Top Ten Miami Book Fair International Events

By | November 14th, 2010 | No Comments


The week-long Miami Book Fair International starts today, and with hundreds of events on the schedule choosing the ten best is no easy task. As in a game of musical chairs, inevitably one rare literary opportunity or another finds itself without a spot on the list. Which is to say, the Fair boasts enough high-quality guests and events to make a book worm wriggle with glee. But with only 24 hours in the day and a $10 fee to see some of the headliners (John Waters, Patti Smith, Pat Conroy), you’re likely going to have to make some choices. To help you decide, here, in chronological order, are our top ten recommendations, which include a few of the big names, some local writers, and mostly freebies.

1. Jay-Z in conversation with Cornel West via webcast (Monday, Nov. 15 @ 7 p.m.)

While this would be far cooler in person, don’t miss a rare chance to hear two very different American iconoclasts shooting the breeze. Jay-Z will discuss Decoded, “an intimate, first-hand account of an artist, his work, and the culture that so powerfully shaped him.”

Admission: Free

2. Cuba: My Revolution (Monday, Nov. 15 – Sunday, Nov. 21)

This exhibition will showcase originals from Inverna Lockpez’s 1960 graphic novel Cuba: My Revolution, “the story of a teenager who put aside her dreams of being an artist to become a doctor and militiawoman when Fidel Castro came to power.” The exhibit features originals for the book by acclaimed comics creator Dean Haspiel and reproductions of Lockpez’s 1960s drawings.

Admission: Free

3. John Waters, Role Models (Wednesday, Nov. 17 @ 8 p.m.)

Perhaps “the filthiest person alive” for more than 40 years, John Waters will discuss his collection of essays on Tennessee Williams, a lesbian stripper, and a Charles Manson devotee (among others). Question is, Will he ride in on a pink flamingo?

Admission: $10 ticket required

4. Patti Smith, Just Kids (Friday, Nov. 19 @ 8 p.m.)

The holy brat of art-punk, Patti Smith will discuss her memoir, “a haunted elegy for both her soul mate Robert Mapplethorpe and a lost New York City.”

Admission: $10 ticket required

5. Ferdie Pacheco, Tales from the 5th St. Gym: Ali, the Dundees, and the Golden Age of Boxing (Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 11 a.m.)

Who doesn’t like a good fight story, particularly one told by a member of Muhammad Ali’s inner circle? Ferdie Pacheco’s book chronicles the history of the 5th St. Gym, in Miami Beach, the epicenter of the boxing world in the 50s and 60s and the site of the famous Beatles-Ali bout.

Admission: Free

6. Greil Marcus, Bob Dylan by Griel Marcus: Writings 1968-2010 + Alex Ross, Listen to This (Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 12:30 p.m.)

The only person who knows more about music than Greil Marcus is Alex Ross. The only person who knows more about music than Alex Ross is Greil Marcus. Get it? Bring your notepad and clear your iPod.

Admission: Free ticket required

7. Gay Talese, The Silent Season of a Hero: The Sports Writing of Gay Talese (Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 4 p.m.)

In 1966, with “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold”, widely considered one of the greatest magazine stories ever written, Talese proved you could write a definitive profile on one of the world’s most famous people without as much as asking Ol’ Blue Eyes a single question. He also proved he was a genius and a New Journalism pioneer. Now 78 years old, Talese will discuss his collection of sports writing, which includes pieces written in his inimitable style between 1948 and 2006.

Admission: Free

8. Deborah Desilets, Morris Lapidus: Architecture of Joy (Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 10 a.m.)

50 years since Lincoln Road was redesigned to be the “Fifth Avenue of the South”, it is as good a time as ever to learn about Morris Lapidus, the man behind the eight-block strip of MiMo splendor as well as the Eden Roc and Fountainebleu hotels.

Admission: Free

9. Edwidge Danticat, Haiti Noir (Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 12 p.m.)

In the aftermath of a cataclysmic earthquake and amid a devastating cholera outbreak, Haiti is indeed living in dark times right now. Edited by acclaimed Haitian writer, MacArthur Foundation “Genius”, Haitian native and Miami local Edwidge Danticat, Haiti Noir is a collection of short stories — mysteries, murders, thrillers — that explores the darkness in brilliant prose.

Admission: Free

10. Jonathan Franzen, Freedom: A Novel (Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 5 p.m.)

The National Book Award-winner and Pulitzer Prize-finalist will discuss his “epic of contemporary love and marriage which comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl and the heavy weight of empire.”

Admission: Free ticket required

Honoroable Mention: E. O. Wilson on Anthill: A Novel (Friday, Nov. 19 @ 6 p.m., $10); Dave Eggers on Zeitoun (Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 11:30 a.m., Free); Salman Rushdie on Luke and the Fire of Life (Saturday, Nov. 20 @ 5 p.m., Free)

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