Miami Book Fair can be overwhelming. Let us break it down for you.

Don't let the size and scope of Miami Book Fair intimidate you. We can help.

If you’re a real book lover, chances are you already know who you want to see at Miami Book Fair. Maybe you’re addicted to fiction. Or perhaps you are into politics or history or poetry or comics. Maybe you are reveling in the return of Dungeons & Dragons and can’t wait to talk to other like-minded individuals. We will not judge you for that. Much.

If you are such a book lover, you probably have your Miami Book Fair schedule set (or will very soon). If you’re a more casual fairgoer, though, you may wonder where to start.

No worries. We can help you with that. Here’s what you absolutely need to know about the fair so you don’t suffer a debilitating case of FOMO.

When is Miami Book Fair?

This is easy. The fair opens on Sunday, Nov. 11 with former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown and Liane Moriarty, author of “Big Little Lies” (you saw it on HBO). It ends on Sunday, Nov. 18 with former senator (and presidential candidate) John Kerry. In between those dates lots of writers will talk about books. People will buy books and sell books and also eat more arepas than are strictly necessary.

The street fair and the Miami Book Fair are not the same thing

Find the best deals late Sunday at the street fair.

The street fair, Nov. 16-18, is when you can wander the crowded streets and browse for bargains. You know that iconic book fair photo of all the colorful tents? THAT is the street fair. It is part of the Miami Book Fair, but not all of it.

So there’s more than just the street fair?

Yes! There is programming every evening leading up to the street fair. Programs are in English and Spanish.

So what can I do at the street fair?

Clifford rules.

Take your kids to Children’s Alley for activities, readings, games, on-stage entertainment, face-painting and photos with their favorite characters,  like Clifford the Big Red Dog or maybe a Wild Thing. There are also events for tweens and teens.

Eat at the Food Court (Northeast Third Street and Second Avenue). You can get beer and wine there, too.

Shop at the Urban Oasis Project’s farmers market.

Check out The Porch for music, DJs, performances, spoken word, TED-style talks, yoga and more.

Buy books. Pro tip: Wait until late Sunday for the best deals.

What exactly is  The Porch?

The Porch is the place to hang out the Miami way.

It’s an outdoor space for hanging out during the street fair, with music, DJs, film screenings, spoken word, TED-style talks and a booth to capture your Miami story. There’s a lineup of events every night during the week and Saturday and Sunday during the street fair.

Example: Noir at the Bar at 7 p.m. Nov. 15, a gathering of crime writers who read from their works, led by Miami-born novelist Alex Segura, who’s been hosting these events all over New York.

Are all the weekend events free?

They’re free with street fair admission. Some author readings require free tickets; download them at the book fair website. If none are available, there’s a standby line you can wait in. Don’t worry. Most people get into the events. But don’t wait until the last minute to get in line for, say, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (yes, she’ll be there).

Are there any events off-site?

Yes. Many involve alcohol.

Bar Nancy.

Sob Sisters Unite: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Bar Nancy (2007 SW Eighth St., Little Havana). A Brooklyn reading series with cocktails.

Drink and Draw @ The Standard Hotel: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 at The Standard Hotel, 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach). Illustrators go marker to marker in a draw-off. Then it’s your turn.

Geek Girl Brunch: 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, Books & Books Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Dress up in your best superhero outfit  and hang out with a visiting comics author. Email geekgirlbrunchmiami@gmail.com for more info.

Who’s the best author to see?

Who is this year’s best author? You tell us.

How can we answer this? There are hundreds of great authors coming to the fair. But if you want a representative sample of current literary endeavors, check out “An Evening with National Book Awards Finalists and Nominees” on Friday, Nov. 16. Novelists, nonfiction writers, young adult writers and poets get just about five minutes to read from their books. It’s a great introduction to new writers, whatever kind of writing you like.

Miami Book Fair

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

When: Nov. 11-18; street fair Nov. 16-18

Cost: Street fair admission is free on Nov. 16; $10 on Nov. 17-18 for adults, $5 for 13-18 and over 62; 12 and under free. “Evenings With…” events are $20; some events require purchase of a book. See website for details.

Ticket information and full schedule: www.miamibookfair.com

Comments