The first Miami Book Fair International took place in 1984, founded by Miami Dade College and other local partners. During the 31 years of its existence, the fair has grown from a local gathering called Books by the Bay to the largest literary festival in the country, taking over blocks of Miami’s downtown. Along the way, the fair has hosted literary lions, celebrity authors, politicians and international sensations, including Hunter S. Thompson, George W. Bush and Patti Smith. The fair has also helped local and little-known writers onto the national stage. In previous years, authors have included recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and MacArthur Fellowship. Three decades in, what was once a two-day street fair has become an eight-day book party held in mid-November, with readings and discussions that allow readers access to some of their favorite authors.