ICYMI: Miami Book Fair is a Haven for Intellectuals

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Miami can be a lonely city for nerds. Growing up down here in the 90s, I often felt socially isolated from my peers as they rarely shared with me my instinct to focus, wonder, and enjoy in depth any particular object I came across. In case you missed it, the Miami Book Fair was in town last week packed with a full calendar of things to do in the city. It's always an event in Miami that I do not miss.


Literature, both fiction and nonfiction, provide me with infinite access to new characters, events, places, and things to learn about and delight in. The few fellow nerd friends I did meet in my younger days at intra-county school events and competitions were often too far away to hang out with on a regular basis. This physical isolation only compounded my social isolation. The sprawl of the city, my own lack of a driver’s license, and parental permission to use public transit (as if there were a grand, reliable network), only accentuated my loneliness and the desire for the community to bond over the Baby-Sitters’ Club and Little Women. 

As yesteryear’s elementary and adolescent nerds have come of age, and new younglings have replaced them, the Miami Book Fair has emerged to fill that void that once prevented nerd connections and the formation of friendships and community. For the kids who preferred to read quietly in the rambunctious middle school cafeteria, there was a myriad of talks and panels featuring popular and up-and-coming Young Adult authors discussing everything from their time managing their writing process to their favorite tragic one true pairings and fanfictions.


For students of any age craving the mentorship of a writing teacher, the Miami Book Fair offers both intensive day-long and week-long writing workshops throughout the year for the serious, aspiring writer intending to pitch to an agent or publisher just trying to establish a routine and hone their craft. The casual journal-keeper or single-draft composer need not feel left out as more informal sessions accompanied by wine and tapas are offered in both Spanish and English. 

The Miami Book Fair is not just the mid-November event at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson campus, it is a week-long festival holiday with a schedule so structured yet magical, it is nearly liturgical. The Fair is not just the physical space of the street fair and its multi-colored tents but rather a five-block circus ring-led by Books&Books’ own Mitchell Kaplan. The Fair is the perfect balance between the regimented and the serendipitous, where a book nerd can count on receiving insight from a beloved author like Sandra Cisneros then casually make friends with her at the Porch as they both jam out to Patrick and the Swayzees. 

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Header photo courtesy @miamibookfair

By: Giorey Valdes

A lifelong native Miami girl, Giorey grew up in Kendall and Westchester is seeking to expand the archetype to include curly hair, voracious reading, and cooking with cilantro. She is a fan of Gator football and basketball who often forgets to root for her teams as she is usually too exhausted from teaching high school and trying to keep up with her book-buying habits.

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