The Miami Book Fair International, which attracts more than 250,000 visitors over eight days, is partnering with Diamond Comics Distributors to expand the comics and graphic novel presence at the 25th annual fair set for November 9—16 on the campus of Miami-Dade College.
Pulitzer Prize—winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman will be a featured guest and will create this year's poster. A graphic novel education day on Nov. 9 will feature professional programming aimed at teachers, librarians, publishers and retailers; there will also be a kids' day on November 14 and an array of publisher exhibitors, panels and author events Nov. 15—16 focused on comics and graphic novels.
Mitch Kaplan, cofounder of the Miami Book Fair and owner of Miami's Books & Books, said the book fair wanted to reflect the growing consumer and professional interest in the category. “It's the 25th anniversary of the book fair,” Kaplan said, “and over the years we've tried to keep it fresh and have it reflect what's going in publishing. Graphic novels have a growing profile, and we'd like to celebrate that.” In fact, Kaplan said he is expanding the graphic novel presence at his stores. “We've carried graphic novels for a while, but now we're added a category buyer and we're giving them a higher profile,” he said.
Alina Interrián, executive director of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami-Dade College, which oversees management of the Miami Book Fair, said past experiences with such comics figures as Pantheon designer/editor Chip Kidd and Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi helped influence their decision. “Marjane's appearance was very successful,” Interrián said. “We discovered a whole new community and we want to continue to serve them.” Diamond Book's John Shableski is working with the book fair to organize the professional programming day, help recruit exhibitors for a graphic novel pavillion and assist in setting up author events and panels for the outdoor fair and street events.
“We know graphic novels are a hot trend,” said Interrián, “and we want to embrace the category more fully and formally.”