Joyce Carol Oates on Twitter, Her Writing Process, and Lovely, Dark, Deep

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Courtesy of Miami Book Fair International
John Updike described the career of Joyce Carol Oates better than anyone when he said, ". . . if the phrase 'woman of letters' existed, she would be . . . entitled to it." She's written novels, short story collections, nonfiction, novellas, plays, poetry, collections, children's and young adult books, and been awarded too many honors to mention.

An author, poet, avid Twitter user, and teacher, her work as a writer has spanned a remarkable five decades.

Oates will be reading from her latest collection of stories, Lovely, Dark, Deep, at the Miami Book Fair International on Thursday night, so we quizzed the legendary author via email about Twitter, her writing routine, and the details of her memoir.

See also: Six Ways to Geek Out at Miami Book Fair 2014

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The Ten Best Things to Do at Miami Book Fair International

Categories: Lists, Literary

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via UM Quidditch on Facebook
It's the most wonderful time of the year for book nerds: Christmas, Mardi Gras, and New Year's Eve rolled into one glorious week to charm and delight South Florida's bibliophiles. The Miami Book Fair International has almost arrived.

But with a massively long schedule of awesome events and only one of you (unless you've perfected cloning, in which case, we salute you), it's tough to decide what literary fetes are most deserving of your precious time.

So, to make life easier, here's our list of the top ten can't-miss book fair events. (Note: We didn't delve too far into the author readings; there are too many of those to pick from and that's a choose-your-own-adventure kind of deal.)

See also: Book Fair 2014 Includes John Waters, Questlove, Ira Glass, and More

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South Florida Theatre Community Honors Passing of Local Actress with Scholarship Fund

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Photo by Marlena Skrobe
Laura Ruchala (foreground) with Bree-Anna Obst in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
It was Shakespeare who once said "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." That pronunciation also implies that it boasts both triumphs and tragedies. Bree-Anna Obst can relate to philosophy as well as to the bard that implied it in the first place. Obst, part of the theater department at Miami Children's Museum, lost her friend and fellow thespian Laura Ruchala this past August to a brain aneurysm.

"Laura was a Shakespeare enthusiast, a budding director, and an incredible actress, whose performance career spanned three counties, Dade, Broward and West Palm Beach," Obst recalls. "Laura was determined to keep the Bard alive in South Florida, and so it is my hope that this community can contribute to Laura's dreams and goals, despite her not being here to pursue them herself."

To that end, Obst has organized a cabaret event she's named "A Night For Her: A South Florida Theatre Cabaret Celebrating Laura Ruchala." The event, slated for November 15, will feature members of the South Florida Theatre community as part of a celebration that will help realize Ruchala's dream to share Shakespeare's genius with other actresses and enthusiasts.

See also: Microtheater Brings Spanish Theater Tradition to Miami (Video)

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Miami-Based Reading Queer Awarded Grant by National LGBTQ Task Force

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Courtesy of Reading Queer
The litany of gay and lesbian writers is practically endless. From Plato, to Proust, Wilde, Ginsburg, and Capote, there seems to be an inordinate number of gay scribes relative to the number for straight writers. Their mastery of language, coupled with a unique, and non-heteronormative view of the world prompted many to cordon off their work into a distinct literary taxonomy: queer literature.

In August, Miami's Reading Queer festival debuted onto the local literary scene with a smash. It was the first attempt by local organizers to establish the town as a center for queer literature and performance art. The celebration brought together artists from various fields, all hell-bent on gender subversion.

See also: Reading Queer: Literary Festival Explores '80s Gay Cruising Culture

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Miami Poetry Read-Outs To Fight Police Brutality: "It Can Happen to Anyone of Us"

Categories: Culture, Literary

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Photo by Sabrina Rodriguez
Protesters show their support for Michael Brown in August in downtown Miami.
Poetry has long been a vehicle for voicing unrest, from the words of Maya Angelou to Nikki Giovanni. A new series, "Poetry for the People" Read-Outs, is using the words of poet-activists like Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton and more to add Miami's voice in the fight for justice for Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was killed by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson. The gatherings, held October 21 and October 28, will feature FIU students and faculty members reading works by renowned poets as well as original works.

A read-out was recently held at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus, which included a chance to sign the Change.org petition, to "establish state-wide task forces to provide community oversight of the Florida Police Departments," which will be sent to Rick Scott. The events at the Modesto Maidique Campus will give students and faculty an even bigger opportunity to air their concerns about current racial issues plaguing the country.

See also: The Spotlight: New Spoken Word Venue Seeks Poets and Performers

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Books & Books To Open New Location at Arsht Center

Categories: Books, Literary

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It's a great time to be a book lover in South Florida. Popular literary destination Books & Books will once again expand its reach when it opens another location in the former Sears Tower on the campus of the Adrienne Arsht Center.

The new location, set to open by the end of the year, will house a café open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily with seating for about 100, the Miami Herald reports. The Arsht Center spot is the latest addition to the Books & Books family, which includes outposts in Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Bal Harbour.

See also: Miami Book Fair International Brings National Book Award Winners, Finalists to Miami

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Free Events This Week in Miami: Writing Workshop, Big Band Tunes, and Champagne

Categories: Art, Literary

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Photo by Laine Doss
Stop by Vinos in the Grove for some free champagne. You deserve it.
Football is back with a vengeance (or a misleading win, in the Dolphins' case), and thanks to Sunday Funday, Mondays are dragging more than ever. This whole five-day workweek thing has jumped the shark, wouldn't you say?

We feel your Monday through Friday pain, so here's a list of stuff to occupy you all week, till that blessed off time rolls around again.

See also: PHOTOSTREAM: Share Your Miami Instagrams in Dwntwn Arts Days Project

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Exile Books Pop-Up Premieres Saturday at Locust Projects

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Photo by Augusto Mendoza
Amanda Keeley has always found inspiration in artist's books. Now, the 2014 Knights Art Challenge finalist is readying her longtime project, Exile Books, for its Miami debut this weekend at Locust Projects. Exile Books is a traveling pop-up store installation dedicated to selling, supporting, and promoting publications produced by artists.

For the premiere pop-up, Keeley collaborated with New York painter Sarah Crowner, who has created a large installation that references the history of stage and set design, with Keeley sourcing materials about set design, theater, and dance performance for the location. The opening reception on Saturday also will feature the limited-edition monoprint of a theatrical playbill, created by Keeley and Crowner, that will be available for purchase. Books that inspired Crowner, like periodicals from the Art Brut movement, will be part of Exile's selection, in addition to three titles by the artist.

See also: Knights Arts Challenge Finalist Amanda Keeley Plans to Stage Pop-up Bookstores

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Reading Queer: Poet L. Lamar Wilson on the Struggle to Love God, and Each Other, Freely

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Courtesy José A. Villar-Portela
On Saturday, Miami's first gay literary festival, Reading Queer, hosted its headlining event at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, where poet and scholar L. Lamar Wilson read selections from his award-winning collection of poems, Sacrilegion. A Marianna, Fla. native, Wilson's poems have appeared in African American Review, Callaloo, jubilat, Los Angeles Review, The 100 Best African American Poems, and other publications.

The event opened with words from founder of the series, Neil de la Flor, the director Jose A. Villar-Portella, as well as Wilson on how he came to be involved in the series. Upon discovering Wilson, they fell in love with his voice and reached out to ask if he would consider headlining the series, with a "perfect ensemble of voices," says Villar-Portella.

See also: Reading Queer: Literary Festival Explores '80s Gay Cruising Culture

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Reading Queer: Literary Festival Explores '80s Gay Cruising Culture

Categories: LGBT, Literary

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Courtesy of Reading Queer via Facebook
This week in South Beach, artists and guests will take part in an interactive artistic and philosophical expression in the Reading Queer Series, which aims to inaugurate Miami as a center of queer literary culture.

The series kicked off at the Betsy Hotel in South Beach last Saturday, and continues with the artist group Digital Hostage Collective's Cruising Hialeah or Ghosts of Public Sex tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.

See also: Former Miami Herald Reporter Reveals Gay Escapade in Havana

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