By today, Tuesday, the Miami Book Fair International is already in full swing. Sure, the part most people think of when they think of the event — the tented street fair around downtown MIami — doesn’t start until this weekend. But possibly the more exciting part for bookworms, the slate of programs featuring authors in real life, started Sunday. A few marquee names have already appeared, like Tom Wolfe and Junot Diaz, but the programs roll on from tonight onward.
But beyond the blockbuster sellers, the Miami Book Fair International also, happily, celebrates the city’s homegrown talent. Especially this weekend, there are local poets, journalists, novelists, and all other types of writers reading and speaking throughout the day. Here are five Miami Book Fair International events where you can catch South Floridian scribes, this time in the early part of the fair — check back for part two.
Friday, November 16
6 to 10 p.m.: Happy Hour with the Bookleggers and Literary Death Match @ Bardot
This official book fair event goes off site for the appropriate Midtown/Wynwood natural habitat of its intended audience. Here, Bookleggers, the pop-up used book swap that comes monthly to Lester’s, teams up with Literary Death Match. The latter is another locally grown regular event that pits four writers against each other in rounds of live readings that are then voted on by audiences and all-star judges. Also, there is booze. Singles, if you want to meet interesting young people in Warby Parker glasses, you know where to go to creep on ‘em.
Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-576-5570, or visit bardotmiami.com
7:30 p.m. Mayor Manny Diaz Sees Miami Transformed @ the Freedom Tower
City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz has, so far, impressively mostly avoided the kinds of bizarre scandals that beset other Miami-Dade County mayors, so for that alone he deserves a gold star. But tonight, he reads from his book Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time. In this quasi-academic tome (it’s been put out by the University of Pennsylvania Press!) he makes a case for using Miami’s transformation as a potential model for other American cities. Naturally, please go with an open mind.
The Freedom Tower, Biscayne Blvd. and NE 6th St. Visit miamibookfair.com/events/mayor_manny_diaz_sees_emmiami_transforme.aspx
Saturday, November 17
10 a.m.: Ready, Aim, Fire! Character Assassination in Cuba
Obviously, the topic of this panel is particularly salient for a large local audience. This panel brings together four academics, journalists, and all-around thinkers to discuss the Cuban government’s targeted reputation destruction over the years. Representing Miami proper here is Uva de Aragon, a former assistant director of the Cuban Research Institute at FIU.
Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, Building 8, 5th Floor, Room 8502. Visit miamibookfair.com/events/ready_aim_fire_character_assassination_i.aspx
10 a.m.: Dave Barry on Lunatics and Seth Reiss and Will Tracy on The Onion Book of Knowledge
For something a little lighter at the same time, there’s this humor-centric panel, featuring two young writers from the onion alongside Miami-based heavyweight Dave Barry. The latter reads from his a new novel he co-authored with Alan Aweibel, which, in fact, does not take place here, but instead focuses on two suburban dads in New Jersey.
Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, Chapman Conference Center, Building 3, 2nd Floor, Room 3210. Visit miamibookfair.com/events/dave_barry_on_emlunaticsem_and_seth_reis.aspx
10:30 a.m.: So Spoke the Earth: Giving Haiti Voice
While Latin-American voices have been well-represented in book fairs past, this panel, thankfully, takes an exploration of Haitian voices beyond just Edwidge Danticat. Well, boldfacer Danticat is still present here, but she’s joined by a number of other writers — all of them women! — from the Haitian diaspora who have contributed to the panel’s titular trilingual anthology. Among those based in Miami are Liliane Nérette-Louis, and Chantalle Francesca Verna.
Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus, Batten, Building 2, 1st Floor, Room 2106. Visit miamibookfair.com/events/so_spoke_the_earth_giving_haiti_voice.aspx