Nov 14, 2022 - Things to Do

Don't miss these celebrity author talks at Miami Book Fair

Groups of people walk outside at the Miami Book Fair.

Miami Book Fair in 2021. Photo courtesy of Miami Book Fair

Every year, I'm so focused on the Miami Book Fair's weekend street fair, featuring hundreds of authors, that I realize too late I've missed the more intimate events leading up to the weekend.

  • Don't worry. I'm not going to let that happen to you!

Why it matters: The book fair began as a two-day festival in 1984 and has grown into the largest literary gathering in the U.S., attracting about 250,000 attendees each year.

State of play: The better-known street fair takes place this upcoming weekend, but a series of talks with celebs and authors at Miami-Dade College's campus downtown (and online) are already underway.

  • A peek at the lineup:
Monday

Art Spiegelman, who authored "Maus," will speak about the impact of his graphic novel, which explores the Holocaust and is now a target of book banners, at a livestreamed event. Hillary Chute, who has compiled responses to Spiegelman's work in "Maus Now: Selected Writings," will join him. Starts at 7pm.

Michael Pollan helped fuel the boom in foodie culture when he wrote "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in 2006. In his latest offering, "This Is Your Mind on Plants," he explores opium, caffeine, and mescaline. Listen to Pollan discuss the science of psychedelics, starting at 8pm.

Tuesday

Charlayne Hunter-Gault was often the only Black woman on staff when she worked at journalism institutions like the New Yorker, the New York Times and PBS. In "My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives," she chronicles reporting on Black people "in ways that are recognizable to themselves." Hunter-Gault's talk kicks off at 8pm.

Wednesday

Harvey Fierstein starred in the Broadway productions "Torch Song Trilogy" and "Hairspray" and movies including "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Independence Day." At 8pm, he'll discuss his memoir, "I Was Better Last Night" — a look back at his life in New York City through the gay rights movements of the 1970s and AIDS crisis of the '80s.

Thursday

Jimmy Johnson — onetime coach of the Hurricanes and the Dolphins, and long a familiar face on sports TV — co-wrote "Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs: A Memoir" with SunSentinel sports columnist Dave Hyde. Join their conversation together, at 8pm.

Friday

Patti Smith shot to fame singing "Because the Night" with Bruce Springsteen in the 1970s, but she widened her audience — and won the National Book Award for nonfiction — in 2010 when she published "Just Kids", describing bohemian years in Manhattan and her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Now, her photography tome, "A Book of Days," offers a peek into her documentary process. Joining her and her bandmate Lenny Kaye, who's also an author, at 8pm.

Saturday

Fat Joe, aka Jose Cartagena, expounds upon his life growing up in the rough-and-tumble South Bronx — and finding his way out in "The Book of Jose: A Memoir." Lean back and enjoy a talk with him, moderated by DJ Khaled, at 6pm.

Sunday

In addition to being an immunologist, a stem cell scientist, a cancer biologist and an oncologist, Siddhartha Mukherjee won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer." His gifted ability to explore deep concepts in a way that captivates lay readers is on display again in "The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human." 6:30pm.

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