November 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Postcard from the Miami Book Fair

Steamy Miami hosted the Miami Book Fair this past week, culminating this weekend with a street fair--with an antiquarian row, I might add--and a packed schedule of author lectures, readings, and signings. I was lucky to be there promoting my first book, Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places, during an hour-long event called "Stories of Books: Cultural Explorations" with Andrea Mays, author of The Millionaire and the Bard: Henry Folger's Obsessive Hunt for Shakespeare's First Folio, and James Grissom, author of Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog.

image3.JPGI also had the chance to see a couple of other terrific presentations. FB&C readers will recognize the name Marvin Sackner, co-founder the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the largest collection of typewriter art and concrete poetry in the world, who is featured in our current issue. Marvin, seen here at left, spoke about how he and his wife, Ruth, began collecting "typed artpoe" in the 1960s and how it turned into the beautiful new book, The Art of Typewriting.

A riveting session on Civil War Stories included a talk by James L. Swanson, collector of Lincolniana and author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. He described how useful artifacts are to him while he is writing--he owns, by the by, a lock of Lincoln's hair and a shred of the blood-stained shawl worn by actress Laura Keene on the night of the president's assassination.  

My trip to Miami wasn't complete without a visit to indie bookseller Books & Books (the flagship site in neighboring Coral Gables), a vibrant shop with an incredible selection of art books. Books & Books was opened 33 years ago by Mitchell Kaplan, not coincidentally the mastermind behind the Miami Book Fair, which celebrated its 32nd anniversary this year.