Like a welcome tonic after the recent elections, and in anticipation of the holiday season, Miami Book Fair International (MBFI) brings together readers, writers, publishers and book sellers for a week of literary delights. MBFI 2014, the 31st of its kind, is presented and produced by The Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College (MDC). This year’s Fair is held Nov. 16-23 at MDC’s Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami. In addition to its popular Street Fair on Nov. 21-23, MBFI will also feature its well-known series of Evenings With… famous authors, an Ibero-American Authors program, activities for children and teens and The Kitchen, a series of demos and panels for food enthusiasts in partnership with MDC’s Miami Culinary Institute.

“The LGBT community in Miami is extraordinary in its diversity, activism and creativity,” says Tom Healy, the new Director of the Center for Writing and Literature @ Miami Dade College. “Every year, the Miami Book Fair brings many LGBT writers to celebrate our lives and our stories. One story that is still unfolding here in Florida is the unstoppable movement for Marriage Equality. Our community is both living and writing that story all at once. We want our readers and book-lovers to come be part of the history they are making.”

The Fair’s contribution to the cause is “Marriage Equality: Redeeming the Dream,” a panel discussion on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m. Theodore B. Olson, one of the lawyers who argued before the Supreme Court against California’s Proposition 8, will be joined by his wife (and moderator) Lady Booth Olson and two of the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case: Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier. This event is sponsored by the Robert S. Wennett and Mario Cader-Frech Foundation in conjunction with Olson’s new memoir “Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality,” which he wrote with his partner in the Prop 8 case, David Boies.

Some of the best-selling authors of the past three decades have made their South Florida appearances as part of MBFI’s Evenings With… series. On Monday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. the Fair features Anne Rice, the author of the best-selling series of vampire novels that began with Interview with the Vampire in 1976 and continues with this year’s Prince Lestat. (In addition to her own books, Rice is also the mother of gay author Christopher Rice). In order to give Rice a proper welcome, her fans are invited to come dressed in their best vampire outfit and post a selfie (#MBFILestat) before the program for a chance to win a bookstore gift certificate and a photo op with Ms. Rice.

Though Ted Olson and Anne Rice are heterosexual, their books and Olson’s legal achievements are of great importance to the LGBT community. MBFI 2014 also features a variety of LGBT authors, books and themes. This is for the Ladies Who Brunch, presented by Reading Queer on Sunday Nov. 23 at 11 a.m., “rewrites the drag queen brunch, with a twist of open-mic poetry and performance.” Equally promising is “Badass. Lip Service: True Stories,” the Double Album, a collection of the best of Lip Service taken from that literary gem’s first eight years. Editor Andrea Askowitz and some of her Lip Service writers will read from their work on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American, lesbian writer best-known for her Lambda Literary Award-winning novel Days of Awe (2001). She will facilitate “Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Stories,” a panel discussion on Saturday Nov. 22 that features contributors to the anthology of the same name. A writer who is well-known in the local LGBT community (even to those who don’t read) is poet Richard Blanco, whose poem “One Today” was featured in President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration. Blanco will read and talk about his new memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. Other LGBT authors who will read, talk or perform at the Fair include Mark Bibbins, T Cooper, Allison Gluck-Cooper, Carl Phillips, Ariel Schrag and Sean Strub. For more information about these and other Miami Book Fair authors and events, visit www.MiamiBookFair.com.


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