Basking In Books

Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus recently hosted Miami’s 31st annual Miami Book Fair International; from Nov 16th to Nov 23rd. For those not familiar with the event, it’s for families as much as it is readers. From author readings along with Q&A’s to food trucks and face painting, there was something for everyone going on at the Book Fair.

The most exciting for yours truly was the Festival of Authors, which kicks off the weeklong event. Having had the opportunity to sit in on Patricia Cornwell was enlightening, her books have inspired such shows as NCIS with their use of medical examining techniques as the forefront for her novels as medical/crime fiction.

Following Cornwell was the most anticipated author sessionthe mother of gothic fiction/fantasyAnne Rice. Her assistants held a small costume contest prior to the evening’s events, hosted through Twitter, in which many of the fans dressed up as various vampires. The contest winners, Andrea VanDerPlaats and Kayla Easton had the most spectacular costumes, they were inspired by Luis and Lestat from Rice’s novel Interview with a Vampire. Their reward: to meet the author backstage and have a personal signing of their books.

More than 1,000 fans showed up that night to see Rice—who was a participant in the original MBFI in 1984, which was then called Books by the Bay. After her session, many fans partook in a Q&A session with the author, including myself. With my one question, I asked Rice why she originally published some of her bookssuch as the erotic novel The Claiming of Sleeping Beautyunder the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure.

“I did it to be free,” she replied. “I couldn’t be Anne Rice, people would have expected a certain kind of novel and I had to be anonymous. I also didn’t want my father to know.”

Some other events that went on through the week included a session with The Biscayne Poet, Oscar Fuentes, who hung around The Swamp writing poetry for event goers. Lots of music could be heard around the block well into midnight with food vendors outside The Swamp. Each night of the week there were different authors talking about their published work as well as offering to sign copies of their books for fans. In the shadow of Wolfson campus plenty of tents held various self-published authors, artists, and book stores such as Books & Books, TATE’S Comics and Creature Entertainment Studios.

For those with small kids there was plenty of family friendly fun too, located at the Children’s Alley, where this particular writer took the time to get her face painted as well. After all what’s a fair without face paint?