The Big Read 2017

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The Big Read is a national initiative dedicated to supporting organizations across the country in developing community-wide programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. The Miami Book Fair has been part of The Big Read since its inception by the National Endowment of the Arts 11 years ago, and has brought cultural programming to thousands of South Floridians relating to a variety of titles, including Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and Brother I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat, among other books.

Miami Book Fair remembers the plight of Cambodia’s refugees fleeing the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and celebrates Cambodian culture. This year, we have selected The Big Read title In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience. This New York Times bestselling novel tells the story of Raami, a young girl who comes of age during the Cambodian genocide, and finds strength and resilience by clinging to the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father.

Program activities from March 20, 2017 to April 20, 2017 that will focus on the themes addressed in In the Shadow of the Banyan.

About Cambodia:

Upcoming Events

March 2017
All day event.
Various Locations,

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Book Discussions: Various Miami Dade Public Library Branches

A minimum of 12 book discussions will take place at public libraries, independent bookstore, Books & Books and MDC campuses. Free books will be distributed to all participants. Educational and promotional materials provided by NEA will accompany the books to serve as springboards for discussion. Please visit www.mdpls.com for more information.

April 2017
All day event.
Various Locations,

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Poetry Workshops with Peuo Tuy

Khmer-American author Peuo Tuy will facilitate community poetry workshops with a focus on trauma healing for both high school and college students. She will visit local high school classes, where each student in the workshop will receive a copy of her poetry book, Khmer Girl. She will also speak to several MDC classes about her book and writing process.

Saturday, April 8 @ 1:00 pm
O Cinema, 90 NW 29th St, Miami,
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Cambodia in Film: Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten

After a golden age of cinema in the 1960s, the Cambodian film industry suffered during the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, under which entertainment and arts were dismantled. In the 1980s and 1990s, the industry started making a gradual, slow comeback. Foreign films highlighting the country, such as The Killing Fields, Tomb Raider have helped boost these efforts. During the 60’s and early 70’s as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock…

Saturday, April 15 @ 1:00 pm
O Cinema, 90 NW 29th St, Miami,
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Cambodia in Film: The Missing Picture

After a golden age of cinema in the 1960s, the Cambodian film industry suffered during the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, under which entertainment and arts were dismantled. In the 1980s and 1990s, the industry started making a gradual, slow comeback. Foreign films highlighting the country, such as The Killing Fields, Tomb Raider have helped boost these efforts. The Missing Picture explores filmmaker Rithy Panh's quest to create the missing images during the period when the Khmer Rouge ruled over Cambodia between…

Tuesday, April 18 @ 7:30 pm
The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26 Street , Miami, 33127,
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The Origin of the Tiger: A Cinematic Shadow Puppetry Performance

The ancient art of shadow puppetry, or sbaek in Khmer, has been performed in Cambodia for thousands of years. The art form, nearly wiped out under the country's oppressive Khmer Rouge regime, has seen a revival in recent years. Made of large unarticulated leather panels carved with intricate designs, the puppeteers dance and move their puppets against a backlight that brings to life the myths and stories of Cambodia in silhouette. Created by artist, Dan Walker, The Origin of the Tiger…

Wednesday, April 19 @ 6:30 pm
Books & Books - Coral Gables, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables ,
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Keynote Address: In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Conversation with Vaddey Ratner

Vaddey Ratner is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Cornell University, where she specialized in Southeast Asian history and literature. In addition to delving into her own personal story of survival from the Khmer Rouge, author Vaddey Ratner will address the various themes in her novel such as hope and resilience, beauty and truth, and the redeeming power of art and storytelling. She will take questions from the audience…