Annual Fall for the Book Festival Begins Sept. 19
By Art Taylor
The biggest names, the hottest books and the newest discoveries can be found at the 12th annual Fall for the Book Festival, Sept. 19–24.
Nearly 150 authors will be at events at George Mason University and throughout Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland during the weeklong celebration of literature.
Novelist Ann Patchett, author of “Bel Canto” and “Run,” will receive this year’s Fairfax Prize for literary excellence on Monday evening, Sept. 20; and memoirist and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea” and “Stones Into Schools,” will receive the Mason Award on Friday evening, Sept. 24, for his work spreading the joy of literature to a wide and international reading public.
Additional headliners include
Kathryn Stockett, whose novel “The Help” has dominated summer bestseller lists
- Jane Smiley, who won the Pulitzer Prize for “A Thousand Acres” and is debuting her new book, “Private Life”
- Michelle Singletary, author of “The Power To Prosper” and a nationally syndicated financial adviser
- Poet Jay Wright, winner of a MacArthur “genius” fellowship
Fall for the Book’s lineup features authors spanning a wide variety of genres, including
- Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Deborah Blum, author of “The Poisoner’s Handbook”
- Emmy Award-winning TV reporter and Mason alumnus Lee Thomas, author of the memoir “Turning White”
- Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, author of “Dykes to Watch Out For” and the memoir “Fun Home: A Tragicomic”
- Political activist David Swanson, author of “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency”
- Former FBI hostage negotiator Gary Noesner, whose new memoir, being launched nationally at the festival, is titled “Stalling for Time”
And there’s even more:
- Children’s and young adult authors Jamey Long, J.D. Smith and Amy Brecount White and parenting experts Sandra Burt and Linda Perlis
- Novelists Lan Samantha Chang, Jennifer Egan, Robert Goolrick, Bernice L. McFadden, Rick Moody, Howard Norman and Garth Stein
- Mystery writers Megan Abbott, Ellen Crosby, John Gilstrap and Charles Todd
- Poets Charles Bernstein, Brenda Hillman, J. Michael Martinez and Mark Nowak
- Memoirists Jennifer Finney Boylan, Thoms Norman DeWolf and Lisa Tracy
- Historians Burrus M. Carnahan, Carol Lee Hamrin, John Kiser, Robert M. Poole, Omid Safi and Isabel Wilkerson
A variety of special programs at the festival include
- “The Next Decade in Book Culture” with commentators organized by the National Book Critics Circle
- “The Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in the South,” with memoirist Bob Zellner, journalist Alex Heard and historian Claudrena N. Harold
- “Mass Media and Society,” with Jack Censer, author of “On the Trail of the D.C. Sniper,” and Stephen Farnsworth and Robert Lichter, co-authors of “The Nightly News Nightmare: Media Coverage of U.S. Presidential Elections.” Censer is dean of Mason’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as a history professor; Farnsworth and Lichter are Mason communication professors.
- The first-ever joint U.S. appearance by three of Denmark’s leading writers: Pia Tafdrup, Naja Marie Aidt and Simon Fruelund
For updated information and a complete list of participating authors and festival locations, be sure to bookmark www.fallforthebook.org.
All events are free and open to the public, thanks to sponsors George Mason University, Barnes & Noble, NOVEC, the Fairfax County Public Library and other generous businesses and organizations.