Five must-see authors at the Miami Book Fair

Patti Smith, Sally Mann and other must-see authors at @MiamiBookFair.

Really, you should see more than five authors at this year's Miami Book Fair. There are, after all, some 600 of them on the schedule. And far more than five merit "must-see" status. This year's fair, the 32nd, boasts an especially strong lineup of novelists, poets, journalists, memoirists, historians, celebrities and the like, including Mary Gaitskill, Sloane Crosley, Mary Karr, Paul Giamatti, Jorge Ramos, Carla Power, Valeria Luiselli, Nell Zink, Lauren Groff and William Finnegan. See? More than five.

Beginning Sunday, Nov. 15, and ending Nov. 22, the fair will once again take place on the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College (300 NE Second Ave.). As always, it won't just be about books and writers. In addition to weeknight readings and the final weekend's Festival of Authors, the fair will host a series of musical performances, film screenings, food programs, games and other participatory events. For the complete schedule, go to MiamiBookFair.com.

Now, here's a bit on five of those authors you really shouldn't miss.

Patti Smith: "For a time I did not dream," Patti Smith writes in "M Train," her just-published follow-up to the National Book Award-winning 2010 memoir "Just Kids." That book provided an elegiac and celebratory account of her friendship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The new one is less focused and more melancholy, as Smith drinks coffee, watches detective shows, reads novels and mourns departed years and loved ones, none so acutely as her husband, the guitarist Fred Smith. But dream she does, whether asleep or awake, and "M Train" is as vulnerable and as needful as a whispered confidence, which is to say it is immensely powerful. "I want to hear my mother's voice," Smith writes. "I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don't go. Don't grow." Smith will appear 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Chapman Conference Center. Admission is $15

Sally Mann: "I never read about photography," Sally Mann told the New York Times this summer. That may be true, but Mann sure can write about it, though it's far from the principal subject of "Hold Still: A Memoir With Photographs," which last month was named a finalist for the National Book Award. With the same precision and curiosity she brings to her acclaimed photography, Mann, born in Virginia in a house that once belonged to Stonewall Jackson, focuses in "Hold Still" on family history, Southernness, art and death. Here she is on discovering her love of photography at 17: "I existed in a welter of creativity — sleepless, anxious, self-doubting, pressing for both perfection and impiety, like some ungodly cross between a hummingbird and a bulldozer." Mann will appear 6 p.m. Nov. 20, in the Chapman Conference Center. Admission is $15.

Susan Casey: To research her first two books, “The Devil’s Teeth” and “The Wave,” journalist Susan Casey braved great white sharks, haunted islands and the ego of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton. While the subject of her new book would appear to place Casey in the company of gentler creatures, “Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins” instead finds her in some pretty hairy circumstances. More than just an investigation into what it is about dolphins that makes people go gaga over them (and know that some pretty gaga people appear in this book), “Voices in the Ocean” reports on the horrific harvesting of dolphins in Japan and the Solomon Islands and the tragic fates of those imprisoned (and there really is no other word for it) by marine parks such as Sea World and the Miami Seaquarium. Casey witnesses these tragedies up close, and her reporting is as essential as it is unsettling. She will appear 12:30 p.m. Nov. 22 in Room 8525 in Building 8.

Nick Flynn: The title of Nick Flynn's new poetry collection, "My Feelings," may seem like a goof. But readers familiar with his three previous books of poetry, his memoirs or even "Being Flynn," the 2012 movie about his life, know that he's not much for fooling around. This is not to say that Flynn is boring. His work is powered by a nervous, inquisitive energy, and the manner in which he has written of his father's homelessness, his mother's suicide and his own drug abuse falls somewhere north of courageous. "My Feelings" includes responses to the deaths of Lou Reed, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Flynn's mentally unstable father. While the book concludes with a poem inspired by the Boston Marathon bombing, it's not all doom and gloom. He works in musings on the periodic table, teaching poetry to high school students and the movie "Gravity." Come to think of it, those poems are pretty sad, too. Flynn will appear 10 a.m. Nov. 22 in the Center Gallery, Room 1365.

Richard Price: A literary crime novelist who knows his way around the muck, Price comes to the fair with a new book and a new pen name, though hardly a clandestine one: "The Whites" is credited to "Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt." Even if Price's publisher had tried to pull one over on readers by leaving the writer's real name off the cover, his fans would have detected its true authorship by the end of the first page. White's realistic, street-level dialogue and layered storytelling has distinguished his work from his 1974 debut, "The Wanderers," on through later novels such as "Clockers" and "Freedomland." Price, who was also a writer for HBO's "The Wire," returns to the streets of New York for "The Whites," in which a police sergeant on the night watch investigates the killing of a former murder suspect. White will be interviewed by his wife, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Lorraine Adams, at 1 p.m. Nov. 21, Room 8503 in Building 8.

jcline@southflorida.com, Twitter.com/jakeflorida

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