If we didn't know better, we'd think the organizers of the Miami Book Fair had consulted a psychic before planning this year's week-long festival of author appearances.
The fair, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, got a pretty sweet gift from the National Book Foundation this week: a pair of National Book Awards for George Packer and James McBride, both of whom are scheduled to speak at the fair this weekend.
This year's four award winners were announced yesterday in categories including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.
McBride took the fiction prize for his novel The Good Lord Bird, which he's scheduled to present in Miami twice this weekend: at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, alongside Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Sam Barry, Roy Blount, Jr., Ted Habte-Gabr, Amy Tan and Scott Turow; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, with Margaret Wrinkle and Linda Spalding. The Good Lord Bird tells the story of a young slave boy who passes as a girl to join John Brown's rebellion.
George Packer won the nonfiction prize for The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which weaves together narratives of public figures like Newt Gingrich, Raymond Carver, and Jay-Z, along with headlines, song lyrics, slogans, and other pop cultural ephemera to tell the story of the last three decades in the U.S. Packer is scheduled to speak this Sunday, Nov. 24, at 11:30 a.m. alongside Jeremy Scahill and Dan Balz.
Those are just the winners. Several National Book Award finalists will also present this weekend, including Lawrence Wright, whose book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was also up for the nonfiction prize. Wright will present this Saturday at 11 a.m.
Poets Lucie Brock-Broido and Adrian Matejka, whose collections of verse were up for the poetry award, will speak as well. Brock-Broido appears at the fair with her book Stay, Illusion: Poems this Saturday at 4 p.m. alongside Alfred Corn and Jonathan Galassi. Matejka presents The Big Smoke this Sunday at 3 p.m.
Young people's literature finalist Gene Luen Yang, author of Boxers & Saints, will also present this Saturday at 2 p.m.
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