Mason’s Fall for the Book Festival Celebrates Its 15th Year

Dave Barry

Dave Barry

Since 1999, the Fall for the Book festival has brought some of the world’s finest authors, artists and thinkers to George Mason University each September, offering a mix of entertainment, education and enrichment not only to George Mason’s students, faculty, staff and alumni, but also to the wider community Mason serves.

And 2013 promises to be one of the best years ever, with headliners ranging from a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist to one of the most important figures in today’s political landscape to the memoirist whose adventures launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

Dave Barry, David Baldacci, Ralph Nader, Sonia Sanchez and Cheryl Strayed are among the nearly 150 authors who will appear at this year’s Fall for the Book, September 22-27, with events at Mason and locations throughout Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Maryland.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist and humorist Dave Barry will receive Fall for the Book’s Fairfax Prize on Sunday, September 22, the opening night of this year’s festival. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Sherwood Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, in downtown Fairfax, Va.

Additional award winners this year will appear on Mason’s Fairfax Campus:

  • Poet Sonia Sanchez, author of “Morning Haiku” and winner of the 2013 Busboys and Poets Award: Wednesday, September 25, at 6 p.m. in Grand Tier III, Center for the Arts.
  • Memoirist Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild” and winner of the 2013 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award: Wednesday, September 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Center for the Arts.
  • Thriller writer David Baldacci, author of “The Hit” and the winner of this year’s Mason Award: Friday, September 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Center for the Arts.
David Baldacci

David Baldacci

Beyond the festival’s four major award winners, Fall for the Book offers a wide range of authors on a diverse set of subjects, including Ralph Nader, who was recently named by the Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history. Nader will talk about his latest book, “Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for America’s Future,” on Monday, September 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Harris Theatre on Mason’s Fairfax Campus. Other participants of note include the following:

  • Novelists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Ellen Crosby, Anton DiSclafani, Thomas Mallon, Benjamin Percy and Bob Shacochis
  • Poets Eduardo Corral, Judith Harris, Karen Ah-hwei Lee, William Logan and Robyn Schiff
  • Historians and biographers Marie Arana, Robert F. Dorr, Dean King, Cate Lineberry and Daniel Stashower
  • Memoirists Josh Hanagarne, E. Ethelbert Miller and Elisabeth Petry (daughter of novelist Ann Petry)
  • Political commentators Kojo Nnamdi and Mark Plotkin
  • Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman
  • And the festival’s first major cooking and food event, with discussions and demonstrations by Norman Davis, Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, Krista Gallagher and Kris Schoels, Dave and Claudia Lefeve, Forrest Pritchard, Michael Stein, Joe Yonan, and Peter and Laura Zeranski at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on Mason’s Prince William Campus.

In addition, Fall for the Book always showcases the talents right here at Mason, with presentations by professors Scott W. Berg, Lisa Breglia, Courtney Brkic, Alan Cheuse, Keith Clark, Paul Gorski, Angela J. Hattery, Elizabeth Huergo, Anthony Hoefer, and Kyoko Mori; alumni Sarah Colona, Scott Garson, Joe Hall, Tara Laskowski, Elizabeth Winder, and Zainab Salbi; and current Mason MFA  in creative writing students.

The festival’s fourth annual “Call and Response” exhibition, currently on view in the Johnson Center’s Gallery 123, showcases the works of students and alumni in Mason’s MFA Poetry Program and School of Art — just one of three exhibitions on view during the festival.

For a full list of events and of authors attending this year’s festival, see www.fallforthebook.org.

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samantha oester

Samantha Oester

Graduate student Samantha Oester says she took about 800 pictures on the first day of her study-abroad trip to Antarctica. The environmental science and policy major was part of a group of Mason students who traveled on and lived aboard the research vessel Ortelius, observing and sometimes aiding the research group Oceanities with their work […]

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