What’s new at the show this year? What’s changed? And what key aspects of the show remain constant?
Lopez: One of the best things about the Fair is that it is a brand-new event every year! All of the books are newly published and the authors vary year to year, so all of the readings and conversations will be different from any previous show. What remains a constant are things that make the Miami Book Fair truly special our home at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in downtown, for example. The Fair was founded here and having this easily accessible urban campus, and all of the MDC employees who volunteer, truly makes it possible for us to build an event that offers such variety. Our programs for children are one key aspect that we take great pride in. The authors and activities are different from year to year, but our areas for playing and learning, such as Children’s Alley a plaza of pop-ups inside which kids learn about tech, music, health, and much more remain in place, as do our live music, our "literary quirkiness" stage, and our author events in Spanish and Haitian Creole.
What makes this book fair unique to Miami?
Mendez: All the sunshine! And the aforementioned Spanish-language and Haitian Creole author programs. Miami is home to Hispanics from all over the world, as well as a sizeable community of Haitians and other Caribbean people both of us are of Caribbean-born parents. We work very hard to ensure that all South Floridians feel included.
What are some of the show highlights? What are each of you looking forward to personally?
Lopez: I love the variety of authors and topics. Lissette started coming to the Fair while in high school, and the many author programs I attended throughout the years really opened up my world and helped me discover and learn. I owe half my education to the Fair, and I want to make sure that others have the same opportunities I did.
Mendez: I look forward to our children’s programs. I get a huge thrill and a giant smile on my face knowing that our community’s children from the 9,000-plus schoolchildren who come on field trips to the 10,000-plus who come with family on the weekend are growing up with access to books.
For people from out of town, what are some must-visit spots in Miami?
Mendez: I’m a South Beach native, so I recommend a quick ride over the causeway from the Fair to the Standard Hotel for a spa day or just a lunch at their outdoor restaurant on the bay, The Lido. The Standard is Lissette’s favorite place to hide out, relax, eat healthy, and read by the ocean.
Lopez: If you like to shop, Delia recommends visiting Brickell City Centre and Lincoln Road in South Beach. Don’t miss the Wynwood Walls with its huge, colorful street murals by artists from around the world. Not very far from the Fair, Midtown Miami and the Design District feature some interesting shops and restaurants. If you are more into tranquility and nature, Delia also suggests the Oleta River State Park or Matheson Hammock Park for hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. November is the perfect time of year for outdoor fun.