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Book Fair Announces Author List

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Artists have Basel. Filmmakers have MIFF. Geniuses have the Book Fair.

My inner nerd (well, maybe it's outer, too...) did the running man this morning when it saw PR-extraordinaire Lisa Palley's email announcing the Author List for the 2009 Miami Book Fair. (November 8 - 15, 2009)

The fact that last year was the Silver anniversary of the fair and this year, if you haven't heard, ain't such a good year to be a non-profit arts organization means that the list has a little less star power than last year, but quite honestly, I think there are some benefits to that. I see fewer celebrity names on here, but lots of lots of real authors--you know, the ones who actually write books because it's the only thing they truly love doing.

Case in point, the final "Evenings With..." this year is Richard Powers, a lesser known novelist who might otherwise get lumped into the weekend schedule, but whose talent, resume, and literary standing certainly qualify for a Friday night reading.

So kudos to Alina, Lissette, Mitchell, and everyone else over at the Florida Center for the Literary Arts for putting together an incredible Book Fair during tough times. Please, Riptide reader, if you're able, make a donation to keep the Fair running at full-strength.

Here are the highlights so far (incomplete because confirmations are still rolling in):

Al Gore and Ralph Nader head up the "Politicians You Either Love or Hate" category, while Dr. Sanjay Gupta fulfills your "Hey, I know that doctor from TV!" fix.

Designer Todd Oldham will be an exciting draw for Bravo watchers, while author, comedian, and "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me!" Host Roy Blount Jr. (along with Alan Cheuse) will please the public radio listeners.

"Curb Your Enthusiam" watchers have Sussie Essman (Jeff Garlin's hilariously abusive spouse) to look forward to, and M*A*S*H* devotees can pencil in a reading from Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, AKA Mike Farrell.

YA readers will no doubt screech over the presence of Meg Cabot, and Francophiles will bleu themselves at a chance to spend an hour with the guy who wrote "A Year in Provence" (Peter Mayle).

Obama fanatics can relive '08 in readings by Elizabeth Alexander and VP debate host Gwen Ifill.

In the "Hmm, that's interesting category", you've got a graphic novel by Melvin Van Peebles, (but I'm actually pretty excited about that--Van Peebles can do anything)--and apparently a book about the Stooges by-who else?-El Portal resident Iggy Pop. (Shirts are optional at that one...)

In the "Local Love" category, you've got FIU grad Dennis Lehane, his master's thesis advisor John Dufresne & program head Les Standiford, former Herald columnist Ana Menendez, South Beach Starbucks regular Gerald Posner, Dexter author Jeff Lindsay, Hialeah born-n-raised short story writer Jennine Capo Crucet, poets Campbell McGrath, Jesse Millner, Barbara Nightingale and Adrian Castro, UM prof Mia Leonin, Miami-Dade College prof Geoffrey Philip, and the Miami Poetry Collective ("I'm not only the Club President, but I'm also a member"). 

Writers in general that I'm personally excited about (not that anyone asked) include: Jonathan Lethem, Nobel winner Orhan Pamuk, Sherman Alexie (also a poet and YA author), George Packer, Sadia Shepard (we were in an improv group together in college and her book rocks), Rockbottom Remainder Barbara Kingsolver, Philip Lopate (reading from a book about Susan Sontag), FSU prof and poet Barbara Hamby, and the wildly inventive Lydia Davis.

If there are any bombshell announcements (like, say, Jimmy Buffett has bought the Book Fair and is re-naming it the "Miami LandShark Fair"), I'll keep you all posted. Until then, start reading! 

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