Miami Book Fair and the National Endowment for the Arts Celebrate Reading with The Big Read

Miami, Feb. 22, 2016– During the month of March, Miami Dade College’s acclaimed Miami Book Fair (MBF) celebrates reading with The Big Read, a beloved literary event sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.  The community shared reading program will feature activities inspired by Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, including a photography exhibit by renowned photojournalist Carl Juste, film screenings and Q&A’s with directors, a bilingual theatre performance, author presentations, a Big Night in Little Haiti celebration, an open mic and happy hour writing events. Free copies of this year’s Big Read title will be available at all events throughout the month.

With these events, the Big Read hopes to bring the many stories of Haiti and Haitian-Americans, and various perspectives on immigration, to the people of Miami. The programs also strive to build bridges between communities, contributing to mutual understanding, respect and appreciation.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture. Visit or call 305-237-3258 for a full list of events and to request a free book.

Schedule of Events

Thursday, March 3
8 p.m. | Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
Haiti’s Earthquake & Its Aftermath: A Conversation with Jonathan Katz

Jonathan M. Katz was the only full-time American news correspondent in Haiti on January 12, 2010, when the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere struck the island nation. In this visceral first-hand account, Katz takes readers inside the terror of that day, the devastation visited on ordinary Haitians, and through the monumental–yet misbegotten– rescue effort that followed. In conversation with Nadege Green.

Thursday, March 10
7 p.m. | Koubek Center del Miami Dade College, 2705 SW 3ra Calle

Prometeo Theatre presents the short, bilingual play, Papeles, and Ernesto Ochoa presents his novel Balseros. Papeles by Hector Pino and Brad Beckman is about two travelers detained by customs at an international airport in this satirical take on immigration, profiling and identity. Papeles was a City Theatre National Award recipient for Short Playwriting in 2013. 15 minutes. Balseros (Rafters in English) by Ernesto Ochoa is the first novel written to document and examine the lives of Cubans who’ve emigrated to the U.S. on rafts.

Friday, March 11
7 p.m. | Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami

The exhibition features the photography of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Carl Juste, Miami documentary photographer Woosler Imhotep Delisfort, long-time Miami Herald photojournalist C.W. Griffin, Miami street photographer Stephanie Farokhnia and the work of students from the MiAmi project. Curated by Carl Juste, founder, Iris Photo Collective. (Exhibit open March 1 – 31)


Saturday, March 12
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. | O Cinema Wynwood, 90 NW 29th St, Miami
Stones in the Sun: Film Screening and conversation with Patricia Benoit

Come out for a free screening of Stones in the Sun, a film set in the midst of increasing political violence, in which a young couple, two sisters, and a father and son are driven from Haiti to New York, where they must confront the truths of their interlocked pasts. 95 minutes. Stay for a discussion and Q&A with director Patricia Benoit.

Friday, March 18
6 p.m.-10 p.m. | Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami
(In Creole and English)

Enjoy a night of literature, music, art, food, culture and fun, as the Miami Book Fair brings the Big Read to Big Night in Little Haiti. Before the music starts, participants can enjoy up-close-and-personal discussions with eight women writers of Haitian descent who will read from, and discuss, their most recent works of fiction and non-fiction, and children’s books. Featured authors: Rebecca N. Carmant, M.J. Fievre, Margaret Papillon, Mahalia Solages, Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel, Fabienne Josephat and Cynthia Verna. Presented in partnership with the 2016 Caribbean Reading Series, Rhythm Foundation, and Little Haiti Cultural Center.


Saturday, March 19
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. | Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables
La Belle Vie: Film Screening and conversation with Rachelle Salnave
La Belle Vie: The Good Life is a story about a Haitian-American filmmaker, Rachelle Salnave’s journey to discover her Haitian roots by examining the complexities of the Haitian society as it pertains to the overall political and economic dichotomy in Haiti. With the proliferation of political turmoil, poverty, and now an earthquake shattered nation, La Belle Vie: The Good Life in the end beckons all to lay down their arms, be it the tangible weapons of death and pain or the psychological and spiritual tools of division and prejudice, and work as one to rebuild and prosper in the name of a new and stronger Haiti. Stay for a conversation and Q&A with director Rachelle Salnave.

Thursday, March 24
6:30 p.m. | Books & Books @ the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
FIRST DRAFT: A Literary Social

Participants are led in a short, themed writing prompt with the theme being Out of Place. Interested guests are encouraged to read their work aloud, enjoy their first drink on the house, eat and socialize. Instructor: Vanessa Garcia.  Free RSVP required:

Saturday, March 26
7 p.m. | Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables
Storypalooza: The Big Read Edition

Come out for a storytelling open mic! This is how it works: you have 4 minutes to tell your story in front of a panel of editors from Lip Service, Miami’s own, home-grown, live (true) storytelling event. Get feedback from these pros before the submission period for May’s Lip Service show. The panel will include local authors Andrea Askowitz, M.J. Fievre and Nick Garnett. The theme for the night is Family Stories. Free RSVP required:

Thursday, March 31
6:30 p.m. | Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami
Author Edwidge Danticat in conversation with Americans for Immigrant Justice Executive Director Cheryl Little, Esq.

Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying tells the true story of the author’s uncle and father as they work to build a future for themselves and their families—one brother in Haiti and the other in America. Told through Danticat’s singular voice, these events set the stage for a powerful tale of loss and remembrance. Attorney Cheryl Little worked closely with Danticat on her uncle’s immigration case. Delicious Haitian food by Leela’s Restaurant will be served prior to start of program.

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 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 eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways 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.