For the first time in 37 years, Miami Dade College (MDC) will transform its iconic Miami Book Fair (MBF), a weeklong celebration of books and writers in downtown Miami, into a free virtual event from Nov. 15 to 22.
The virtual Fair is the continuation of a proactive effort to remain socially engaged, even as we practice physical distancing, per local and state guidelines.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Fair has remained connected to the world through a stream of interactive online events that include conversations with authors, the annual Miami Writers Institute, The Little Haiti Book Festival, and a Speak Up: Teen Creative Writing workshops, among others.
“Transforming an event that has been exclusively in-person for more than a generation has indeed been challenging, but the opportunity for growth through digital delivery of programs is also motivating for us,” said Lissette Mendez, MBF’s programs director. “Over 37 years, we have built a Miami Book Fair that represents diversity of subject matter, diversity of presenting authors and diversity of fairgoers. We have built a program that introduces more than 20,000 children each year to books and writers, instilling in each of them a love for reading that will support their educational pursuits.
“Our mission is to engage our community through inclusive, accessible, programs that promote reading and support writers. Though we will be online, we will still be the Miami Book Fair, and we look forward to gathering in person, once again, when the conditions allow.”
This year’s growing list of more than 200 authors and moderators includes headliner Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, teacher, environmental activist, and inventor Margaret Atwood (Dearly: New Poems,The Handmaid’s Tale,The Testaments).
As in years past, the Fair will feature programs in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole representing fiction, politics, history, memoir, comics, poetry, among other genres, as well as an extensive program for children and teens.
Signature programs, such as “Evenings With…” and the IberoAmerican and ReadCaribbean programs will return, and even the beloved Children’s Alley, dedicated to providing fun, learning activities for children, will have a digital home. In addition, the Fair will prominently showcase Florida authors.
The virtual Book Fair Marketplace will feature booksellers and other vendors, in place of the popular Street Fair weekend. And of course, you can order a copy of this year’s commemorative poster created by award winning children’s book author, illustrator, and creator of Disney’s animated series, The Replacements, Dan Santat.
A free and simple registration is all that will be required, and users will receive email notifications about programs and activities as they become available, plus practical tips on how to navigate the website, create a watchlist, and more. All MBF programs will be available on a schedule to be published prior to the start of the Fair. Although the Fair site will not be fully operational until programs are complete and ready for viewing, the registrations page is open. Audiences can sign up to get updates and program drop schedules at miamibookfaironline.com.
For more information or to become a Friend of the Fair, a fundraising membership program, visit www.miamibookfair.com or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.