Overwhelmed? Here’s your 48-hour guide to Miami Book Fair

Darren Geltch, right, and Chiquanna Villines play Connect Four on The Porch at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. With games, food, drinks, music and more, The Porch is open throughout the weekend.
Darren Geltch, right, and Chiquanna Villines play Connect Four on The Porch at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus. With games, food, drinks, music and more, The Porch is open throughout the weekend. For the Miami Herald

Navigating Miami Book Fair just gets harder and harder, especially on the big street fair weekend. Not sure how you should spend your days? We have a few customized fair strategies to suggest, but remember: It’s OK to mix and match (or ignore us completely and forge your own path).

All events in Chapman require free tickets, but there will also be a standby line for every event (and usually you will have no problem getting in).

If you love fiction

Stories of all sorts drive your curiosity.


10 a.m., Room 8201: Get tips for your next book club meeting at “Book Clubs: What’s Trending,” with’s Carol Fitzgerald and novelist Gayle Forman (“Leave Me”).

Noon-2 p.m., Auditorium: Park yourself in the Auditorium and wallow. First up is the always-entertaining Terry McMillan in conversation with National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas. Next up: National Book Awards nominee Adam Haslett (“Imagine Me Gone”) and Margot Livesey (“Mercury”); then the hilarious Maria Semple (“Today Will Be Different,” “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?”), Emily Giffin (“First Comes Love”) and Gayle Forman (“Leave Me”).

3:30 p.m., Room 8203: Check out these new noir thrillers from Joe Clifford (“December Boys”), Mike Creeden (“All Your Lies Came True”) and hometown hero Alex Segura (whose “Down the Darkest Street” is set in Miami).


10 a.m., Auditorium: Get your coffee to go, fiction lovers — this one is worth waking up early. You’ve got Amor Towles (“A Gentleman in Moscow”), Nathan Hill (“The Nix”) and Affinity Konar (“Mischling”).

12:30 p.m., Room 8201: Explore dark and strange new worlds with novelists Claire Vaye Watkins (“Gold Fame Citrus”), Ben H. Winters (“Underground Airlines”) and Aaron Thier (“Mr. Eternity”).

3:30 p.m., Auditorium: Remember the ’80s? No? Good, you had fun, then. So did Jay McInerney, author of “Bright Lights Big City.” Now he’s back with “Bright Precious Days,” which he’ll talk about with Esquire’s Michael Hainey.

4 p.m., Chapman: Colson Whitehead. “The Underground Railroad.” Need we say more?

If you love nonfiction

If it happens — or happened in real life — you’re there.


11 a.m., Room 8303: Join the indie bookstore lovefest at “Indies First: The Central Role of the Indie Bookstore in Lit Culture” with New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein, (author of “Footnotes* from the World’s Greatest Bookstores”), novelists Amy Stewart and Jennifer Haigh and moderator Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association.

Noon, Chapman: Actress and environmentalist Jane Alexander talks about “Wild Things, Wild Places: Adventurous Tales of Wildlife and Conservation on Planet Earth.”

1 p.m., Chapman: Stay put to hear Ross King discuss his new book on artist Claude Monet and just how those water lilies got painted.

4 p.m., Room 2106: History fanatic alert! Candice Millard discusses her bestselling biography of Winston Churchill, “Hero of the Empire.”


11 a.m., Room 2106: Wish you were anywhere but here? Join the armchair travel revolution with writers Joshua Jelly-Schapiro (“Island People: The Caribbean and the World”), Bob Shacochis (“Kingdoms in the Air: Dispatches from the Far Away”) and Thomas Swick (The Joys of Travel”).

1 p.m., Chapman: Rev up your intellect and learn about gravitational waves with astrophysicist Janna Levin, who’s in conversation with Maria Popova, known for her blog

4:30 p.m., Room 2106: Mark Kurlansky can make anything interesting. Salt. Cod. Oysters. Now he’s tackling a new subject: the history of paper.

If you’re eclectic

You’re not fussy. You’re interested in a wide range of subjects.


11 a.m., Room 7128: The title of the session is “Hallucinogens in Christianity,” but I don’t think there will be free samples. Still, you’ll definitely learn something in this discussion of Jerry Brown’s book “The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity.”

Noon, Room 8301: One of the more intriguing panels in the fair’s ReadCaribbean program is “The Politics of Pleasure: Women Writing About Sex,” in which a panel discusses Caribbean sexuality.

1:30 p.m. Room 8202: The “Being Black in America” panel promises to be riveting. Wesley Lowery talks about “They Can’t Kill Us All,” about the Black Lives Matter movement; Nation contributor Mychal Denzel Smith discusses “Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching,” about black masculinity; and D. Watkins takes on the subject of the Baltimore drug trade in “The Cook Up.”

4:30 p.m., Room 8202: Join photographer Andrew Kaufman on his journey documenting the expansion of the Panama Canal. He’ll be joined by Ilya Espino de Marotta, vice president of engineering & program management at the canal, and Eldredge Bermingham, former director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.


10 a.m., Room 2106: Spend the morning with MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winner Gene Luen Yang, who’s also the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His new graphic novel “Paths and Portals” combines basic programming instructions with a mystery (if you can’t figure it out, your kid will explain it to you).

11:30 p.m., Chapman: Mental health is in the spotlight with Peter Kramer (“Ordinarily Well: The Case for AntiDepressants”) and Luke Dittrich on “Patient HM: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets” — hint: one of the secrets involves lobotomies).

3 p.m., Chapman: Pulitzer Prize-winner Susan Faludi talks about her father’s sex reassignment surgery in “In the Darkroom.”

5:30 p.m., Auditorium: Be part of a live audience for The Working Poet Radio Show: Great American Comics, with host Joseph Lapin and guests Art Spiegelman (“Maus”), Trina Robbins (“The Complete Wimmin’s Comix” anthology) and Gene Luen Yang, author of “Paths and Portals” and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

If you’re not much of a reader

Oh, believe me. You’ll find things to do.


10 a.m.-6 p.m., Children’s Alley: Got kids? Well, you want them to read, don’t you? Check out interactive fun rooms, concerts (including the Greater Miami Youth Symphony on the Once Upon a Time Stage at 10 a.m.) and storytelling. Take selfies with roaming characters, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, all day long.

2:30 p.m., Kitchen Stadium: Did someone say brownies? Sheila G. Main demonstrates how to make creative sweets with butter and chocolate, two things on this earth that prove there is a benevolent God.

4 p.m., The Porch: The improv wizards from Villain Theater will take the winning #6WordMiami submissions and turn them into six-minute sketches. You can buy a beer here, too.


Noon, The Porch: Get your laugh on with the funny women of Wordier Than Thou and their “Broad Comedy.” Stay for a concert by the Magic City Hippies at 1 p.m.

2 p.m., The Porch: Grab a sketch pad and meet up with photographer Andrew Kaufman and some of Miami’s best street artists.

3 p.m., The Porch: Make a gift for the book lover in your life when artist Becky Quiroga teaches you to turn old pages into a bouquet of paper roses.

If You Go

What: Miami Book Fair

When: Through Nov. 20

Where: Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., downtown Miami

Tickets and information:

Schedule of events this week

Thursday: Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf, 6 p.m.; Jeffrey Toobin, 8 p.m.; $15

Friday: An Evening with the National Book Awards Winners and Finalists, 6 p.m.; $15

Street fair: Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $8 for adults; $5 for 13-18 and over 62; 12 and under free