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Miami Book fair spotlights Jamaican authors and poets

Published:Sunday | November 12, 2023 | 12:07 AM

Safiya Sinclair
Safiya Sinclair

Book lovers and bibliophiles converge in Miami for the 40th annual Miami Book Fair taking place November 12-19 at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College.

The eight-day festival features over 400 authors from around the world participating in lectures, panel discussions, book signings, and engaging activities for readers of all ages.

Notable Jamaican authors featured this year include Colin Channer, Safiya Sinclair, Geoffrey Philp, and Dale Mahfood.

“The Miami Book Fair has been a cornerstone of Miami’s vibrant literary community for 40 years,” said Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau representative Melina Martinez. “This event brings together people who love books and provides a space for meaningful connections between readers and writers from around the world.”

Philp, Mahfood, and Sinclair will participate in a session on November 19 titled “Voices of Jamaica: Exploring Race, Identity & Memory,” moderated by poet Sharon Corinthian. Their combined insights will offer a comprehensive exploration of Jamaican identity, emphasising shared experiences and personal narratives.

In How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair’s poignant memoir shares her journey to break free from a strict Rastafarian upbringing in Montego Bay. In an interview on the Today Show, Sinclair described her intention with the book as being to expand the view of Rastafarian culture and Jamaica :“More particularly, I wanted to give a view of the women and girls. Most people, when they think of Rastafari, they have this vision of a man. No one really thinks about what’s the life like of a Rasta girl,” she explained. Sinclair describes the importance of education in her household, revealing that her mother was a significant influence in building a love of literature.

Colin Channer is one of four writers featured in “Four Poets Turn the Tide on Geography & Identity” on November 19. His participation will showcase his work Console: Poems in which Channer’s poems “jolt old notions of New England, from the Berkshires to Anguilla, from Jamaica to Providence, leading to the title poem’s meditations on reggae, religion, marriage, justice, and transgressions in the home”.

An exciting part of the Miami Book Fair is The Street Fair, taking place over the weekend of November 17-19, offering attendees the chance to browse booths filled with books across every genre, meet authors, and enjoy musical entertainment.

Young readers under 12 can enjoy Children’s Alley, featuring story time with authors, arts and crafts, theatre, and live music. Teens can connect with popular young adult authors like E. Lockhart, Tiffany Jackson, and Soman Chainani at the Live Arts Lab.

For more information on the 2023 Miami Book Fair, visit https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/event/miami-book-fair/8971