The election is over, but for activists and organizers, that only marks a new chapter in the fight. In times of trouble, looking to strong leaders can help you lift your weary head — and numerous leaders are making their way to Miami this month.
This year’s Miami Book Fair will host activist writers who turn their words into weapons for justice, taking a stance on crucial issues and vocalizing what’s often difficult or unpopular to say. Whether it’s speaking out against abuse and discrimination or sharing stories of overcoming personal or societal struggles, these ten authors at this year’s Book Fair will give you the fuel to fight for progress.
1. Kate Schatz. Girl power! Feminist writer, activist, and educator Kate Schatz has written a book titled Rad Girls Can, illustrated by activist and artist Miriam Klein Stahl. The book is the most recent in a series that includes Rad American Women A-Z, Rad Women Worldwide, and My Rad Life. Schatz's newest book profiles badass women who are living awesome lives. Some are killing it in the male-dominated sports of boxing, rock climbing, and skateboarding, while others are speaking out against injustice and advocating for young girls worldwide. Watch out — these young women are making waves. Schatz will speak at a panel titled “Against All Odds: Powerful Women Persevere.” 11 a.m. Saturday, November 17, at MDC Live Arts Lab, 300 NE Second Ave., Bldg. 1, First Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
2. Natalie Hopkinson. Artists' voices are often some of a movement's most powerful, because creative minds can produce visual, conceptual, or written works to dissent against unacceptable circumstances. In her book A Mouth Is Always Muzzled: Six Dissidents, Five Continents, and the Art of Resistance, Natalie Hopkinson looks at the role of artists in contemporary politics and life throughout the world. She focuses on six iconoclasts: painter Bernadette Persaud, poet Ruel Johnson, historian Walter Rodney, novelist John Berger, artist Kara Walker, and feminist author and activist bell hooks. There couldn’t be six greater creative revolutionaries from which to draw inspiration. Hopkinson will speak at “Art and Resistance.” Noon Saturday, November 17, at Miami-Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 7128, Building 7, First Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
3. Neel Patel. It feels damn good to shatter racial stereotypes. In If You See Me, Don't Say Hi, Neel Patel writes 11 short stories, most of which feature first-generation Indian-Americans as protagonists. Patel presents culturally common occurrences, like arranged marriage, and subverts them. The stories examine sexuality, complicated family dynamics, and other universal scenarios to which all can relate. Patel will read from his book at “Short Stories: A Reading.” 12:30 p.m. Saturday, November 17, at Miami-Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 3314, Building 3, Third Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
4. Sylvia Acevedo. Little girls everywhere need strong female role models. Sylvia Acevedo’s memoir, Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, documents the author’s path from underprivileged youth to, you guessed it, becoming a bona fide rocket scientist. The book begins with Acevedo’s upbringing in a traditional Mexican-American family and chronicles the introduction of the Girl Scouts into her life and how that group transformed her trajectory. With the help of the Girl Scouts, Acevedo became a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she worked on the Voyager mission. She now serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts, the organization that helped build the woman she is today. Acevedo will speak at “From Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist: A Memoir.” 4 p.m. Saturday, November 17, at MDC Live Arts Lab, 300 NE Second Ave., Bldg. 1, First Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
5. Maureen Seaton and Neil de la Flor. The LGBTQIA community has rallied in recent times against the threat of discrimination from conservative politicians. Reading Queer: Poetry in a Time of Chaos, edited by poets Maureen Seaton and Neil de la Flor (who's also a New Times contributor), is a collection of the work of 50 poets who explore the essence of being LGBTQIA in troubling times. The voices in the anthology range from subversive to courageous and address the emotional struggles that queer folks have endured over the past few years. Seaton and de la Flor will speak at “Anthologies That Rock and Resist.” 10:30 a.m. Sunday, November 18, at Miami-Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 6100, Building 6, First Floor. Free with book fair admission.
6. Alissa Quart. In the U.S., inevitable gentrification, expensive childcare, and stagnant wages have made it impossible for some families to survive and thrive. In Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, Alissa Quart explains how and why the middle-class American dream is imploding before our eyes. She argues that the high cost of parenthood and precarious jobs landed us here, but then offers revolutionary solutions on how to move forward. Quart will read from her book at “Real-life Economics: Readings from New Nonfiction.” 12:30 p.m. Sunday, November 18, at Miami-Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 7106, Building 7, First Floor. Free with book fair admission.
7. Sandra Gail Lambert. Loneliness can be a silent killer. In A Certain Loneliness: A Memoir, Sandra Gail Lambert describes in poetic prose the permeating loneliness of her disability as she progressed from leg braces to crutches to a manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair as she grew older. She describes her struggle with disability and queerness with candor and humor and provides inspiring words for others struggling under the same circumstances. Lambert will read from her work at “Two Memoirs: A Reading.” 2 p.m. Sunday, November 18, at Miami-Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 8202, Building 8, Second Floor. Free with book fair admission.
8. Natasha Ngan. Natasha Ngan’s young adult novel Girls of Paper and Fire, which is based partly on Asian mythology and inspired by the author’s experience growing up in Malaysia, stars a strong-willed girl who breaks an oppressive mold. Each year in the book’s fantasy world, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper girls, essentially concubines, to serve the king. But this year, Lei, a girl from the lowest caste, catches the eye of the king and is made the ninth Paper girl. Despite being stripped of her freedom, Lei relents and revolts and even falls in love with another servant girl. A queer, Asian, kickass protagonist? Yes, please! Ngan will speak at “My Body Is My Own: YA Women Fight Back.” 2:30 p.m. Sunday, November 18, at MDC Live Arts Lab, 300 NE Second Ave., Bldg. 1, First Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
9. Hieu Minh Nguyen. Powerful poetry can inspire readers to take action. Hieu Minh Nguyen’s highly reviewed Not Here devastates and stirs readers’ hearts as he discusses mental health, trauma, family, and race. The book’s 39 poems take readers inside the mind and body of the queer Vietnamese poet. His delivery is just as powerful as his written words; the video of his poem “Notes on Staying” has received over 90,000 views on YouTube. You need to hear this poet spit his words; it’ll move you. Nguyen will speak at “Intolerable Violences: Writing Into the Wound.” 3 p.m. Sunday, November 18, at MDC Live Arts Lab, 300 NE Second Ave., Bldg. 1, First Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission.
Courtesy of Miami Book Fair
10. Antonia Williams-Gary. It’s often difficult for victims of emotional abuse to talk about their experiences and even harder to speak out against a high-profile abuser. Antonia Williams-Gary does just that in Reclaimed: A Memoir when she reveals her emotional abuse by Howard Gary, Miami’s first African-American city manager, who was involved in a corruption scandal in the '90s. Williams-Gary chronicles her journey of recovery and, through her words, empowers other women in similar positions to break free and speak out. Williams-Gary will read from her memoir at “On Their Own Terms: Readings From Two Novels.” 4:30 p.m. Sunday, November 18, at Miami Dade College, 300 NE Second Ave., Room 8202, Building 8, Second Floor, Miami. Free with book fair admission. Miami Book Fair. Sunday through November 18 at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; miamibookfair.com. Admission ranges from free to $25.
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