MDC’s Miami Book Fair and National Poetry Series Announce 2016 Paz Prize for Poetry Winner

MIAMI BOOK FAIR Nov. 13 – 20, 2016

Presented and produced by Miami Dade College

Miami, Nov. 10, 2016 Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Book Fair, in collaboration with the National Poetry Series, is pleased to announce Cuban poet Legna Rodriguez Iglesias is the winner of the 2016 Paz Prize for Poetry for her manuscript, Miami Century Fox. The book, selected by judge Achy Obejas, will be published in both English and Spanish by Akashic Press.

“Legna Rodriguez Iglesias Miami Century Fox is a delightful, seductive read,” Obejas said. “Sonnets? Rhyme and meter? Yes, along with a delicious serving of irony and wit. This is one very smart collection of poems, a loving and also sly portrait of Miami and of the immigrant experience in the 21st century.”

Rodriguez Iglesias is a featured poet at this year’s Miami Book Fair and will participate in a reading at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. 2nd Ave., Building 2, Room 2106. This event is free and open to the public.

Born in Camaguey in 1984, Rodriguez Iglesias arrived in Miami less than two years ago. In Cuba, she won the 2011 Iberoamericano de Cuento Julio Cortázar award and the 2016 Latinoamericano Casa de Las Américas award in the theater category. She also won the Wolsan-CubaPoesía award in 2013 for La Gran Arquitecta. Most recently, she published Todo sobre papá, a book of poetry for children, and will soon release her third novel, Mi novia preferida fue un bulldog francés. In 2015, she published Hilo+Hilo and her second novel Las Analfabetas. Other published books include El arroz de la locura, La mandarina mecánica, No sabe/ no contesta, Chicle, Chupar la piedra, Tregua Fecunda, Mayonesa bien brillante, El momento perfecto, ¿Qué te sucede, belleza?, Ne me quitte pas, and Los Mágicos, literatura infantile, among others.

“I am grateful to the National Poetry Series, Miami Book Fair and Miami Dade College for this opportunity. I am grateful to the jury for reading my book with, perhaps, the same intensity with which I wrote it, and all those who supported me while I wrote,” Rodriguez Iglesias said. “Participating in and winning this competition is not merely an accomplishment and an honor but also a vibrant reaffirmation of the poem I long to write, without a care for time or place. I think it’s a marvelous idea to recognize, promote and produce writing in a language other than English that forms part of the culture in the U.S.”

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet, Octavio Paz, the Paz Prize for Poetry was launched in 2012 and recognizes a previously unpublished poetry book written in Spanish by a poet residing in the U.S. Past winners include Dinapiera De Donato and Carlos Pintado.

“It is very gratifying to be able to introduce a great variety of poetic voices, said Lissette Mendez, Miami Book Fair program director. “These poems are offered in English and Spanish for those of us who are bilingual. To be able to appreciate the melody of each sentence in both languages is fascinating. Discovering a new poet that might otherwise have gone unnoticed because of the language barrier is even more gratifying.”

The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 by Daniel Halpern and James Michener to ensure the publication of five collections of poetry annually through participating publishers. More than 175 books have been awarded since the Series’ inception. Board members include Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina Garcia, Mitchell Kaplan, Campbell McGrath, Pablo Medina, Gary Soto, Ilan Stavans, and Luisa Valenzuela.

Miami Book Fair

Widely recognized as the largest and finest literary gathering in the U.S., the Miami Book Fair’s eight-day festival features readings and conversation with the world’s most renowned authors and more than 200 booksellers and exhibitors across various genres and interests. Book lovers are also treated to culinary presentations, live music, dance and theater performances, interactive art projects, fun and educational activities for children, and more! In addition to the annual festival, the Miami Book Fair builds community and promotes reading and writing throughout the year with activities open to all, including creative writing courses taught by local and visiting authors, literary gatherings and happy hours and Read to Learn Books for Free, a partnership with The Children’s Trust that distributes more than 160,000 free books a year to children in Miami-Dade County.

Miami Book Fair is made possible through the generous support of the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts; the City of Miami; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; Miami-Dade County Public Schools; the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau; the Miami Downtown Development; and the Friends of the Fair; as well as many corporate partners. Miami Book Fair: Building community, one reader at a time.

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College has a long and rich history of involvement in the cultural arts, providing South Florida with a vast array of artistic and literary offerings through its cultural affairs department, including the Miami Book Fair, the Miami Film Festival, MDC Live Arts performing arts series, the Cuban Cinema Series, and groundbreaking art exhibitions at the Museum of Art + Design (MOA+D) located inside the college’s historic Freedom Tower and art galleries at each campus. With an enrollment of more than 165,000 students, MDC is the largest institution of higher education in the country and is a national model for many of its programs. The college’s seven campuses and two outreach centers offer more than 300 academic pathways leading to baccalaureate degrees, associate in arts and science degrees and numerous career training certificates leading to in-demand jobs. MDC has served more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960.

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Miami Book Fair contact: Lisa Palley, 305-642-3132  or Deyanira Navarrette, 305-495-7168,

Media-only contacts: Juan C. Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611,; Hessy Fernandez, director of media relations, 305-237-3949,; Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,; and Allison Horton, 305-237-3359,