Marie Arana is an author of nonfiction and fiction, senior advisor to the U.S. Librarian of Congress, director of the National Book Festival, the John W. Kluge Center’s Chair of the Cultures of the Countries of the South, and a writer at large for The Washington Post. Her memoir, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is also the author of Cellophane: A Novel and Lima Nights: A Novel. For many years, Arana was editor-in-chief of The Washington Post’s literary section, Book World. She has also written for The New York Times, National Geographic, The International Herald Tribune, Spain’s El País, and Peru’s El Comercio, among many other publications.
Karla Arenas Valenti
Born and raised in Mexico City and with ancestry spanning back to Ireland, Spain, and the Indigenous people of Mexico, Karla Arenas Valenti writes stories for and about kids, taking readers on journeys steeped in magical realism and philosophical questions. She is the creator of the My Super Science Heroes series and the picture book Maria Mariposa. Lotería (Knopf Books for Young Readers) is her debut middle-grade novel. During the hottest hour of the hottest day of the year, a fateful wind blows into Oaxaca City, whistling down cobbled streets and rustling the jacaranda trees before slipping into 11-year-old Clara’s window. Clara doesn’t know it, but she’s been marked for la Lotería. Life and Death deal the Lotería cards once a year. If Life wins, Clara will live to old age. If Death prevails, she’ll flicker out like a candle. But Clara knows none of this. What she does know is that her young cousin, Esteban, has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him. And though it seems her grim fate is sealed, Clara may have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path. Said Kirkus, “Life and Death’s annual game leaves a girl’s life in the balance as magical realism meets other-world fantasy in this novel set in Oaxaca … Exquisite illustrations greatly enhance the text.”
Mario Alejandro Ariza
Mario Alejandro Ariza is a journalist and poet who also covers federal courts for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. His poetry, journalism, and nonfiction writing can be found in places like BOAAT Press, The Atlantic, and The Believer. Ariza edited and wrote the introduction for Waterproof: Evidence of a Miami Worth Remembering (Jai Alai Books) – a collection of microelegies to Miami places and a sample of the responses of Miamians to the question “What will you miss when Miami is gone?” – Book Two of The Miami Trilogy by the O, Miami Poetry Festival. The 197 pieces therein are the answers from 165 writers and artists, ranging from high schoolers to retirees and hailing from all corners of Miami-Dade County.
Kristen Arnett is the author of The New York Times bestseller Mostly Dead Things: A Novel and Felt in the Jaw: Stories. A queer writer based in Florida, she has written for The New York Times, Guernica, BuzzFeed, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, Salon, and elsewhere. In With Teeth (Riverhead Books), Arnett offers a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love. If she’s honest, protagonist Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Samson is a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. She tries her domestic best – driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school – while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. Now Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. The New York Times found With Teeth “sublimely weird, fluently paced, brazenly funny and gayer still, and it richly deserves to find readers.”
José Arteaga (San Juan de Pasto, Colombia, 1963) – Periodista musical especializado en la historia del latin jazz, la salsa y la música caribeña, también ha escrito sobre temas judiciales, deportes y cultura popular. Reside en España. Colaboró con El Espectador, para el que escribía la columna “La radiola”, y con 91.9 La revista que suena, publicada por la emisora Javeriana estéreo. Coeditor del libro Chachachá Un baile y una época, un libro de arte que recorre la historia de un ritmo que le dio la vuelta al mundo a través de las tapas de los discos de la Colección de Gladys Palmera, la más grande que existe dedicada a la música cubana y afrolatina. Algunos de sus libros más destacados son: La salsa (1990), Música tropical y salsa en Colombia. Ensayos sobre música colombiana (1992), La música del caribe Historia de los ritmos antillanos (1994) y Oye cómo va… El mundo del jazz latino (2004). Arteaga presenta Chachacha: Un baile de salón y una época.
Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Sunset Park: A Novel, The Book of Illusions: A Novel, and the New York Trilogy, among many other works. He is a recipient of the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis étranger for Leviathan, and the Premio Napoli for Sunset Park. Stephen Crane, best known as the author of The Red Badge of Courage, transformed American literature through an avalanche of original short stories, novellas, poems, journalism, and war reportage before his life was cut short by tuberculosis at age 28. Auster’s Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane (Henry Holt and Co.) is an insightful, probing account of a singular life which seems to zig and zag between one perilous situation to the next, including writing an article that disrupts a presidential campaign, battling the New York City police department, surviving a shipwreck, and oh yes, withstanding enemy fire to send dispatches from the Spanish-American War. Crane then relocates to England, where he befriends Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Burning Boy is a dramatic biography of a brilliant writer as only another literary master could tell it. Author Russell Banks called it “brilliant and beautiful … This is more than a novel, more than a biography, more than a book of critical analysis. This is a significant work of literature.”
Mona Awad is the author of Bunny: A Novel and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. She has published work in The New York Times Magazine, Time, VICE, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. Miranda Fitch, the protagonist of Awad’s latest book, All’s Well: A Novel (Simon & Schuster), is in all kinds of pain – physical, emotional, you name it. The accident that ended her acting career also left her with excruciating chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a dependence on painkillers. And now, she’s on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. That’s when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda’s past – and a promise for her future. O, The Oprah Magazine called it a “sparkling valentine to the Bard. A dream of a novel, perfect for a midsummer night’s read.”
Andrew Aydin is the creator and co-author of New York Times bestselling March series – the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award – and has written for comics such as Bitch Planet and X-Files, as well as for Teaching Tolerance Magazine and Creative Loafing. Run: Book One (Abrams ComicArts) is the first installment of a powerful new graphic novel series focusing on the struggle for civil rights and the personal story of late Congressman John Lewis (2/21/40 – 7/17/20). To Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the Voting Rights Act in 1965. But that was after more than five years as one of its preeminent figures, leading sit-in protests and fighting segregation on interstate busways as an original Freedom Rider. His extraordinary work included helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and co-leading the march from Selma to Montgomery on what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” Lewis knew that victories are just the beginning, not the end, of a struggle. Politician, voting rights activist, and author Stacey Abrams noted that “Run recounts the lost history of what too often follows dramatic change – the pushback of those who refuse it and the resistance of those who believe change has not gone far enough. … Run gives vivid, energetic voice to a chapter of transformation in his young, already extraordinary life.”
Joaquín Badajoz (Pinar del Río, Cuba,1972) – Poeta, crítico y ensayista. Reside en la ciudad de Nueva York. Miembro correspondiente de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Español (ANLE). Es coautor de Enciclopedia del Español en los Estados Unidos (2009), Hablando bien se entiende la gente (2010), Diccionario de Americanismos (2010) y de la revisión de la 22ª edición (Panhispánica) del DRAE de 2014. Ha publicado los libros de poesía Passar Páxaros (2014), TNT ( 2016) y Cántaro (Hypermedia Americas, 2021). Con este último título, un poemario experimental que rastrea los orígenes comunes de la poesía y la filosofía, se presenta su autor en la Feria del Libro de Miami.
Larry Baker is the author of The Flamingo Rising: A Novel, later adapted into a TV movie; A Good Man, Love and Other Delusions: A Novel, and The Education of Nancy Adams. His latest Florida novel, Wyman and the Florida Knights (IceCube Press) begins in 1866 and ends on Election Day in 2016. Peter Wyman was the most famous portrait painter in America, but his fame had come with a high price – his mind and soul. Nearing the end of his life he wants to erase himself, but how? He decides to go into hiding. But where? He’s clueless until an aging blond cashier in St. Augustine points him in the right direction. It’s a place “north of Orlando, if it still exists. Ex-boyfriend of mine came from there and told me it was full of crazies. ... You want to disappear, you go to Knightville.” Craig Lancaster, author of And It Will Be a Beautiful Life: A Novel, noted that “Florida’s not just a place but an idea, a fever dream, a place to gamble and win big, and sometimes a place to lose it all. Larry Baker takes a big, imaginative swing … and hits a literary home run. It’s part Southern gothic, part history lesson, part adventure, and a fully immersive experience.”
Carmen A. Baker
Carmen A. Baker is a library services specialist with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. She has more than 20 years of experience in youth services, programming, and general librarianship, and manages the MDPLS local author series and fair, which won a 2020 National Association of Counties (NACo) achievement award. Baker has also received the SEFLIN Summit award for developing programming for infants and the visually impaired, and has represented MDPLS internationally by hosting early literacy workshops at libraries in Medellin, Colombia, and Madrid.
Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, a political analyst for MSNBC, and author of Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House and The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton. The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III (Anchor) – co-written with his wife, Susan Glasser, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a CNN global affairs analyst – is a study in the acquisition, exercise, and preservation of power in late 20th-century America. For 25 years, from the end of Watergate to the aftermath of the Cold War, no Republican won the presidency or ran the White House without the advice of James Addison Baker III. A child of Texas aristocracy, Baker had never worked in Washington until a family tragedy struck when he was 39. Within a few years, he was leading Gerald Ford’s campaign and would go on to manage a total of five presidential races – and win a sixth for George W. Bush in a Florida recount. Ruthlessly partisan during campaign season but an indispensable dealmaker after the election, Baker ran Ronald Reagan’s White House. The Economist called it a “masterclass in political biography.”
Illustrator and designer Kim Balacuit has previously worked with Sesame Street and Abrams Books. Young Trailblazers: The Book of Black Inventors and Scientists (Dragonfruit), a collaborative project with writer and educator M.J. Fievre, is a salute to Black pioneers in literature, entertainment, science, education, business, military, sports, spirituality, and more. It’s a journey populated by figures we know – such as Katherine Johnson, George Washington Carver, and Madam C.J. Walker – but many we don’t, such as James West, a critical figure in the invention of the microphone, and Garrett Morgan, inventor of the traffic signal.
Pablo Baler (Buenos Aires, 1967) es escritor de ficción y teórico, autor de la novela Circa (1999) y del volumen de cuentos La burocracia mandarina (2013). Es también autor de Los sentidos de la distorsión: fantasías epistemológicas del neobarroco latinoamericano (2008), y editor de The Next Thing: Art in the Twenty-First Century (2013). Baler es profesor de literatura latinoamericana en la Universidad Estatal de California, Los Ángeles, e International Research Fellow del Centro de Investigación sobre el Arte de la Universidad de Birmingham, Reino Unido. Parte de su obra ha sido traducida al portugués, al inglés y al rumano. Chabrancán es su última novela.
Dan Balz is the chief correspondent covering national politics, the presidency, and Congress for The Washington Post. He is also the author of Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival (Little Brown & Co); The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (Viking Adult) with Haynes Johnson; and Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America (Viking).
Cary Barbor is a writer, editor, and radio producer. She has contributed to such magazines as New York, Salon, and More, and has produced radio stories for NPR’s Here and Now and The Pulse, and WNYC's The Leonard Lopate Show. She has published short stories in Natural Bridge and Full Circle Journal. Her story We Don’t Wear Shoes in the Ashram was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has also published personal essays in Backpacker and AMC Outdoors magazines.
Cynthia Barnett, environmental journalist in residence at the University of Florida, is the author of four books, including Rain, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and named a finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. In her latest work, The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans (W. W. Norton & Company), she blends cultural history and science to trace our long love affair with seashells and the hidden lives of the mollusks that make them. In the process, she reveals a larger story about nature, our changing oceans, and ourselves. The New York Times noted that The Sound of the Sea “will have you marveling at nature … Barnett’s account remarkably spirals out, to become a much larger story about … environmental crises and preservation.”
Israel Barrón (Pachuca, Hidalgo, México, 1974) – Artista plástico e ilustrador de libros infantiles. Estudia la especialidad de pintura en la Facultad de Artes Plásticas de la Universidad Veracruzana. Su obra ha sido expuesta en muestras personales en varias ciudades de México como Xalapa, Puerto de Veracruz, Pachuca y Tuxtla Gutiérrez y, en el extranjero, en Victoriaville y Québec (Canadá) y en Yokohama (Japón). Ha participado en más de cincuenta exposiciones colectivas en México, Canadá, Estados Unidos, Serbia, Italia, Uruguay, Israel, Argentina, Perú, Colombia, España, Eslovaquia, Corea del Sur y Japón. Su trabajo como ilustrador comprende carteles, libros, revistas, suplementos culturales y ediciones electrónicas. Ha realizado ilustraciones para prestigiosas editoriales de México, Colombia e Italia. También ha diseñado escenografías e ilustrado portadas de discos. Recibió el Premio CANIEM (Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana) al Arte Editorial en 2012 y 2015, con libros en los que ha participado como ilustrador. En 2017 fue ganador de la Placa de Oro en la Bienal de Ilustración de Bratislava. Creó la imagen para la 38va. Feria Internacional del Libro Infantil y Juvenil de la Ciudad de México en 2018. En 2019 participa en La Fiesta de la Lectura/The Reading Festival, organizada por la Fundación Cuatrogatos en Miami. En el mismo año, interviene como conferencista en la Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá. Interviene en el 8vo. Seminario de Literatura infantil y Lectura
Pía Barros (Melipilla, Chile, 1956) – Narradora y tallerista. Estudió Licenciatura en Castellano en la Universidad de Santiago. Desde 1978 se ha dedicado a su gran pasión: dar talleres literarios. Actualmente es directora de Talleres Ergo Sum y de Editorial Asterión. Dirige el Proyecto Internacional ¡Basta!, contra la violencia de género. Es autora de los libros de cuentos Miedos transitorios (1986), A horcajadas (1990), Signos bajo la piel (1994), Ropa usada (2000), Los que sobran (2003), La Grandmother y otros (2007), El lugar del otro (2010), Las tristes (2015) y Duele (2021); de los volúmenes de microficciones Llamadas perdidas (2006) y Hebras (2020) y de las novelas El tono menor del deseo (1991) y Lo que ya nos encontró (2001). Textos suyos se encuentran publicados en numerosas antologías y sus obras han sido traducidas a varios idiomas. Participa en el homenaje a Augusto Monterroso por cumplirse este año el centenario de su nacimiento.
Dave Barry is the author of thousands of humor columns and dozens of books, including Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog (Simon & Schuster), which explores the ways in which his dog is wiser than he is; Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys, Dave Barry Turns 40, and Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up. He plays guitar (although he admits, not well) for the Rock Bottom Remainders and is probably the only living human who has both won a Pulitzer Prize and had a sewage lifting station named after him.
Judy Batalion is the author of White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forward, and Vogue, among other publications. The granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors, Batalion was born in Montréal, where she spoke English, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish. In The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos (William Morrow), she shares the exploits of a group of young Jewish women in Poland – some still teenagers – who, after witnessing the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, turn country’s Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. Their work encompassed paying off Gestapo guards and hiding revolvers in loaves of bread to using their Aryan looks to seduce and shoot the enemy. They also nursed the sick, taught children, and hid families. Among them was Renia Kukielka, a weapons smuggler and messenger who risked death traveling across occupied Poland on foot and by train. Other women served as couriers, armed fighters, intelligence agents, and saboteurs; all put their lives in mortal danger to carry out their missions. Yet, until now, their stories – called “well-researched and riveting” in Batalion’s hands by The Wall Street Journal – have remained virtually unknown.
Jan Beatty is a poet. Her books include The Body Wars, Jackknife: New and Collected Poems, The Switching/Yard, and the chapbooks Ravage and Ravenous. She also wrote Comets, a collection of essays about gender and censorship. Beatty’s work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, BuzzFeed, North American Review, and The Best American Poetry. American Bastard: A Memoir (Red Hen Press) chronicles her search for her birth parents, a journey that compelled her to traverse literal continents – and continents of desire – as she finds her birth father, a Canadian hockey player and winner of three Stanley Cups, and her birth mother, a working-class woman from Pittsburgh. Issues of class and struggle run throughout, with a link between identity and blood history a driving force of her experience. Beatty writes through complete erasure: loss of name and history, and a culture based on the currency of gratitude as payment from the adoptee. American Bastard sandblasts the exaltation of adoption in Western culture and the myth of the “chosen baby.” Presidential Inaugural Poet and author Richard Blanco said that “American Bastard dares and succeeds at reimagining and redefining memoir as a genre where stream of consciousness meets essay, meets magical realism, meets reportage, meets poetry, to create an epic mosaic only possible through the literary genius of Jan Beatty.”
Andrea Beaty is the author of many children’s books, including the bestselling Questioneers series; Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies; Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau; and One Girl. Aaron Slater, Illustrator (Abrams Books for Young Readers), illustrated by David Roberts, tells the story of a kid who loves listening to stories and dreams of one day writing them himself. But when it comes to reading, the letters just look like squiggles to him. When his teacher asks the class to write a story, Aaron can’t get a single word down. He is sure his dream of being a storyteller is out of reach and it makes him sad – but then inspiration strikes, and Aaron finds a way to tell stories his own way.
Historian Cesar Becerra is the author of half a dozen books that delve deeply into the soil and soul of South Florida, including Robert Is Here: Looking East for a Lifetime, A Fifty Year Love Affair with Frankie's Pizza, and The Logging History of the Everglades. In Orange Blossom 2.0, informed by decades of research, Becerra tells the untold story of the city’s “other mother,” Mary Brickell, a major landowner, developer, and presciently savvy businesswoman, who is often largely overlooked and overshadowed in the pages of Miami's past.
Jean Becker was President George H.W. Bush’s chief of staff for nearly 25 years, from March 1994 until his death on November 30, 2018. How do you deal with going almost overnight from being the most important and powerful person in the world to a private citizen? That’s the story in The Man I Knew: The Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush’s Post-Presidency (Twelve), a portrait of Bush by a confidante who knew him well. Becker tells how, after his loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush rebuilt his life and found a way to make a difference. His post-presidency, she notes, was filled with determination, courage, love, hope, humor, fun, and big ideas. He became best friends with the man who defeated him; developed the odd habit of jumping out of airplanes; and after having lived most of his life as a high-energy athlete, learned how to adjust to life in a wheelchair. Bush’s daughter Doro Bush Koch offered: “What I love best about The Man I Knew is that the reader will be reintroduced to the funny, dear, generous – did I say funny? – father I adored. I am grateful to Jean Becker for sharing her stories from the 25 years she was my dad’s chief of staff. Even I heard a few things I didn’t know!”
Ruth Behar was born in Havana, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. The first Latina to win a MacArthur “Genius” Award, Behar also won the Pura Belpré Award for Lucky Broken Girl. She writes for young people but her work also includes poetry, memoir, and travel books, such as An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy. Behar is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In Letters from Cuba (Nancy Paulsen Books), she tells the story of Esther, who follows her father’s escape to Cuba as the situation for Jews worsens in Poland on the eve of WWII. Before embarking on her journey she promises her beloved sister, who is staying behind, to write to her sharing everything she experiences until they reunite. In those letters, Esther records both the good – the kindness of the Cuban people and her discovery of a valuable hidden talent – and the bad: Nazism has found a foothold even on the tiny island nation. The New York Times celebrated the book as “a quiet story of determination, and an openly loving tribute to the author’s grandmother, who made the real journey that inspired Esther’s fictional one.”
Aimee Bender is the author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, An Invisible Sign of My Own: A Novel, and the short story collections The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures: Stories, and The Color Master: Stories. Her works have been widely anthologized and translated into 16 languages. The Butterfly Lampshade: A Novel (Anchor Books) is Bender’s poignant tale of a mother, a daughter, mental illness, and the shifting barrier between the mind and the world. On the night her single mother is taken to a mental hospital after a psychotic episode, 8-year-old Francie stays with her babysitter, waiting to take the train to Los Angeles to live with relatives. There is a lamp next to the couch on which she’s sleeping, its shade adorned with butterflies. When she wakes, Francie spies a dead butterfly, exactly matching the ones on the lamp, floating in a glass of water. She drinks it before the babysitter can see. Twenty years later, Francie’s compelled to make sense of that moment and two other inexplicable incidents. Her recall is exact – she is sure these things happened. She is certain about her memories, but still, she wrestles with the hold they have over her and what they say about her relationship to reality. The New York Times called the book a “compact surrealist memory box of a novel.”
Layla Benitez-James is a poet, translator, and artist whose translations can be found in Waxwing and Anomaly. She currently works with the Unamuno Author Series in Madrid as its director of literary outreach. Her first collection of poetry, God Suspected My Heart Was a Geode But He Had to Make Sure, was published by Jai-Alai Books in Miami.
Victor “Master Ben” Benoît
Victor “Master Ben” Benoît is a co-founder of the Collège Jean Price-Mars, where he still teaches history and social science. He is also a social democrat activist, the founder of various political parties and civic movements, and the former Minister of National Education and Social Affairs for Haiti. He has devoted his life to fighting against dictatorship and social exclusion to promote a democratic system based on social justice. In Batailles électorales et crises politiques en Haïti (1807-1957)/Electoral Battles and Political Crises in Haiti (1807-1957)(C3Editions), he traces the political and social vulnerability of a country in the chokehold of political crises and electoral battles, starting with its independence in 1804 and ending with President François “Papa Doc” Duvalier's ascent to power in 1957. Benoît examines the critical barriers to effective governance in Haiti, including infighting, lack of electoral accountability, class resentments, and ideological conflicts. He establishes a connection between the electoral battles and the political crises and presents poor governance as the first explanatory factor for a dysfunctional Haitian society.