntan oil and very little else. But a small group of people felt differently.
So when the Miami-Dade County Public Library system wanted to celebrate its newest building, the idea of a book fair was born. "Books By The Bay," it was first called, conceived in 1984 as a few displays of books, tablecloths flapping in the breeze at Bayfront Park.
The book fair is my Ultra. That’s how I explain to concerned friends my almost-maniacal enthusiasm for our city’s belletristic blowout -- a party currently in full swing, having started Sunday with the inaugural ceremony and talk from cliffhanger superstar Dan Brown.
But in its 30th year, Miami Book Fair International's hundreds of thousands of attendees, more than 400 authors, and 200 national and international street-fair exhibitors make it impossible to see everything.
The Miami Book Fair International, celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, will not only host a ton of books both new and used, major and underground – there’s also extensive programming that will likely cause bibliophiles to salivate.
Throughout the week of the fair, a slew of notable authors (more than 400) will be speaking about their work, and panels will be held on a wide range of literary subjects.
Author and former Miami Herald columnist Ana Menendez, who has been living in Amsterdam, is returning to South Florida for the Miami Book Fair International, the eight-day literary party beginning Nov. 13. Ana has a new book titled Adios, Happy Homeland and will be speaking about it during The Writer’s Voice panel at the fair Sunday, Nov. 20.
The Florida Book Awards (FBA) panel had it all—brilliant readings, thought-provoking discussion, and a harmonica solo. It featured four of the 2011 award winners. Leonard Nash, himself an FBA winner and then judge, introduced the writers with a combination of standard credentials and lesser known facts.
Lynne Barrett (general fiction award) read from her story collection Magpies. In "One Hippopotamus," a story comes to light and a romance unfolds thanks to a so-Florida event—a thunderstorm-induced power outage.
"Glen Duncan, author of Talulla Rising, wastes no time on small talk, launching straight into his reading. His accent brings a hypnotic, sleep-inducing serenity to his words, even as he describes a werewolf tearing the throat from a woman."
This was the event to end all events. A beautiful poetry reading by Campbell McGrath, Kevin Young, Richard Blanco, and Dana Gioia. Young dealt us pork and pain. McGrath bathed us in banana and creatures from the bay. Blanco showed us the shame in Legos, and Gioia recited his classic verse with effortless style.
Annik Adey-Babinsky, of the Florida Book Review, shared this with us earlier:
"Building Three Chapman Hall: Naomi Wolf begins by telling the audience that she wrote Vagina: A New Biography, because she found that western society's understanding of female sexuality was 40 years out of date."
One book and 40 more years current, I'm still on the fence about society having women down to a science.
There's a lot of swooning to be done when a well-known Brat Packer decides to spend part of her day reading to you from her new book When it Happens to You. Here are just a few of the many endearing comments we've spotted on the web today about Molly Ringwald:
"The audience releases a collective groan when the presenter announces that Molly Ringwald will only besigning books following her reading. No DVDs, posters, or other memorabilia." - Ed Lavin