Seven Local Authors at Miami Book Fair International You Should Know

Miami is home to the number one basketball team in the world, fame hungry reality stars, models, and acclaimed visual artists. But what many of us fail to realize is that Miami is also home to several authors, many of which are Pulitzer Prize winners, bestsellers, and established professors. We don't hear enough about these authors and it's a damn shame.

The 29th annual Miami Book Fair International started this past Sunday, November 11, welcoming 300 nationally and internationally renowned authors to Miami-Dade College for a weeklong non-stop schedule of reading workshops and presentations. And while much has been made of big names in this year's lineup (Tom Wolfe, Junot Diaz, etc.), the Miami-based talent is just as worthy of praise.

See also:
- Junot Diaz on Writing Men, Stories as Art, and Star Wars
- A Geek's Guide to the Miami Book Fair International
- The Sexiest Events at Miami Book Fair International: Game of Thrones Erotica and More

Check out a few of our favorite local writers after the jump.

Dave Barry
Dave Barry

1. Dave Barry
Barry was a syndicated columnist for over 25 years and his work has appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. The man was once pronounced by The New York Times as "the funniest man in America," so you can take their word for it.

The Book: The Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry teamed up with Thurber Prize-winner and SNL writer, Alan Zweibel in Lunatics: A Novel, a comic mystery where the world of two New Jersey suburban dads collide in a swiftly escalating series of events that will send them running for their lives, chased by the police, soldiers, terrorists, subversives, bears, and even a man dressed as Chuck E. Cheese.
Event: "Dave Barry on Lunatics and Seth Reiss and Will Tracy on The Onion Book of Known Knowledge"
When and Where: Saturday, November 17, 10 a.m., Chapman Conference Center (Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210)
Who Should Go: Fans of Comedy Central and Saturday Night Live

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

2. J.J. Colagrande
Colagrande is a contributor for the Miami Herald, Miami New Times, 944, Closer, and the Sun-Sentinel. He also works as an Adjunct Professor at Miami Dade College where he currently teaches Writing and Literature.

The Book: In his novel Decò, Colagrande takes a satirical stab at the Magic City. Decò is a writer living the typical Miami life, living in a condo and dating a model. When the real estate market crashes and he quickly loses it all, Decò is forced to move to the art haven of Wynwood, where he seeks the success he has always felt he deserved.
Event: "A Miami Picaresque: J.J. Colagrande on Decò and Yousi Mazpule on Jinetera: Story of a Cuban Prostitute"
When and Where: Sunday, November 18, 4:30 p.m., Room 8316 (Building 8, 3rd Floor)
Who Should Go: Those who can actually relate to Decò and can't believe someone actually wrote a book that hits so close to home. C'mon, we know you're out there.


3. Manuel Diaz
Yes, attorney and former Miami-Dade County mayor Manuel "Manny" Diaz wrote a book.

The Book: Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time, Diaz chronicles his life story beginning at age six, fleeing the Castro regime in 1961 with his mother and arriving in Miami with little more than a dime and leading to Diaz's successful career working as an attorney and then his two terms as mayor of Miami.
Event: "Mayor Manny Diaz sees Miami Transformed"
When and Where: Friday, November 16, 7:30 p.m., Freedom Tower (Biscayne Blvd. and NE Sixth Street)
Who Should Go: If you celebrate every good news you hear at Versailles, this is an author you'd probably love to meet.

4. Hedy Goldsmith
Hedy Goldsmith is not only the Executive Pastry Chef of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, but she's also Miami's dessert queen. Goldsmith is also a contributor to Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets and has been featured on the Food Network, Bon Appétit, People, and Food & Wine magazines.

The Book: Goldsmith shares her signature recipes such as her famous pop-tarts and chocolate chip cookies in Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors. She also shares her childhood stories on growing up with Nutter Butters and how obsessing over her Easy-Bake Oven lead her to her life passion.
Event: "The Chefs | Their Books: Alex Hitz on My Beverly Hills Kitchen: Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist and Hedy Goldsmith on Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors"
When and Where: Saturday, November 17, 3:30 p.m., Room 6100 (Building 6, 1st Floor, on NE Second Ave between Fourth and Fifth Street)

Who Should Go: Foodies, aspiring pastry chefs, at-home bakers, and those with a chronic sweet tooth.


Dan Wakefield
Dan Wakefield

5. Dan Wakefield
Novelist, screenwriter, and journalist Dan Wakefield's notable works include Going All The Way and Starting Over, which were produced into feature films.

The Book: When Wakefield befriended fellow bestselling author Kurt Vonnegut of Slaughterhouse-Five in 1963 it was the beginning of a long friendship. In Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, readers will get an in-depth look at Vonnegut's mind in his most intimate thoughts through an extraordinary collection of his personal correspondence. Over a 60-year period and compiled by Wakefield, Letters bears the signature satirical style of Vonnegut's fiction.
Event: "Kurt Vonnegut: Life and Letters with Mark Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield and Don Farber"
When and Where: Sunday, November 18, 11 a.m., Room 8302 (Building 8, 3rd Floor)
Who Should Go: Kurt Vonnegut fans, of course--Wakefield is the closest thing to the author, after all.

Bunny Yeager in her modeling days
Bunny Yeager in her modeling days

6. Bunny Yeagar
As the only female pin-up photographer of her day, Bunny Yeager was also a model in her own right. After winning a slew of beauty pageants in Miami, Yeager went on to photography school, and in 1955, she hit the jackpot with an iconic shot of Bettie Page scantily clad in a Santa hat, which sold instantly to Playboy magazine.

The Book: Authored by Petra Mason, a cultural historian and creative director, Bunny Yeager's Darkroom shares 250 of Yeager's flirty, girl-next-door pin-up photographs.
Event: "The Golden Age of Pinup: Bunny Yeager on Bunny Yeager's Darkroom"
When and Where: Saturday, November 17, 1:30p.m., Batten (Building 2, 1st Floor, Room 2106)
Who Should Go: Rockabilly guys and gals

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