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Monday, December 11, 2023
December 11 , 2023

Miami Book Fair celebrates 40 years of literature and culture

UM student Kyle Somelofske browsing through books in the Richter Library.
UM student Kyle Somelofske browsing through books in the Richter Library.

Now entering its 40th year, the renowned Miami Book Fair is once again celebrating literary culture in Downtown Miami from Nov. 12-19.

What started as a dream of independent bookstore owners, librarians and educational professionals has become one of the most successful and inclusive book fairs in the U.S.. With over 500 authors and 200,000 attendees, the annual book fair hosts a wide variety of programs catered to multiple demographics over eight days.

UM, a premium sponsor of the book fair, highly encourages student attendance. Rudy Fernandez, the Executive Vice President for University Operations and External Affairs and Chief of Staff, sheds light on the relationship between the fair and the University.

“We have a mission that consists of three parts,” Fernandez said. “It’s education, it’s research, it’s clinical care. But for education, promoting reading and lifelong learning is something that we deeply believe in at the University, and I think the book fair certainly promotes that.”

Taking place at Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson campus, here’s what to expect at this year’s Miami-Dade Book Fair.

On Sunday, Nov. 12, the fair kicked off with an Opening Night Block Party. Grammy Award-winning producer Louie Vega played live music ranging from hip-hop to salsa as visitors enjoyed the pop-up market “Smorgasburg Miami” right on the Wolfson Campus Plaza.

Throughout the week, invited award-winning authors like Jada Pinkett Smith, Mitch Albom and Kerry Washington will sit on various panels and share their insights. These author speeches, including the “Evenings With” series, are ticketed events that range from $30 to $40.

UM faculty members will also be featured in several of these panels, including Germane Barnes, an associate professor at the School of Architecture, and Phil Harling, director of the Center for Humanities and professor at the College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to the author speeches are a set of programs catered to the diverse international community of Miami. Book readings, writing workshops and speeches, including “ReadCarribean,” “IberoAmerican Authors” and “ReadingEast,” will give literary insight into different nationalities.

From Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov.19, the famous Street Fair will welcome the public to enjoy various book vendors, artisans and other literary events. A diverse set of exhibitors — called the Writers’ Row — ensures that all visitors have something that appeals to them, including sections for graphic novels, Spanish-language novels and books for children.

The Street Fair will feature traditionally-published and self-published authors promoting their novels. Happening at the same time is “Off the Shelf”, a small music festival that features live musicians and DJs while guests visit the hosted art exhibitions and food spots.

The Street Fair is a ticketed event that costs $10 at the gate, however, visitors on Nov. 17 will enjoy free admission for that day. University of Miami Students are eligible for discounted tickets online, with up to 50% off, when using the code: UMMBFDISCOUNT.

Can’t make it to the Wolfson campus? The Miami Book Fair will employ a hybrid system this year and virtually stream programs on their Miami Book Fair Online service.

A comprehensive guide to the book fair’s schedule and event locations can be found on the Miami Book Fair website.

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