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Newspaper: Literary Hub
Date: Nov 13 2015

This November, for the 32nd year in a row, readers and writers of all stripes will descend upon Miami, Florida for what has become one of the most epic literary festivals in the world: Miami Book Fair International.

If that sounds like hyperbole, consider this: the number of writers queried for this article amount to less than ten percent of the total writers participating in this year’s MBFI. This stat does not even include Salman Rushdie, Marlon James, David Mitchell, and about a dozen others whose readings are considered “pre-Fair” events, which should allay any concerns that the quantity of authors at MBFI might dilute the quality.

It’s easy to forget that all of this is happening in the middle of Miami, where you will, in addition to buying a bunch of books and meeting a bunch of writers, presumably learn to dance and eat and live like all human beings were meant to. This is a daunting task, and newbies are likely in for a double-dose of culture shock. But fear not, we’ve consulted some of the greatest literary minds attending this year’s festivities. Their collective knowledge will not only help you navigate the enormity of Miami Book Fair, but will tell you how to talk like a local, what to eat, and where to explore in your spare time. Ha. Spare time.

CHANTEL ACEVEDO, author of The Distant Marvels

Q: This is your home turf. Do you find yourself swamped with writers bugging you about the best ropa vieja?

Whether they ask me or not, it’s what I’m feeding them. Ropa Vieja translates to “old clothes,” but it’s basically ambrosia in the form of meat and tomato sauce, best served with fried plantains and black beans and rice, chased by a tiny cup of Cuban coffee, which delivers a metric ton of caffeine to the system—just what a writer needs in order to maintain the stamina required at the Miami Book Fair. Buen provecho, writers!