November 12, 2007

Another Success: Miami Book Fair International 2007

Edwidge and GeoffreyThe 24th Miami Book Fair International at Miami Dade College lived up to its reputation as the premier book event in the nation. With over 400 hundred authors from all parts of the world, the week long event that began with "An Evening with Rosie O'Donnell" on November 4, 2007, ended on Sunday with readings by David Rieff, Victor Navasky, George Soros, and Drew Weston.

Of course, I spent Saturday with the Caribbean writers: Adrian Castro, Joanne Hyppolite, Preston Allen, Oonya Kempadoo, Phillip Nanton, Jane Bryce, Anthony Winkler, Robert Edison Sandiford, Kim Robinson-Walcott, Marina Salandy-Brown, Opal Palmer Adisa, Rabindranath Maharaj, and Howard Pitterson. We had some enlightening discussions about the Caribbean diaspora and identity, and a few members of the audience and a panelist asked some challenging questions about ethnicity and voice after Tony Winkler's reading. Most of the authors on Saturday's program read selections from Caribbean Dispatches: Beyond the Tourist Dream, but we were also blessed with a reading from a short story by Tony Winkler, "Nothing in Common," about two rivals from Munro College and Cornwall College who discover that they share a secret buried in Jamaica's history.

After the readings, we went to an author party at the Raleigh Hotel (Sorry, no pictures. I was off duty.) The evening of dancing and conversation was topped off by a daring fire-eating performance. Yet even after all of this, the Caribbean crew left with Mervyn Solomon to continue liming.

I begged off and headed home at the respectable hour of 11:30 pm because I had to prepare for my introductions of Edwidge Danticat and Francisco Goldman. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the reading in the Batten Lounge with Chris Abani, Ana Castillo, and Margaret Cezair-Thompson @ 11:00 am and I saw most of the Caribbean authors (my sources tell me they were liming till 4:00 am Sunday morning) sitting up straight in their chairs all bright-eyed and smiling like it was J'ouvert morning…

When I left the Batten Lounge, I went to the presentation by Lynne Barrett, John Dufresne, and Vicki Hendricks. Unfortunately, I couldn't go to the readings of two friends, Jim Daniels and Peter Schmitt (bought their books though) because they were reading at a concurrent event with Edwidge Danticat and Francisco Goldman. Edwidge read from Brother, I'm Dying and Francisco read from The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?

After the reading, I talked briefly with Lynne Barrett who was live-blogging the fair @, and then to visited Peter Webley @ Caribbean Today and Andrew Proctor @ the PEN American Center.

I finally made it home to prepare for work and my classes, but I had to pass through the Food Court to pick up some Thai kabobs and some roasted corn at the Jamaican shack. Man must not live by books alone.

With a lot of help from the weather (unlike a few years ago) the Miami Book Fair International turned out to be a literary feast that has rivaled some of the best (including the author bash) they've offered since they first began in 1983.

I can't wait for the 25th anniversary.


Please follow this link or more pictures of the Miami Book Fair International 2007:

Flickr Photos of Miami Book Fair International 2007



Richard said...

Thanks so much for the report.

oronde ash said...

congratulations on the awards. i rememebr reciting anansi stories to friends when the power went out back home. those tales are lost to me now. i need to get your book nad bring them back for my 4-yr old son.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Thanks, Richard.
Hope you can make it down for next year's fair.


Geoffrey Philp said...

bygpowis, that was the primary motivation for writing the book. And the sad fact is that many children of Caribbean descent don't have these valuable stories of resistance, of using one's intelligence to outsmart anyone who presents himself/herself as a Massa.


FSJL said...

Sounds like a great event. I am saddened by the fact that I have yet to meet Anthony Winkler in person, though I've spoken to him on the phone.

Geoffrey Philp said...

Fragano, great writer and great sense of humor. When I grow up....