Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Wild Miami Book Fair . . .

IT WAS A LONG, RAINY WEEKEND in Miami and all of the South Florida “book people,” or at least people who would call themselves book people, had come to take part in the annual Miami Book Fair International. The event consisted of several closed-off streets where vendors, publishers, book collectors, and authors could set up along the way in their respective and colorful tarp-covered booths. When it was not raining there were several high-profile author readings and discussions going on throughout the day, as well as hours upon hours of getting lost in the books on display, which were everywhere along the fair route. And if you were lucky enough, you might have gotten lost in a little local music for a brief moment of sunshine, which was coming from a live orchestra in the open-food court, or gotten your hands on a fresh Arepa, grilled so much at just the right temperature that you might look forward to going back next year.

Representatives from both the University of Tampa Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program and the University of Tampa Press were in attendance — MFA Director Jeff Parker and Tampa Press Editorial Assistant Tony Fasciano.

University of Tampa MFA Director Jeff Parker stands firm during a strong gust.
We braved the majority of the three days responsively wrapping and unwrapping our handout materials and merchandise in thin protective plastic sheeting, as the sky haphazardly opened and closed its mighty floodgates. At one point three men were needed to each hold down a corner of the tent to keep it from flying away. Glad to say, barely a book was injured though. So you see, it was a wild weekend in Miami, but not in the sense that Miami is normally reported about. It was wild like a storm in the pages of Oz — and for a group of book people, that was as fitting an experience as we could've ever hoped to have.

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