Sketchbook Project headed to a garden near you

By | January 15th, 2014 | 1 Comment

The Sketchbook Project’s custom-fitted mobile library will make its first local stop on Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

When you enter the Brooklyn Art Library, home to the Sketchbook Project’s collection of 30,000 artist sketchbooks, you can almost feel the shelves vibrating with creative intensity. Decorated in every color and pattern imaginable, the books showcase the creativity of artists from more than 130 countries. Anyone can participate in the Sketchbook Project, and participants are free to fill up the pages of their sketchbook in any way they like. Some artists do exactly what you’d expect — sketch — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Others write poetry, create collages, even build sculptures that unfold when you open their books.

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Writing backwards with Esmeralda Santiago

By | November 13th, 2013 | No Comments

Born in Puerto Rico, Santiago keeps returning to the island in her memoirs and novels.

This post is sponsored by the Miami Writers Institute.

Puerto Rican writer Esmeralda Santiago left La Isla del Encanto for Brooklyn when she was 11 years old, but her imagination keeps bringing her back. Santiago’s debut book, When I Was Puerto Rican, the first of three memoirs, depicts her impoverished and happy childhood on the island, and her latest novel, Conquistadora, is the story of Ana Cubillas, a slave-owning Puerto Rican widow who runs a sugar plantation in the mid-19th Century.

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The art and craft of living in other people’s brains

By | November 11th, 2013 | No Comments

Music legend Quincy Jones’ autobiography is one of many publishing projects Mulcahy has worked on as a writer, editor and self-described “book doctor.”

This post is sponsored by the Miami Writers Institute.

Early in her career, Patricia Mulcahy wanted to be an investigative reporter. “But I came of age in the post-Watergate era and everyone wanted to be an investigative reporter,” she says. “I couldn’t even get a job writing obituaries!”

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Pop-up reading room proves print is not dead, perhaps

By | June 19th, 2013 | 2 Comments
Pages Spreads

“I can’t put my hands on a PDF, while a stack of books lives with me.”

Books are nice, I think we would all agree, but in the age of the eBook and the iPad it’s easy to glimpse a near future in which printed, hard-copy books go the way of the typewriter, relegated to dusty attics and museum collections of things we used to love. You may wax poetic, even indignant, in defending the value of a hold-it-in-your-hands-and-flip-the-pages-with-your-thumb book, but are you really going to take a stand for its value when you can curl up with a novel via the in-curvature of a pair of smart glasses?

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War and literature with Miami-bound author Tim O’Brien

By | March 28th, 2013 | No Comments

“In my era, soldiers would have been pissed if we had been lied to about WMDs,” says O’Brien. — photo by Pfc. L. Paul Epley via

Sponsored by the Miami Writers Institute, this post features an interview between Andrew Slater and Tim O’Brien. Slater is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, a lecturer of English composition at the American University of Iraq- Sulaimani, and a fiction writer whose work has appeared in the literary journal Epiphany and the anthology ‘Fire and Forget’. O’Brien, an American novelist who has written extensively about the Vietnam War, is best known for the short-story collection ‘The Things They Carried’ and the novel ‘Going After Cacciato,’ for which he won a National Book Award in 1979. On Tuesday, April 9, O’Brien will deliver an address at Coral Gables Congregational Church as part of a month-long series of events inspired by his work. For full details, visit

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Talking Paris and memoir with Rosecrans Baldwin

By | March 10th, 2013 | No Comments
Baldwin will teach a four-day workshop on writing memoir at Miami-Dade College in early May.

Baldwin will teach a four-day workshop on writing memoir at Miami-Dade College in early May.

This post is sponsored by the Miami Writers Institute.

Rosecrans Baldwin is the author of Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down, a travel memoir that GQ named one of its Favorite Things of 2012. The book chronicles Baldwin’s experience living and working in Paris, a city to which he, like so many Americans, felt a powerful romantic attraction since adolescence and which he, unlike so many Americans, came to know in all of its inglorious modern glory as a copy writer at a Paris ad agency. (You can read a very entertaining excerpt at Baldwin is also the author of the acclaimed debut novel You Lost Me There, a co-founder of the online magazine The Morning News, and a book reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Talking ‘At-Risk’ with writer Amina Gautier

By | February 4th, 2013 | No Comments
'At-Risk' by Amina Gautier

Gautier will read from her award-winning short-story collection At-Risk and lead a craft workshop at Miami Dade College on February 11.

This post is sponsored by the Center for Literature and Theater at Miami Dade College

Growing up in Brooklyn during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Amina Gautier witnessed poverty and the crack epidemic first hand. “As most people know,” she says, “that was a really rough time to be a New Yorker.” Gautier survived the experience and ultimately channeled it into her short-story collection, At-Risk, which won the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award from the University Press of Georgia in 2010.

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Author Nancy Rommelmann reading at Panther Coffee

By | January 21st, 2013 | No Comments
Nancy Rommelmann

Dark stories over black coffee, anyone?

In support of Transportation, a collection of short stories released on the first day of 2013, author Nancy Rommelmann is visiting Panther Coffee on Tuesday for a talk, reading, and presumably a cup of coffee. Raised in Brooklyn and based in Portland, Rommelmann is a journalist, novelist, and short-story author whose latest work “dives into some strange pockets of the human soul and swims a line right on the blackest edge of fear, desire and despair,” according to the Oregonian. Here’s more from the paper’s review:

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Obama picks Cuban-born, Miami-raised poet for inauguration

By | January 9th, 2013 | No Comments

Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles who grew up in Miami, will recite an original poem at Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration, on January 21, according to the New York Times.

From the moment Barack Obama burst onto the political scene, the poet Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles, says he felt “a spiritual connection” with the man who would become the nation’s 44th president.

Like Mr. Obama, who chronicled his multicultural upbringing in a best-selling autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Blanco has been on a quest for personal identity through the written word. He said his affinity for Mr. Obama springs from his own feeling of straddling different worlds; he is Latino and gay (and worked as a civil engineer while pursuing poetry). His poems are laden with longing for the sights and smells of the land his parents left behind.

Now Mr. Obama is about to pluck Mr. Blanco out of the relatively obscure and quiet world of poetry and put him on display before the entire world.

To learn more about Blanco, who honed his craft at FIU and writes about “negotiating the world” as a “mainstream gay” man who came out of a very conservative culture, read the NYT’s profile. On this recording, Blanco reads “América”, a poem from his first collection, City of a Hundred Fires.

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Bookleggers’ Five Miami Book Fair Picks

By | November 13th, 2012 | No Comments
Kurt Vonnegut

If you don’t go to the Miami Book Fair, you will make the ghost of Kurt Vonnegut even crankier.

With the Miami Book Fair International underway, we asked Nathaniel Sandler (a regular Beached Miami contributor) and David Gonzalez — the gentlemen behind the mobile library we told you about back in July — to give our readers their top five recommendations.

While heavy hitters Junot Diaz and Tom Wolfe have already inspired book lovers at this year’s Miami Book Fair International, which started on Sunday, we here at Bookleggers: A Library on the Run want to give you a heads up on what’s left, what’s literary, and what’s absolutely can’t miss. Starting with …

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