Chatting With Miami Book Fair & Bookish Weekend
Tell Us About Miami Book Street Fair
Paola: Thank you for joining us today, Yiselle & Marci (program manager of MBF) to answer all of our Miami Book Fair questions and share your author and event recommendations. And sharing your insider tips on how to navigate this booksy week. Marci, if you can tell us a little bit about the Miami Book Fair.
Miami Book Fair Virtual & In-Person Programming
Marci: Yes, definitely! I have to say that I am really lucky to be working with Miami Book Fair. I love my job. Miami Book Fair has programming all year around for writers and readers of all ages, not only in South Florida. But now that we have gone virtual thanks to the last couple of years, we are fully hybrid. So there is stuff for everyone. But our main event, which is what we’re all here for is November 13th to the 20th. Which is our 8 day festival. We have over 500 authors presenting on English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole. It’s a book smorgasboard so the speak.
What genres will be presented at Miami Book Fair?
We are presenting all genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children’s literature all the way from picture books to young adult. We have some comics. We have books on music and tech, and a little bit of everything. We are fully virtual in terms of author panels and presentations. But we are back 100% in person. So a 200% fair essentially.
What Miami Book Fair events are kid friendly?
Our street fair will be fully back in swing and we also have children’s alley which is for ages 0 to 12. Although, I’m sure a lot of the older kids, like me, like to go in and get your face painted and see the costume characters and things. So there’s a little bit for everybody.
There’s food trucks. It’s a really great experience all in downtown Miami Miami-Dade College is Wolfson campus.
When does planning begin for Miami Book Fair?
Yiselle: How much, obviously a lot of planning goes into the book fair and you do have events all year round, but for the book fair that starts on November 13th are you guys just planning constantly all year round for this one week? How does it work because I’ve seen the list of events and it’s so much! I just wonder how long does it take to put together?
Marci: The very short answer is that we get, you know book fair is always the weekend right before Thanksgiving, and then we get to rest during Thanksgiving weekend. And then we’re already planning for the next year even as we’re wrapping up. So it is really a full year of planning with all hands on deck. But I mean we are also even before the fair we’re already thinking of things that we can do for the next year and the years to come. You know we plan weeks, days, months in advance; but also years kind of behind the scenes. And next year is our 40th anniversary year so it’s gonna be really special. That’s one of the reasons especially for next year that we’re planning really far in advance.
Miami Book Fair Author & Book Recommendations
Paola: That’s incredible! I can’t believe it takes so long, so much work. Thank you so much for putting this together! We really are so lucky to have a Book Fair in Miami. Let’s start talking about some things that we are looking forward to. Do you want to start, Marci, telling us what is the thing you are most looking forward to? What author event at this years Miami Book Fair?
Marci: Oh that’s like asking if someone has a favorite child or like you have a favorite song. It changes every week. It’s hard to pick out of 500 but would I’ll give categories. Some of my favorites, we have an evenings with Premiere section. It’s our evening sessions. They go from Sunday to Friday. Then our main weekend with panels and everything. I will say we have some really incredible heavy hitters and tickets just put on sale on Monday. So get your Miami Book Fair tickets early.
Miami Book Fair For Music Lovers
Marci: We have Patti Smith coming. She’s on Friday. She’s a huge, huge deal. Not only the music scene but of course literary scene. And she’s one of those incredible crossover folks. She always sells out. I’m all like die hard fan. John Waters is also coming with a novel that’s really exciting. I know right?
Yiselle: I did not I did not see that one. That’s amazing.
Marci: So as soon as we get off of this, you should also get your own Miami Book Fair ticket too.
Miami Book Fair For Spanish Readers
We also have on the Spanish side, we have this incredible musician Juanes. Which I wasn’t as familiar with because I’m not very good with Spanish. But our Spanish team has put together an incredible theme and that’s how they’re kicking off the fair this year on that side. I’m a poet at heart.
Miami Book Fair For Poetry Lovers
We have a lot of great poetry. We have our 24th US Poet Laureate should be doing a virtual presentation with us Ada Limón. She’s the first latinx woman to be in the position. She’s giving a talk with the Library of Congress which is the organization that sponsors the U.S Poet Laureateship.
Authors From The National Book Awards
Marci: I would say maybe maybe an event that’s not specific to a book but we do have this incredible highlight event that will kind of start Saturday morning at 10:30 on November 19th. The National Book Awards is this really wonderful award group list. I’m not sure how you call it. Where in every genre it’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, young people’s literature and even translated literature from all over the world where they put out a long list every fall for 10 books that the Committees have said are their favorites or the best books of the year. Then they go down to a short list of five books. And then they choose a winner. We are fortunate that much of the long list is coming and so for that event it’ll be basically like a Heavy Hitters of 2022 books in all genres.
That’s always one of the most fun events for me because you get a little bit of everything and I get to discover books I would never maybe hear about or even think to read myself.
So those are some of the highlights and you can tell there’s so much that it’s hard hard to pick.
Miami Book Fair For Foodies
Paola: It’s so much. That’s why we’re happy to share some of the events that we are looking forward to in just a little bit. We would also look to hear from the audience who have joined us. What genres, what kind of books do you guys like to read? So that maybe Marci can give us some recommendations.
Paola: We already got a question from Aymara asking what events do you recommend for food lovers?
Marci: That’s an excellent question. Let me think about this. Okay, so it’s a little bit out of the box. I’m gonna answer your question on a slant kind of. I’m Korean, there’s a young adult book that an author is coming her name is Claire Ahn and her book is called I Guess I Live Here Now. It’s about a Korean American who her parents send her back to Korea to live with her family. It is not a food book per se but the descriptions of food does make your mouth water and make you really just want to eat everything that you see in kdramas and movies and things like that. So that is a slant one that I would I would definitely mention.
We are no longer offering The cookbook sections that we usually do but we do have a lot of others. We have some I’m thinking about. What is that book? It is a book that’s talking about food also it’s like very specific. I’m gonna have to come back to that one. My brain needs to work a little bit.
Paola: People are very interested in that book in the comments and are just asking if you could say the name of the book again.
Marci: Yes, it’s called I Guess I Live Here Now by Claire Ahn and it’s a young adult book. I think she’s presenting on Saturday also in person.
More Miami Book Fair Poetry Laureates
Paola: We have more submissions of genres. Stef is asking about poetry and Christine is asking about fiction/mystery.
Marci: Yes, absolutely! For virtual poetry what I can say is that in addition to I know I mentioned the US Poet Laureate which will be virtual. But we have Sharon Olds and Sandra Cisneros they’re both doing their own readings and conversations. I know that Sandra Cisneros’ book also is the first poetry book in 20 years that she’s had. She’s written a lot of you know other books but this will be her return to poetry it’s called Woman Without Shame and there is actually also a Spanish version being published at the same time. So people can get either English or Spanish.
Sharon Olds was actually shortlisted for the National Book Awards this year for poetry and her book is called Balladz with a z. It’s just being a little edgy with this book which covers the last few years of going through the pandemic but also she’s very incredible about writing about her personal life with abandon. Those are two that I would recommend for virtual and for in-person too.
We have Roger Reeves who’s a really incredible very cerebral poet his book is called Best Barbarian. We have the Poet Laureate of Jamaica, Olive Senior. She has a book called Hurricane Watch. It’s the selected collection and she’s going to be in a conversation with Gianna Russo who is the Wordsmith of Tampa which is their version of Poet Laureate in that area.
Then Richard Blanco who’s Miami Dade County’s Poet Laureate. It’ll be a conversation about their newest books and poems, how poetry can work in the community and their roles as poets in service to the community. I would definitely shout out those.
Miami Book Fair Recommendations: Mysteries, Thrillers & Fiction
Marci: Then for Mysteries and thrillers and fiction, we do have Brian Meltzer. He’s presenting his newest book The Lightning Rod. It is a more of a thriller than a mystery. I think and I’m just going to rattle off a few.
We’ve got a book by Leah Sottile called when the Moon Turns to Blood. Lori Vallow Chad, Chad Daybell Case and a story of murder wild faith and end time. So it’s a little bit of mystery a little bit of thriller.
Jeff Lindsay, who is also a well-known mystery thriller writer, is also going to be presenting his newest novel Three-edged Sword. Anthony Horowitz is also coming with a mystery called The Twist of a Knife. So several several options to choose from for yes both of those genres.
Miami Book Fair Recommendations For Young Adult Readers
Yiselle: It sounds like there is a lot to choose from in every genre. I know that the week is full of events for all different types of genres but it’s just so great to see that every genre has so many options for different authors or books or even different types within the genre that you can choose to go.
For me my most anticipated events that I’m looking forward to are all happening on November 20th which is good in the sense that I can go and spend the whole day. Which will be nice. I’m really looking forward to Sylvia Moreno Garcia I love her books. I love her writing and just every single thing that she does. I’m really excited I’m looking forward to her event.
I’m also really looking forward to Angie Cruz who has a new book out, How Not To Drown In A Glass Of Water. I’m very excited about that. I’m also excited for E Lockhart who I is really popular I guess is it is it considered young adult. Yeah yeah I’m gonna go with that we’re all young at heart but love it. I’m really excited for that event.
I’m and also about Kali Fajardo-Anstine and her book Women Of Light. I’m so excited for that event as well. I think, you know no bias, but I think Saturday the 20th it’s gonna be a great day.
Paola: I also had my Silvia Moreno Garcia panel on my to-do list. Yeah, November the 20th – you guys have to write that on your calendar because that is definitely a great day to go to the Miami Book Fair.
Paola: Other ones that I was looking forward to is Kevin Nealon because I love comedy and he’s been on SNL and he’s just hilarious. If you’re into comedy you definitely want to check out Kevin Nealon’s author conversation. I also had Patti Smith because if you love music and punk and rock then you’re going to want to check out Patti Smith. Those were all on my list.
Paola: I saw a recommendation go by from Yvette she says she recommends Oscar Hokeah – Calling for a Blanket Dance. He’ll be at the book fair.
Where Can I Buy Miami Book Fair Tickets?
Paola: Marci where can people get tickets to the Miami Book Fair?
Marci: Oh, that’s an excellent question. This is actually perfect timing. The general tickets are on sale. You can you can get your street fair tickets. The way that it works is that you buy one ticket to access the street fair and then the author presentations are in the building. So once you get in you can you have access to any panel that you like and the whole street fair children Valley. You can find all of that at miamibookfair.com
Purchase Your Miami Book Fair Tickets in Advance and Save
Marci: I will say that if you purchase tickets online in advance of the fair, you can save a couple dollars for the two day ticket. I highly recommend buying tickets in advance. A single ticket for an adult is $8 if you purchase it online.
If you buy both tickets for both Saturday and Sunday at once you know that you’re just gonna come Saturday and Sunday and spend that whole weekend with us at the fair – it’s $15 combined. So again you’re saving a little bit of money.
What’s the Miami Book Fair Ticket Price For Children?
Marci: Kids 12 and under are always free. If you’re ages 13 to 18 and you’re a teenager then it’s $8 for both days. So it’s $4 per day or if you’re over 62.
If you wait to purchase on site at the at the street fair entrances then it goes up from $8 to t$10 for an adult and $5 instead of $4 for teenagers and over 62. Again 12 and under is still free.
Miami Book Fair Free Admission Day
Marci: I will say that if you are like live authors are not my jam. I just want to enjoy the street fair, buy some arepas, listen to some live music, and explore the children’s Valley. Friday is a free admission day. There are no author presentations except for a kids field trip day that we do with the local schools. But the street fair is fully open and the children’s Valley is also operational with all the activity tents and stuff. So if you want to you know skip work in school and enjoy your your day at the Miami Book Fair then that’s a day for free.
Miami Book Fair Free Admission for Miami-Dade College Students, Faculty & Staff
Marci: If you are a college student at Miami-Dade College a faculty or a staff member bring your MDC ID and you get in for free. No matter what age you are.
Miami Book Fair Tickets For Premier Evening Author Events
For the special Premier evening events with authors, tickets are available at miamibookfair.com. You can purchase one or more of those events. The tickets look a little pricier for these events, but they have the book included in the ticket cost. And if you want to make it a date night, you know bring a plus one. You can purchase a second general admission for $15 and then you can share the book.
But who wouldn’t want more books?
Paola: That’s just what I said! But I do love sharing a book though.
Miami Book Fair For Kids
Paola: We did have a comment from Aymara again asking if there is a day that you recommend especially for kids.
Marci: Oh that’s hard to say. I would say that if you have Elementary School age kids, if you want to see an author on Saturday. We have Sadia Faruki and Renee Watson. They’re presenting two books for like third through fifth grade.
The children’s Alley is open both days. The activity teams are the same and the activities that give away free books if you go to all the activity tabs and get your bookmarks. So just a heads up on that tip. I would say both days for kids if you have a reader or even a reluctant reader. Then it might depend on the actual author that you might want to see.
But I would say so for example we have a horror young adult a panel that’s only on Saturday it has Tiffany D Jackson, Ryan lasalla, Sarah farazan and Lamar Giles and that one all their books are a little spooky, a little horror. You know it’s a little past Halloween but who doesn’t love to be scared throughout? So that’s very specific to Saturday and then of course E. Lockhart is on Sunday. We have a comic book middle grade channel on Sunday. So if you are if you’re more like the comic book geek, then you might pick Sunday.
Yiselle: That’s all amazing, thank you so much. It just sounds like there’s so much for everybody whether you have younger kids or middle grade kids or if you’re just an adult that loves books and wants to go to a book fair. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Thank you for that detailed explanation and explaining the tickets so that people know exactly how to get the best deal.
Marci: Yeah, I always say that the challenge is like we offer so many different types of books. I guarantee that if you like any kind of books we probably have them. So no one can say like oh Miami book fair doesn’t get my kind of reading, you know?
You’re always welcome to peruse the fair guide which is downloadable as a pdf online. Again, go to miamibookfair.com. You can also follow us at @miamibookfair on any of the social media platforms and we’ll keep posting stuff. You can ask us questions and you know slide into our DMs.
I’ve been vetoed every year to be like the book hotline. They’re like, “You have too much to do Marci.” But I would love to just sit there and be a recommender of books of all of the authors coming to the fair.
Paola: That’s so funny because you just ran a hotline right now for us!
Yiselle: This has been invaluable information for for myself and for everybody listening.
Paola: I’m going to share this as an actual post so because so many books and authors went by that we can go back and revisit and find other things that we want to check out.
How To Apply To Participate As An Author at Miami Book Fair
I think we have just time for one more question. I did notice there’s a couple of authors here who joined us. If you can give them some advice on how they can apply for next year to be considered.
Marci: Absolutely! Hello authors. Thank you for your art! We have two different ways that people can participate in the Miami Book Fair programming every year. So in about March give us a little bit of leeway for next year. In March we will update our guidelines for submitting to the 2023 Miami Book Fair again. It’s always the weekend before Thanksgiving. So you can already save the date for next year.
It is a rigorous process. It’s incredibly competitive. We do have a lot of space for authors but we also have to sadly turn down a lot of really incredible people. So don’t take rejection personally. We are grateful for your work. It goes through a process with the author selection committee and we do take as I mentioned books in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
There are guidelines when we update them they may change from year to year. The submission deadline every year is usually the end of May. So just keep that in mind it’s March through May.
There is another way too. We have on the street fair what we call writers row and that is where you as an author can actually rent a booth for either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, or the whole weekend.
If you don’t want to present, you want to be like where it all happens with the crowds free-flowing through the streets, that’s an area it’s actually scattered all over the street fair map. And so you can work with our coordinators that way if you’d rather do it that way. And that’s for all ages as well.
Paola: That is amazing. Thank you so much for the info Marci.
Yiselle: I’m really excited. I mean you’ve made me even more excited for the Miami Book Fair just listening to all of the genres and all of the authors that even I may have missed looking at the guide. Because there’s so much on there and I can’t wait. I’m so excited!
Paola: Thank both of you so much for joining us tonight I love talking books um we should get together again and then we can have a little more time because I wanted to ask people to share their favorite moment when they met an author or just book recommendations and stuff. So we should get together and do this again for sure!