Fall for the Book: a Fairfax Tradition

The literary festival runs from September 25 to 30

by Kristin Leonato

Fall for the Book: a Fairfax Tradition

The signs of fall are showing up all over campus, including final preparations for one of Mason’s signature events, Fall for the Book. In its eighteenth year, Fall for the Book is a weeklong literary festival with events taking place on the Fairfax campus and at other venues across the region between September 25 and September 30. Fall for the Book brings writers, readers, and scholars together like no other event in the region.

Fall for the Book is anchored in the Department of English and is made possible by vital partnerships with the Fairfax County Public Library and organizations on campus and in the northern Virginia civic and business communities. The growing list of partners and sponsors promises continued excellence and access, two hallmarks of the festival.

Most events are free and open to the public, including a conversation with NPR’s Diane Rehm, this year’s winner of the festival’s Mason Award, which celebrates authors who have made an extraordinary contribution to connecting literature to the wide reading public. Fall for the Book culminates in the presentation of the Fairfax Award for outstanding literary achievement to this year’s winner, Sandra Cisneros.

As in years past, many faculty, alumni and students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences have been selected to participate and share their work in a variety of genres. Of special note are the events highlighting current students and alumni of Mason’s well-regarded creative writing MFA program. There are so many great panels, readings, and discussions on offer this year, it’s best to start planning now.

The college is represented each day of the festival at the following events:

Wednesday, September 21 (preview event)

Historian Jack Censer and Debating Modern Revolution: The Evolution of Revolutionary Ideas; solo presentation by Jack Censer*

Sunday, September 25

Self-Publishing Panel; including panelist, Michael Thompson^

Sisters in Crime: Mystery Writers Panel; moderated by Art Taylor*^

Monday, September 26

Novelist Laura Ellen Scott; solo presentation by Laura Ellen Scott*

Art Historian Marion Deshmukh; solo presentation by Marion Deshmukh*

Sociologists Earl Smith and Timothy McGettigan; co-presented by Earl Smith*

Novelist Robert Bausch; solo presentation by Robert Bausch^

Slavery & Beyond: Recovering History through Family Memory; including panelist Susan Tichy*

Featured Event

Mason M.F.A. Alumni Reading; with readings from Renee Angle^, Allison Cobb^, Matthew Norman^ and Alyson Foster^ 

Tuesday, September 27

Historian Jack Censer; solo presentation by Jack Censer*

Science Writer Robin Hanson; solo presentation by Robin Hanson*

Short Story Writers Paula Whyman and Rion Amilcar Scott; co-presented by Rion Amilcar Scott^

Election Talk with William Schneider, Scott Keeter, Matthew Dallek and Jack Censer; moderated by Jack Censer*

Wednesday, September 28

Sociolologists Angela Hattery and Earl Smith; co-presented by Angela Hattery* and Earl Smith*

James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room at 60: Sexuality, Textuality and the Legacy of a Literary Classic; with panelist Clayton Willis^ and moderated by Keith Clark*

Featured Events

Call and Response: “Currents” Panel Discussion; features collaborations from Mason’s MFA program and the School for the Arts

Mason’s M.F.A. Fellows Reading; with readings by Douglas Luman´, Madeleine Wattenberg´, Kerry Folan´, and Sarah Ellis Bates´

Historian James McPherson; moderated by Christopher Hamner* 

Thursday, September 29

Historical Fiction and Context with YA Author L.M. Elliott and Art Historian Lisa Passaglia Bauman; co-presented by Lisa Passaglia Bauman*

Novelist Tania James; solo presentation by Tania James*

Mystery Writers Panel; moderated by Art Taylor*^

Sante Fe Writer’s Project Panel; with panelists Tara Laskowski^, Brandon Wicks^ and Daniel Ford^

Friday, September 30

Novelist Cathy Cruise; solo presentation by Cathy Cruise^

Memoirists Belle Boggs and Abigail Waldron; co-presented by Abigail Waldron^

Featured Event

Poetry Night Out with M. Mack, J.K. Daniels and Nancy Pearson; with readings from M. Mack*^, J.K. Daniels^, and Nancy Pearson^

* denotes George Mason University current and emeritus faculty
^ denotes George Mason University alumni
´ denotes current George Mason University students 

For the full list of writers and events, including detailed information on program times and locations, visit the Fall for the Book web site!