The past week in Miami, Florida has been all about the books.
The Miami Book Fair International, presented by The Center for Literature and Theater at Miami Dade College, is now in its 29th year. Hundreds of books, authors, children, adults, and booksellers have taken over the area — leading an expected 200,000 people to talk and think about literature — from November 11 until Sunday, November 18.
Cuban-American Alina Interian serves as the executive director and has been organizing the Fair for the past 23 years, with the help of staff members and volunteers.
She says the Street Fair seems to be the most popular aspect of the Fair, because it features more than 400 authors presenting in 16 different venues, along with exhibitors, booksellers and publishers selling books in many different languages directly to the public.
“All of this is complemented by art exhibits, entertainment stages, theater, street performers, a wonderful area for children, a culinary component with demos and talks…and so much more,” says Interian.
She also says the culinary component, The Kitchen, has been very well received.
“We will be having chef/authors demonstrating recipes in the state-of-the-art kitchen of Miami Dade College’s Miami Culinary Institute as well as panel discussions and talks by some 14 cookbook authors and experts on their books and timely topics like cooking gluten-free, etc.,” Interian says. “The Writers Institute takes place right before the weekend and is also popular. Aspiring writers take workshops with authors presenting at the Fair. We have agents and editors as well.”
Interian admits it’s a lot of work to organize the Fair, and planning is done year-round. But, she says it’s all worth it in the end.
“Invariably, my most favorite moment…as I stand there in the middle of all the activity and wonderful energy of the fairgoers, is to watch the faces of mesmerized children of all ages as they sit in audiences listening to our guest authors talk about their books and what inspired them to write, and enjoying stimulating and fun activities related to books,” she says. “That, to me, makes it all worthwhile!”