MDC’s Miami Book Fair Online and the National Endowment for the Arts Present The Big Read Miami 2021

Miami, Feb. 23, 2021 –Miami Dade College’s (MDC) acclaimed Miami Book Fair (MBF) Online presents The Big Read Miami 2021, featuring virtual communities, literary discussions, and creative expression during the months of March and April. Events will include Speak Up, a teen creative writing program with guest author Naomi Shihab Nye, the current Young People’s Poet Laureate; First Draft, an informal writing social with author Laurel Nakanishi; and a keynote presentation by Hope Jahren, author of this year’s Big Read selection, Lab Girl.

The Big Read is a beloved literary program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This year, Miami Book Fair will celebrate The Big Read in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Library System, Books & Books, The Koubek Center for the Performing Arts, and Live Arts Miami. The Big Read Miami 2021 is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture.

Jahren’s award-winning, bestselling memoir Lab Girl tells the story of a young woman who finds friendship in odd places, battles bipolar disorder, perseveres through setbacks and relishes hard-earned triumphs, and becomes a respected scientist and passionate observer of the natural world. Request a free copy of Lab Girl at

Tuesday, March 9, 7 – 8 p.m.

2021 Big Read Kickoff Reading: Ross Gay & Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Miami Book Fair’s NEA Big Read program kicks off with a reading by two award-winning poets and essayists whose work ponders the wonders of nature and humanity. Ross Gay is the author of The Book of Delights: Essays, which was named one of the best books of 2019 by Lit Hub, The Washington Independent Review of Books, and more.  Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, which was named the 2020 Barnes & Noble Book of the Year.  Both authors will also virtually visit select MDC classrooms.

To view, visit

Wednesday, March 10, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

First Draft: A Literary Social with Laurel Nakanishi

Miami Book Fair presents First Draft, a series of informal writing events that turn happy hours into great stories.  Grab a drink and log in for a First Draft event to share your writing with Laurel Nakanishi, who is the recipient of the 2018 Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize for Ashore and the 2012 Epiphany Press Chapbook prize for Mānoa/Makai.

To view, visit

Saturday, March 20, at 3 p.m.

Speak Up: Creative Writing + Performance for Teens

Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems and the current Young People’s Poet Laureate, will be the featured guest speaker at Speak Up, a creative writing program supporting the artistic and professional growth of teens. In this virtual mini-series of creative writing workshops, teens will partner with experienced teaching artists to empower the creative writing process, from drafting to performance to publishing. The program is open to all teens, and free of charge. Free copies of Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems will be distributed to all participating students.

To view, visit

Sunday, March 21, at 1 p.m.

An Afternoon with Melissa and Doug Bernstein

Lifelines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light

Melissa Bernstein, author of LifeLines and co-founder of the wildly successful toy company Melissa & Doug, discusses how to triumph over anxiety, depression, and despair as well as help others find their path to meaning and inner peace.  Bernstein takes us on her path through depression, revealing how her “lifelines” transformed despair into a beacon of hope.  In partnership with Books & Books.

To view, visit

Tuesday, March 23, at 6 p.m.

ARTiculatingClimate: Three Playwrights on the Climate Crisis

Co-organizer Chantal Bilodeau, artistic director of The Arctic Cycle, will lead a conversation with three playwrights (Georgina Escobar, Nathan Yungerberg & Madeline Sayet) who participated in Climate Change Theatre Action 2019. Playwrights were prompted to highlight the stories of climate warriors and climate heroes who are building a more just and sustainable world. They will discuss their experience approaching this existential crisis through the discipline of theatre and read short excerpts from their work. In partnership with Live Arts Miami and #ARTiculatingClimate

 To view, visit FB Live: Live Arts Miami at

Saturday, April 17, at 12 p.m.

2021 Big Read Keynote Address: Hope Jahren, Author of Lab Girl

More than half a dozen Big Read communities from around the United States will join online for an insightful and inspiring lecture and Q&A by Hope Jahren.  Her award-winning, bestselling memoir Lab Girl tells the story of a young woman who finds friendship in odd places, battles bipolar disorder, perseveres through setbacks and relishes hard-earned triumphs, and becomes a respected scientist and passionate observer of the natural world.

In partnership with Academy of Lifelong Learning at Lincoln Land Community College, Chillicothe Public Library, Colorado Mountain College, Eagle Valley High School, Maryland Public Television, Morton Public Library District, Orange County Library System, and Vail Public Library.

To view, visit:

Saturday, April 24, at 11 a.m.

The Koubek Center Presents Picnic de Libros ¡en casa!

Along with Fundación Cuatrogatos and Miami Book Fair, the Koubek Center has re-imagined our Storybook Picnics as virtual events, encouraging kids to create their personal version of the picnics at home while joining us on our virtual picnic. This monthly 30-minute bilingual multidisciplinary event aims to interest kids in literature and the arts through storytelling, poems, children’s theatre, tongue twisters, mime and circus performances, riddles, and music. Kids can join each picnic via Facebook Live and invite their favorite stuffed animals, GI Joes, dolls, and toys to join them on a blanket; or have their BFF connect at the same time.  Adriana Barraza Acting students will discuss the importance of being green, conservation, and more, to celebrate Earth Day in April.  In partnership with The Koubek Center for the Performing Arts.

To view, visit Koubek Center FB Live at

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.

For more information, to join a Miami-Dade Public Library book discussion, or to view the complete schedule for The Big Read Miami 2021, please visit or call 305-237-3258.

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