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.”
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.
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