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 thecenteratmdc.org.
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 GQ.com.) 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.
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.
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:
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.
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 …
Yunior de las Casas, that fast-talking, philandering Dominican Jersey boy, is the one addiction that author Junot Díaz just can’t quit. Díaz’s first book, Drown, was technically a short-story collection, but one that largely chronicled de las Casas’ stumbling towards maturity. The follow-up to that, the novel The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, focused largely on the title character — but even then, his story unfurled mostly as narrated by Yunior.
In an attempt to expand the reading community in Miami, two local literature lovers are launching a mobile library on Thursday, July 26, at Wynwood cafe Lester’s.
Described as “A library on the run”, Bookleggers will lend used books for free on the honor system, trade books to change up their selection, and let books “take a long vacation” for a $2 donation. Modeled after similar-in-spirit projects around the country, Bookleggers won’t ameliorate Miami’s dearth of libraries and bookstores all by its scrappy self, but it’s nonetheless an exciting development for those for whom happiness is a warm “Guns, Germs, and Steel”.
The Miami Book Fair is always great, and this year’s fair (Nov. 11 – 18) promises to raise the bar even higher. The list of already confirmed authors includes Bonfire of the Vanities author Tom Wolfe, whose fourth novel, Back To Blood, focuses on immigration in Miami (see trailer below); Joan Didion, who wrote one of the best books ever written about our frightening city (“Havana vanities come to dust in Miami”); Robert Caro, a master biographer whose obsession with Lyndon Baines Johnson has resulted in four tomes and counting (I just read all 1,100+ pages of Master Of The Senate — highly recommended); novelist Sandra Cisneros (The House On Mango Street); and New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik.
If the book fair boasted only these authors it would be hugely exciting, but of course many more will be announced in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted, of course, and you should also bookmark (get it?) the official fair website.
On Sunday afternoon, head over to Books and Books in Coral Gables to meet punk priestess Patti Smith, who will be autographing copies of her new book, Woolgathering (New Directions, 80 pages, hardcover, $18.95). If you were lucky enough to catch Smith at the 2010 Miami Book Fair, where she read from Just Kids a day or so after it won the National Book Award and performed several songs, including a soul-rocking a capella version of “Because The Night” — then you should probably lower your expectations. The upcoming event is billed as a signing, not a reading or a performance. Nonetheless, the opportunity to chat up Smith, at 65 years old possibly the coolest person over the age of three on Planet Earth, is definitely an opportunity worth seizing.