Don’t worry if you’re illiterate and someone is reading this to you right now. Though Miami Book Fair International is optimized for people who can read, there will be more than 350 authors there to read to you and to talk on panels. They’ll also sign books for you, which means if the authors personalize the autographs, you’ll finally learn how to spell your own name. By the way, the person reading this to you is trying to murder you. Get out while you can!
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the fair, which has grown into one of the largest events of its kind in the world. To celebrate three decades of balancing philistines’ uneven table and chair legs, the fair has so many events planned that it had to spread out some readings by Salman Rushdie, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Donna Tartt in the weeks leading up to the main event. Don’t worry, though — this week you’ll get to rub suede-patched elbows with the likes of Sherman Alexie, Erica Jong, Reza Aslan, Jennifer Weiner, and Pat Conroy.
South Florida will be well represented by homegrown stars Carl Hiaasen, Cristina García, Karen Russell, Edwidge Danticat, and M. Evelina Galang. Arriving from outside our weird, muggy wonderland will be a wide range of writers, from international bestsellers such as Dan Brown and Scott Turow to new international voices such as NoViolet Bulawayo and Geoff Dyer, to international muckrakers like Lawrence Wright and Jeremy Scahill.
Lots of authors of comic books and children’s literature will be there too. And cookbook authors such as Norman Van Aken, Patricia Wells, and — awesomely — Brian Boitano, will host cooking demonstrations and tastings. There will be a special focus this year on the literature of Spain, including a program of recent films from Spain and appearances by some of the country’s most significant journalists, poets, and writers.
There’ll be tons of activities for kids, music, antiquarian book dealers selling signed first editions, and more than 250 other publishers and booksellers. Because the fair is designed for strolling, you’ll likely bump into many of the authors and panelists as they grab an arepa or browse through the used-book stalls.
Nov. 17-24, 2013