Miami Book Fair International 2009
November 17, 2009
- The Miami Book Fair was great. It’s been years since I went and I can’t get over how big it’s gotten, how many vendors, such a wide variety of booksellers, so many people! It was especially impressive to see all the Spanish-language booksellers as well as the authors who write/publish in Spanish represented on the program. When I lived in Miami, the Book Fair was one of my favorite events of the year. I met Toni Morrison there when she came to read from Beloved. To return this time as an author was a dream come true. It was thrilling and deeply humbling.
- There was a little hitch for the panel I was on; the web said the session was at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday but the printed materials said 4:00 p.m. My lovely and talented co-panelists and I were hanging out in the hospitality suite when we were urgently informed that the theatre was packed and that the audience had been patiently waiting but were getting restless. Mia Leonin, Jennine Capot Crucet and I headed downstairs to Prometeo and found just about every seat occupied and folks still coming in to sit in the aisles or stand at the rear of the theatre. The person who was to introduce us was also under the impression that the session was at 4:30 so we started without him though he did eventually show.
- My dear friends Ivonne Lamazares, Elena Pérez and Michelle Barrial were there for me as well as another Bread Loaf buddy, Xoaquima Díaz. Miami Dade was in the house!–all of us have a strong connection to Miami Dade having either graduated from there–Michelle and I met in Comp II back in the day–or teach there in the case of Ivonne (Hialeah campus) and Elena (North campus–my alma mater). Xoaquima teaches at the New World campus where my husband earned his first degree. My sister- and brother-in-law both attended Miami-Dade.
My father accompanied me to the Fair, generously giving up watching college football all afternoon, to sit by while I was interviewed or did my thing. He was out of town when I had my debut reading at Books and Books in early June so this was his chance to see me perform in front of an audience not made up of relatives. I think he was impressed that there was free coffee and snacks for the writers in the hospitality suite.
This is the last book event of the year for me so now I can focus on finishing out the semester and getting my novel into shape to send around. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself these last few months. I’m so profoundly grateful for the opportunity to share my stories with a larger audience, in print and in person. I want to thank, once again, Robert Lasner and Elizabeth Clementson, for their faith in my work and publishing Marielitos, Balseros and Other Exiles. Mil gracias!