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

Miami, March 10, 2017 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed  Miami Book Fair (MBF) celebrates Cambodian culture and commemorates the plight of Cambodian refugees with this year’s Big Read selection, In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. 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 Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience. Raami, a young girl who comes of age during the Cambodian genocide, finds strength by clinging to the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father.

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

Schedule of Events

Monday, March 20
6:30 p.m. | Books & Books @ Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd  
Farm-to-table Dinner Featuring Cambodian Flavors  
Join Chef Allen at this special edition of his famed farm-to-table dinners, featuring live music and the flavors of Cambodian cuisine made with fresh, organic produce. Dinners served family style. Tickets are $25, with optional wine pairing for an additional $14. For reservations, call 786-405-1745.

Wednesday – Friday, April 5 – 7
Various locations
Poetry workshops with Peuo Tuy
Khmer-American author Peuo Tuy will facilitate community poetry workshops with a focus on trauma healing at local high schools. Students in the workshop will receive a copy of her poetry book, Khmer Girl. She will also speak at several MDC classes about her book and writing process.

Saturday, April 8
1 p.m. | O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St, Miami
Don’t think I’ve forgotten
After a golden age of cinema of the 1960s, the Cambodian film industry suffered during the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime, under which entertainment and arts were dismantled. In the 1980s and 1990s, the industry started making a gradual comeback. Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten tracks the twists and turns of Cambodian music as it morphs into rock and roll, blossoms and is nearly destroyed under the Khmer Rouge.

Saturday, April 15
1 p.m. | O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St, Miami
The Missing Picture
On April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge seized the capital, millions of Cambodian citizens driven from their homes into the hell of the Killing Fields. Director Rithy Panh uses clay figures, archival footage and narration tell their story in this documentary film.

Tuesday, April 18
7:30 p.m. | The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse, 404 N.W. 26 St. 
The Origin of the Tiger: A Cinematic Shadow Puppetry Performance
Created by artist Dan Walker, The Origin of the Tiger is based on a Cambodian folk tale of a king’s obsession with obtaining power and the consequences that follow. Using puppets made of large leather panels carved with intricate designs, puppeteers dance and move to music agains a backlight to bring to life in silhouette the myths and stories of Cambodia.

Wednesday, April 19
6:30 p.m. | Books & Books @ Coral Gables, 265 Aragon Ave.  
Keynote Address: In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Conversation with Vaddey Ratner
Ratner is a survivor of the of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. She graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. Rater will discuss her personal story and address various themes in her novel, such as hope, resilience, beauty, truth, and the redeeming power of art and storytelling.

Miami Book Fair
Miami Book Fair, widely considered the largest and finest literary event in the U.S., is part of MDCulture, the Cultural Affairs Department of Miami Dade College. In addition to the annual, eight-day festival that takes place on the Wolfson Campus of the College in Downtown Miami, Miami Book Fair presents literary programs throughout Miami all year long.  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 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, including the Miami Book Fair International, the Center @ MDC, the Miami International Film Festival, MDC Live Arts performing arts series, the Cuban Cinema Series, the Miami Leadership Roundtable speakers’ series, numerous renowned campus art galleries and theaters, and the nationally recognized School of Entertainment and Design Technology. With an enrollment of more than 175,000 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 eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including baccalaureate, 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.

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