MDC’s Miami Book Fair and the National Endowment for the Arts Present Big Read Miami

Miami, Feb. 12, 2019 Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Book Fair (MBF) remembers the splintered history of America’s indigenous peoples and celebrates their culture with a trip to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum, a panel on conservation efforts in the Everglades, indigenous literature from Latin America, and a keynote address by Joy Harjo, author of this year’s Big Read selection.

The Big Read is a beloved literary program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture. As in previous years, free events will take place at MDC campuses, among other locations. Complimentary copies of the book will be distributed at all events.  

The Big Read selection celebrates How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001, which offers a look at the first 26 years of Harjo’s expansive career, including her groundbreaking classic, She Had Some HorsesHow We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001 immerses the reader in the power of nature, spirituality, memory, violence, and the history of America’s indigenous peoples. Harjo’s poetry draws the reader into the rhythms, sounds, and stories of her Creek heritage. The collection includes an introduction about the circumstances at play in her life when she wrote the poems.

For more information about the Big Read, or to request a free book, please visit or call 305-237-3258.

Schedule of Events

Sunday, Feb. 24

1 p.m. | Everglades National Park- Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center, 40001 State Hwy 9336, Homestead

AIRIE Think Tank

Miccosukee native Betty Osceola will discuss conservation efforts in the Florida Everglades and their effects on indigenous ways of life. Topic highlights include environmental issues regarding urban development, protest of the Sable Trail Pipeline, and what the South Florida community can do to support these efforts. Additional speakers include AIRIE Fellow Cathy Byrd and others.


Saturday, March 2

9 a.m. | Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum, 30290 Josie Billie Hwy, PMB 1003, Clewiston

Big Read Field Trip to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum

An educational and immersive trip to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum in Clewiston, FL. There will be a guided tour of the museum, including a 20-minute film and free time to explore the boardwalk which takes you through a natural cypress dome.  The cost is $20, payable in advance when you reserve your spot on the bus; $10 for Miami Dade College students. The bus will leave promptly at 9 a.m. Bring your own lunch.


Thursday, March 7

8 p.m. | Books & Books – Coral Gables, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

Keynote Address: Joy Harjo, author of How We Became Human in conversation with Natalie Diaz

Joy Harjo will discuss her poems, which span the brutalities of reservation life alongside the beauty of Native American culture and mythology.  Moderated by poet Natalie Diaz.  Audience Q&A and book signing to follow.


Friday, March 8

12 a.m. | Various Locations 

Poetry Workshops with High School Students

Award-winning poets Joy Harjo and Natalie Diaz will facilitate community poetry workshops for local high school students. They will each visit separate local high school classes, where each student in the workshop will receive a copy of either Joy Harjo’s How We Became Human or Natalie Diaz’s When My Brother Was an Aztec.


About Miami Book Fair

Founded in 1984 by Miami Dade College and partners, Miami Book Fair engages the community through inclusive, accessible programs that promote reading and support writers year-round. The annual eight-day festival has grown into the largest and most comprehensive community-rooted literary gathering in the United States. The Fair features readings and discussions with the world’s most renowned authors, generating discourse on contemporary literature and current issues of international importance. The Fair also include culinary presentations; live music and interdisciplinary performances; interactive, educational activities for children; and more than 200 booksellers and publishers during the Street Fair. Events take place in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and French. In addition to the annual festival, the Miami Book Fair responds to community needs with a year-round schedule of activities, including The Little Haiti Book Festival, highlighting Haiti’s literary acumen; creative writing and publishing workshops; author presentations; reading campaigns; and Read to Learn Books for Free, a partnership with The Children’s Trust that distributes more than 150,000 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 Authority; and the Friends of the Fair; as well as many corporate partners. Miami Book Fair: Building community, one reader at a time.

 Miami Book Fair media contact: Lisa Palley, 305-642-3132,