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.
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The Miami International Book Fair began on Sunday but it goes through November 16. Click here for a complete schedule of events and authors.