Miami Book Fair Brings Iconic Local, National Authors to Your Screen

miami book fair
(Photo by Jessica Ruscello)

Our fingers are crossed in hopes that the annual Miami Book Fair, one of South Florida’s cultural linchpins, will proceed as planned in November. But lovers of literature needn’t wait until then to engage with authors, this time courtesy of the overnight ubiquity of Zoom.

This past weekend, the Miami Book Fair began hosting virtual author readings and conversations as part of its “Physically Distanced/Socially Engaged” initiative. The events will continue for the next few weeks, and all but one of the following are free to attend. Here’s what’s on tap.

miami book fair
Richard Blanco

Tonight (Monday, April 27) at 6 p.m.: An Evening with Richard Blanco, Poems For Isolation

In 2008, Blanco, a much-celebrated Spanish-born, Miami-raised poet, became the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, reading his work for President Obama’s inauguration. He was the youngest person, first Latino, and first gay man to serve such an honor. As the title of this reading and virtual Q&A suggests, Blanco will select poems that capture the collective zeitgeist.

miami book fair

May 2 at 4 p.m.: A Virtual Afternoon With Fanny Singer and Alice Waters

One of the living legends of American dining, Alice Waters wrote the farm-to-table rulebook with her pioneering Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, introducing generations to California Cuisine. So it goes that her daughter, Fanny Singer, is herself a formidable talent in a toque. The multihyphenate Californian is a writer, editor, art historian and designer, but for this discussion Singer is supporting her new cookbook Always Home: A Daughter’s Recipes and Stories. Appearing jointly with her famous mom, she’ll discuss “food, wine and travel.” (Hey, at least we can still have two of those things!)

May 8, 7 p.m.: Brad Meltzer

Meltzer, one of South Florida’s most prolific authors, continues to spelunk the hidden corners of history with his latest book The Lincoln Conspiracy, documenting a plan to assassinate the 16th president—hatched by a secret society of pro-slavery southerners—four years before John Wilkes Booth entered Ford’s Theatre. Mark Throughbridge of the Coral Gables Chamber will engage Meltzer in conversation. This one is a ticketed event, with the $29.99 charge including a copy of The Lincoln Conspiracy.

May 13 at 6:30 p.m.: First Draft: An Online Literary Social

This casual writing workshop, scheduled as part of the Fair’s now-online-only Big Read 2020 programming, encourages drinking while writing. The cleverly named First Draft series marries happy hour imbibing with narrative craft, though even teetotalers can participate at home and develop an original story around the theme of “You Must Remember This.” Nicholas Garnett, a freelance writer published in Salon and a graduate of FIU’s MFA program, will lead the social.

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