For nearly four decades, Miami Book Fair has been one of the largest literary events in the country, attracting thousands to readings, panel discussions, workshops and the popular street fair where thousands of titles were on display.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers have expanded the schedule of events and reach of the festival, thanks to the internet.
“Transforming an event that has been exclusively in person for more than a generation has indeed been challenging, but the opportunity for growth through digital delivery of programs is also motivating for us,” said Lissette Mendez, the festival’s programs director. “Over 37 years, we have built a Miami Book Fair that represents diversity of subject matter, diversity of presenting authors and diversity of fairgoers. We have built a program that introduces more than 20,000 children each year to books and writers, instilling in each of them a love for reading that will support their educational pursuits.”
Starting Nov. 15, bibliophiles will be able to join live events, stream interviews with authors on-demand and purchase featured books. Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor Margaret Atwood (“Dearly: New Poems,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Testaments”) headlines the festival.
More than 200 authors and poets will also be featured, including Ann Patchett, Michael Connelly, Marcus Samuelsson, Claudia Rankine, Elizabeth Acevedo, Abby Wambach, Gene Luen Yang and Kwame Alexander. Each event will have a dedicated video page for the stream.
As in past years, the fair will feature multicultural programs in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole representing fiction, politics, history, memoirs, poetry and graphic novels, as well as LGBT-themed works by Benjamin Garcia, Carolina de Robertis, Danez Smith and poet Roy G. Guzmán.
This year, many of the LGBT-themed titles come from the young adult genre, including George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto,” an Amazon Best Book of the Year optioned for television by Gabrielle Union, and T.J. Klune’s “The Extraordinaries,” a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
Stonewall and Lambda Book Award-winner Kacen Callender will present “Felix Ever After,” a revelatory young adult novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time, while Genevieve Hudson's “Boys of Alabama” introduces a sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, who learns about football, falls in love, questions his faith and navigates a strange power.
“Our mission is to engage our community through inclusive, accessible, programs that promote reading and support writers. Though we will be online, we will still be the Miami Book Fair, and we look forward to gathering in person, once again, when the conditions allow,” Mendez concluded.
Miami Book Fair runs Nov. 15 – 22. For a complete schedule of online events and to purchase featured titles, go to MiamiBookFair.com.