Just like sea levels, Miami's book culture is on the rise. Ever since the first Miami Book Fair International was held in 1984 (originally dubbed Books by the Bay), the fair has steadily grown into what is today — namely, an eight-day playground for authors, publishers, agents, writers, readers, and everyone in between. Yet despite luminary guests like Barack Obama and Junot Díaz, charitable book donations to kids in need, and programs in Spanish, there has always been something slightly amiss.
“We have a strong membership group, but as time has passed we’ve noticed that our Friends of the Fair members were the same people again and again,” says Lissette Mendez, director of programs. “In general Miami has grown both in population and culture, and we wanted to bring more people into the folds of the book fair.”
To do so, MBFI created the Literati Society with the goals of connecting “young professionals who are always at the center of Miami’s book culture.” Some of the distinguished founding members include Michael Bolden, editorial director of the Knight Foundation, Rebekah Monson, co-founder of the New Tropic and Code for Miami, and Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, UrbanDaddy's Miami editor.
While there are many perks to becoming a member, some of the highlights include access to exclusive MBFI after parties, invitations to year-round socials, a 20-percent discount on creative writing workshops, and a 20-percent discount at the Café at Books & Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center.
And while the Literati Society aims to bring like-minded people together, it also serves as a central purpose for the fair.
“A lot of people don’t realize that, yes, we do get grants, but we are run by a very small crew of people who work tirelessly to put this fair on,” says Lisa Better, memberships and individual donors coordinator. “With the Literati, we also saw the need to create a cooperative community. People really want to be around people who love books and interesting conversations.”
Many special events such as author appearances will take place before the MIBF is held in November, and as a Literati member, you’ll be privy to priority mailing lists, tickets, and more. This Friday, for example, Daniel Silva, author of The English Spy, will appear at the Freedom Tower for a talk and book signing.
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So if you're a lit nerd, want to network and meet new people, and be part of a book culture, look no further.
Learn more about the Literati Society and membership benefits at miamibookfair.com.
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