January 2009, Volume 13, Number 1


Literary stars gather for MBFI's 25th

It was as expected when the prolific author and critic Gore Vidal made his Miami Book Fair International (MBFI) appearance. No pulled punches. Whether talking politics or teasing his host, Book Fair chair Mitchell Kaplan (Vidal said Kaplan had a morbid sensibility for asking about the late screen icon Paul Neuman, for example), Vidal was biting, witty and fearlessly candid.

He was among the hundreds of top-notch authors who journeyed to Miami to celebrate 25 years of the nation’s largest, most esteemed literary gathering.

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Díaz, media icon Martha Stewart, philosopher and sociologist Dr. Cornel West, and hundreds more attended readings, signed books and met with bibliophiles of every stripe.

Hundreds stood in line for autographs and photos of NBA star Alonzo Mourning, author of the stirring memoir Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph.

Superstar chef and restaurateur Mario Batali and “anti-celebrity chef” Anthony Bourdain kept the tone irreverent – and entertaining – with their jokes, jabs and opinions.

The week’s events kicked off with a performing arts salute to Miami Book Fair International at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The free event featured live performances by the Florida Grand Opera (with soprano Elizabeth Caballero, an MDC alumna), a festive overture by Dmitri Shostakovitch and New World School of the Arts, and many more.

This year, the Florida Center for the Literary Arts created a spectacular celebration with an unprecedented line-up of prize-winning authors from all over the world.

— Staff Report

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