Friends & Sponsors Spotlights

Friend of the Month: Mervyn Solomon

Mervyn Solomon is a longtime Friend of the Fair who has contributed to our work in more ways than one. A native of Tobago and the son of a Methodist school headmaster, he lived in Trinidad and then Canada for a time before coming to Miami in 1983.
Tell me a bit about your life in Tobago and Trinidad.
I shifted back and forth, …

Friend of the Month: Patricia Azze

Blogger and writer Patricia Azze was born and raised in Miami and has been attending the Fair since she was a child. Heavily involved in the local children’s theater scene growing up, she can also claim a stretch as a singer in a girl group.
OK, you have to tell me about the girl group thing.
That was an interesting period of my life! …

Friend of the Month: Conrad Gleber

Conrad Gleber and his late wife, Gail Rubin, built a successful niche book publishing business in New York City and raised three children. The couple relocated to Tallahassee in the nineties; he now divides his time between Miami, where his daughter, Katrina, lives, and New York, which is home to his two sons, John and Conrad.
Tell me about the publishing house you started. …

Friend of the Month: Sheryl Berkowitz

Attorney Sheryl Berkowitz grew up in Brooklyn, New York, went to college in Washington, D.C. – where she became involved in political and community-based organizing – and went on to earn her law degree at Northeastern in Boston. She landed in Miami in 1986, spent some time living in Israel and Bolivia since then, and is a longtime Friend of the Fair. …

Friend of the Month: Irene Sperber

A native of Maine, Irene Sperber grew up in the Pine Tree State and as an adult lived for a time in London, Hong Kong, and New York City before making Miami her main base in 1998. A self-described “non-planner” and “creative being,” she enjoyed a career as a fine art photographer and is now writing a book about her travels. …

Friend of the Month: Jackie Peña

Jackie Peña grew up in the Bronx in New York and, after a stop in Massachusetts, came to Miami to pursue her doctoral degree. That planned two-year stint ended up being a long-haul decision, as she’s still living in South Florida today nearly 20 years later. She is the founder of ETE Consulting – where she and her team provide strategic planning, …

Friend of the Month: Jubi Arriola-Headley

Award-winning poet Jubi Arriola-Headley, who presented his debut collection, original kink, at Miami Book Fair 2020, grew up in Boston, made stops in New York, Washington, D.C., and Houston, and today lives in South Florida with his husband, Paulo. He’s also a Friend of the Fair, and he sat down with us recently to talk about this and that.
How did you first learn about Miami Book Fair? …

Friend of the Month: Asha Elias

Asha Elias planted roots in Miami in 2001, where she’s raising her 10-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. She’s a longtime fan and more recent Friend of the Fair, and also a soon-to-be-published author – her first novel, Pink Glass Houses, will be released June 2024.
Congratulations on the book – that’s so exciting! How did it come about?
I began writing the book when we went into quarantine, …

Friend of the Month: JJ Schmidt

JJ Schmidt is a longtime Friend of the Fair. Born in Los Angeles, he moved with his family to South Florida at the age of 2 so we’re claiming him as one of our own. After 30-plus years in corporate America, he completed his doctorate at FIU’s school of business in 2021 and now works as an independent consultant. He also teaches as an adjunct at a couple of universities. …

Friends of the Month: Candis & Guy Trusty

Candis and Guy Trusty – she’s an attorney, he’s a commercial real estate broker specializing in the hotel industry – have been sharing their thoughts and opinions on the books they read with each other ever since they were growing up across the street from one another in Virginia. They came to the Magic City after Guy was tasked with helping to open up the Omni Hotel in downtown Miami in the late 1970s. …

Friend of the Month: Connie Goodman-Milone

Philly native, poet, and writer Connie Goodman-Milone lives in Miami with her husband David – they met-cute at a bookstore! – and their two cats, Ursa and Maya, named for Maya Angelou. She’s been involved with the Junior Orange Bowl Creative Writing Contest for many years and is its past chair emeritus, and devotes much of her time to serving as a patient care volunteer with VITAS, …

Friends of the Month: Anne Jackaway & Pete Ferrero

Architect Anne Jackaway and attorney Pete Ferrero are both longtime fans of Miami Book Fair. She’s attended every Fair since its inception in 1984; he’s been going for years and became an official Friend of the Fair in 2022. “I snuck in all the other years,” he said, laughing. The two of them met at Book Fair 2019 and have been an item ever since. …

Friend of the Month: Erin Marcus, M.D.

Boston-area native Erin Marcus’ path to becoming a doctor was somewhat circuitous. A history major who loved biology, she was a reporter for several newspapers in New England before heading to med school. Once there she kept her journalist skills sharp with stints as a science reporter in between semesters, and took a year off to be a reporter at The Washington Post. …

Friend of the Month: Michael Blades

Michael Blades hails from Indianapolis and has lived in Key West since 1991. He and his wife, Katheryn Kilroy, are longtime Friends of the Fair who’ve been enjoying the annual event for more than 20 years. Michael works for the nonprofit RPM Nautical Foundation, which locates, studies, and protects maritime heritage, primarily in the Mediterranean.
How did you learn about Miami Book Fair?

Friend of the Month: Barbara Gutierrez

Barbara Gutierrez is the associate director of communications and public relations at the University of Miami. She’s also a staunch advocate for Miami Book Fair.
What does your day to day look like at UM?
I’m basically a writer. We have an on-campus newsletter, which I call a newspaper because we put it out daily; that’s very rare in the academic world. …

Friend of the Month: Merle Saferstein

Merle Saferstein is a longtime Friend of the Fair who has called Miami home for 50 years. She’s also an avid journal writer who recently released the book Living and Leaving My Legacy Vol. 1, comprising excerpts from the 359 journals that she’s kept since 1974.
How old were you when you first began journaling and how did you start?
I started journaling, …

Friend of the Month: Danielle Calleja

Native Miamian Danielle Calleja is an associate director of investor relations at Carlyle Aviation, providing support in fundraising and investor communications. She relocated to Paris for about a year to study 19th-century French literature in pursuit of her graduate degree before returning to the Magic City.
You’ve been going to Book Fair events for years – what’s the first one you can remember attending? …

Friend of the Month: Ana Veciana-Suarez

Ana Veciana-Suarez lived in South America as a young child but has called Miami home most of her life. The syndicated columnist and former Miami Herald features writer has been a journalist for nearly 40 years.
How did you first learn about Miami Book Fair?
I think anybody who’s interested in books and has lived here most of their life has heard about it. …

Friend of the Month: Drew Bunker

Attorney Drew Bunker was born and raised in Ohio, moved to Miami seven years ago, and now calls Miami Beach home. He became a Friend of the Fair in 2018 and hasn’t looked back since.
How did you first hear about Miami Book Fair?
Through my friends, also transplants, who had been in Miami a little bit longer than me. They were big Book Fair fans – we all love to read – and they’re the ones who told me about it. …

Friends of the Month: Rosanne & Ben Shore

Rosanne and Ben Shore met when they were teenagers, and a year after they married relocated to Miami, where Rosanne attended law school and Ben did a pediatric residency at Jackson.
You’re from Toronto, Rosanne, and Ben, you’re from Philadelphia. How did you meet?
B: We met on a ski trip when I was 18 and she was 15. My girlfriend had just dumped me and I met Rosanne walking down a hallway in the hotel. …

Friend of the Month: Bonnie Schwartzbaum

Chicago native Bonnie Schwartzbaum came to Miami 41 years ago, where she’s currently the director of the Jewish Community Services kosher food bank – you can read a great story about her work there in this month’s Biscayne Times – and she is active in many community-serving organizations. She’s been a Friend since 1986.
How did you first learn about Miami Book Fair? …

Friend of the Month: Karen Decou

Karen Decou relocated to South Florida from Pennsylvania in 1993 – and immediately felt the loss of the expansive wealth of cultural institutions that had been at her fingertips as someone living in the City of Brotherly Love and just 90 minutes from Manhattan. But when a new friend and fellow Philly transplant introduced her to Miami Book Fair, she began to feel at home. …

Friend of the Month: Marcia Dunn

 
Marcia Dunn attended the very first Fair in 1984 and has been a Friend for many years. The Albany, New York, native – who relocated to Miami as a newlywed in 1962 – is committed to encouraging a love of literature and reading, especially in children.
You’ve been going to Book Fair since its start – how did you hear about it? …

Friend of the Month: John Sennetti

John Sennetti, professor emeritus at Nova Southeastern University, has been arranging his November work and retirement schedule for 20 years to attend Miami Book Fair with friends and relatives.
What makes MBF so special?
It’s an adult Disneyland of stories and ideas presented by authors we likely have not yet read – and may not even read afterward – but attend anyway, …

Friend of the Month: Michael Anna de Armas

Patron of the literary arts, poet, mom – Michael Anna de Armas finds what feeds all three of those loves at Miami Book Fair, so it’s no surprise that she’s a Friend of the Fair!
When did you become a Friend of the Fair?
I think I started in 2017, and it was Lisa Better who first told me about the Friends, …

Sponsor Spotlight: South Motors

Jonathan Chariff is the CEO of South Motors, which has been supporting Miami Book Fair since 2011! He recently sat down with us to share his thoughts on the country’s largest and most beloved celebration of books and literature.

Why does South Motors support Miami Book Fair?
Reading opens our minds and hearts to new possibilities, and Miami Book Fair does a fantastic job engaging our community – especially our children. …

MBF Sponsor Spotlight: Global City

Brian Pearl is a principal and co-founder of Global City Development, where part of his day to day focuses on discovering new opportunities for the nonprofit side of the firm, which is a longtime supporter of Miami Book Fair. The Billings, Montana, native has called Miami home for 20 years.

How long has Global City been a Miami Book Fair supporter and how did that come about? …