The book cover of Roxane Gay's New York Times' bestseller, "Ayiti." Photo courtesy: Miami Book Fair

By Onz Chery

The book cover of Roxane Gay’s New York Times’ bestseller, “Ayiti.” Photo courtesy: Miami Book Fair

The 2020 edition of the Miami Book Fair will be held virtually via their website from Nov. 15 to Nov. 22, free of charge to attendees. Four of the annual literary fair’s events are dedicated to Haiti’s history, arts and writers.

Roxane Gay, an award-winning author and a New York Times op-ed contributing writer, will discuss some of her works on Nov. 21. Gay is well known for writing “Ayiti,” a fictional collection about the Haitian diaspora.

The following day, Bayyinah Bello, a Haitian-born historian, will talk about the achievements of the wives of several Haitian leaders. Included are Marie Claire Bonheu, Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s wife, and Michele Bennet, the wife of Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier.

Bello will speak in Creole, with English subtitles on the virtual panel. Her event is titled “The Queens, Empresses, and First Ladies of Haiti.” Bello is the author of “SHEROES of the Haitian Revolution,” a 2019 book that highlights women who played a major role in Haiti’s fight for independence in 1804.

Michèle-Jessica ‘MJ’ Fièvre, a renowned Haitian-born writer, and Marleine Bastien will moderate the panel. Bastien is FANM’s executive director, a primarily female run advocacy and social service agency in Little Haiti, Florida.

On Nov. 21, Julio Capó Jr. will moderate an overview of the writings of some LGBTQ authors of Caribbean roots in the So Queer and So Caribbean panel. Works from writers with Haitian roots will be included.

Capó Jr. is an associate history professor at Florida International University. 

A children’s event will take place on the last day of the fair. “The Haitian Caribbean Celebration for Kids: Taptap Krik? Krak!” will display Haitian and Caribbean stories, music and dance. Six celebrities are scheduled to make guest appearances: chef Nadège Fleurimond, writer Katia D. Ulysse, singers Inez Barlatier and Toto Laraque and the two-man gospel group, Jees Creation.

Political sociologist Jean Eddy Saint Paul and writer Alin L. Hall will discuss Haiti’s proposed Penal Code on Nov. 22 as well.

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.

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