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Mitchell Kaplan is one of Miami’s most beloved figures. As the owner of Books & Books, he already had established a headquarters for a then burgeoning literary scene. When he co-founded the Miami International Book Fair 25 years ago, Kaplan helped to further cement the city as a mecca for everyone who is anyone in the writing world.
This year, the Miami International Book Fair will offer a first foray into public book readings for many new authors, and quite a few frequent visitors will return, including Martha Stewart, Nikki Giovanni, Salman Rushdie, and -- appearing as a cowbell player in the literati band the Rock Bottom Remainders , not as an author -- Simpsons creator Matt Groening, who, according to Kaplan made his Book Fair debut a quarter century or so ago at the very first fair. Mitchell Kaplan shared some of his fondest Book Fair memories with me at the Café at Books & Books -- click the video above to hear the man himself wax nostalgic about the likes of James Baldwin and Gore Vidal.
The Miami International Book Fair began on Sunday but it goes through November 16. Click here for a complete schedule of events and authors.