A recap of the Miami Book Fair 2022

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, author of “My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives,” posed with Sterling Cole, a junior from Atlanta studying political science, and Jamie-Williams Smith, president of Student Government. Williams-Smith hosted Hunter-Gault on Nov. 15 for a candid discussion about her storied career as a black journalist in the United States and her role in desegregating the University of Georgia as a student in 1961. Photo: Joshua Prezant / University of Miami

The 39th Miami Book Fair ran from November 13 to 20, bringing together authors and book lovers in an interactive, enriching and diverse experience. Miami-Dade College (MDC) has hosted the road fair since its first edition in 1984 and this year’s edition could not have been better.

The colorful stands were used as a space for Books & Books, a section for various publishing houses to exhibit their literature as well as for individual authors to sign copies of their books. Each of the booths had a number that made identification and navigation easier for attendees, especially those expecting to meet a specific author.

The street fair featured different entry points and a variety of opportunities to explore. Every corner of the country had its own energy and added something to the conversation about literature and art.

On the Off the Shelf stage, there was live music, kitchen and cookbook conversations, poetry readings by Miami’s Favorite Poetry Project and the Literary Death Match, a fun competition where authors perform and read their works in seven minutes or less before a panel of renowned judges who counted literary merit, performance and intangibles.

This event was the perfect opportunity for fans to engage with authors and get a signed copy in a more personal way, as well as for authors and publishers to showcase their work to the public.

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“It was very gratifying to see so many people react to my book and tell me their stories, so when I see the impact I had on someone’s life through my story, I’m even more sure it was worth it,” Cristiana said. Pinciroli, author of “Sport, a scene for life”, one of the books presented at this event.

Pinciroli was on hand on both days of the street fair to sign copies and chat with readers about its release.

The University of Miami was also present at the Miami Book Fair, as TheUCreates showcased and represented the UM community at one of the booths. They also had a list of selected literary pieces from university authors, as well as sponsored events during the week. One of those events was a conversation between guitarist, writer and producer Lenny Kaye and author Rachel Felder.

“We have a substantial collection of fan films, over fifteen thousand of them at this point, and a very important part of that collection is the Lenny Kaye science fiction fan film collection,” said UM’s Head of Special Collections, Cristina Favretto at the start of the panel, highlighting the valid reason for UM’s sponsorship of the talk.

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Kaye promoted his book Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments in Rock and Roll and compared his writing process to that of making music.

“I believe in the best writing you have rhythm and melody, and in the same way when you play a guitar solo, it has a narrative arc,” Kaye said.

He wrote about what influenced his music by making the story descriptive on a level that readers imagined themselves in it. Along with the release, he and Ace Records created an accompanying CD of songs that reflected the transformative moments described in the memoir.

“I just love the process of writing. Playing music is a performance art and you are doing it in the moment. It’s here, it’s gone. But there’s something nice about the contemplative aspect of writing,” Kaye said.

His curiosity and love of music, history, and how each transformative moment leads to another, makes anyone unfamiliar with the subject want to read the book and learn more.

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In addition to the street fair in the last three days, several talks took place at the MDC throughout the week and were streamed virtually. The Miami Online Book Fair, a fallout from the pandemic that continued this year, provided in-person access to content for those unable to attend.

The panels were divided on the main section of their website between fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s/teens, but deeper searches revealed more categories like comics, Ibero-American and Spanish.

Other highlighted panels from the fair included one between political commentator Ana Navarro and acclaimed actor Billy Porter about his memoir Unprotected, a panel with Rainbow Rowell about her short story collection Scattered Showers, and one between model Paulina Porizkova and the writer Dani Shapiro. on Porizkova’s book “No filter: the good, the bad and the beautiful”. All of these are available to stream on the Miami Book Fair website.

Overall, the event that used to take place over two days has now benefited from including an entire week of panelists and speakers, still retaining the last three days for closer contact with literature, music, art and people.


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