Sand, Surf, and Seminars

  • By Ronald Goldfarb
  • December 2, 2014

A look back at this fall’s Miami Book Fair International.


For people who still imagine Miami as it was portrayed in “Miami Vice,” a visit to its annual Miami Book Fair International would be edifying. For eight days in November, 600 authors from around the world came to talk about their books, their ideas, and the publishing world in sessions that continued all day and night.

Surprisingly large audiences swapped the beaches and golf courses for talk about books. As an author and literary agent, I am awed by its drawing power.

Many Washington authors — Chuck Todd, for example — spoke about the national political scene which CapitaLetters focuses on. New Republic editor Franklin Foer led a panel called “Insurrections of the Mind.”

This year, two of my clients were among the authors who attended: House Minority Leader James Clyburn talked about his book Blessed Experiences, and New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning political reporter Eric Lichtblau spoke to a packed house about his provocative new book, The Nazis Next Door.

And there were sessions about poetry (from two Obama inauguration poets), children’s books, the evolving, ever-fascinating self-publishing phenomena, and genre books; books and authors from other countries added an international flavor.

Prize winners and novices shared their experiences with audiences, who lined up and paid for the privilege (and for the attending authors’ books). There were workshops, seminars, and discussions on every subject written about in the past year.

And did I mention that Miami is home to one of the most successful and active bookstores in the U.S.? When PBS’ “NewsHour” ran a flattering segment recently on the book fair, I realized that the word was out. There is more in Miami than THE HEAT!

How about that, Don Johnson?

Ronald Goldfarb’s column, CapitaLetters, appears regularly in the Washington Independent Review of Books.

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