Fall for the Book Gets Off to Great Start — and More to Come!

Despite being largely overshadowed (in some corners of the press, at least) by the National Book Festival next week, Fall for the Book got off to a great start today, with hundreds of folks showing up at events in downtown Fairfax, and even more at some of the events further outside the area: Alexandria, Arlington, Bethesda, and Bowie. 

The highlights for me were talking with writers Kathleen McCleary about her path to publication, chatting up Nani Power about her new memoir, and hearing Scott Huler discuss how he ended up trying to  recreate Odysseus’ journey a couple of years back. Good stuff all around.

And more to come on Monday too — with a couple of great friends taking part in a the “On-Campus Kick-Off,” a reading of recent work by alumni from Mason’s MFA program, and then many of us (many, many, I hope!) gathering for an evening with Chinua Achebe. The complete schedule is below.


10 a.m. — Celebrating Chinua Achebe
Johnson Center Cinema
Scholars from different parts of Africa discuss the work of Chinua Achebe and other African writers. A reception follows. Co-sponsored by Mason’s Global Affairs Program and New Century College.

12 p.m. — The On-Campus Kick-Off!
Mason Alumni Authors
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Opening this year’s on-campus festivities, graduates of Mason’s MFA Program in Creative Writing — including Brian Brodeur, Robert Drummond and Mel Nichols — read from their recently published works. This event features music, prizes and more!

12 p.m.—4:30 p.m. — Paperback Swap
North Plaza, Outside the Johnstojn Center
Volition, Mason’s undergraduate journal of literature and art, hosts a paperback swap. Trade books you’ve already finished for others you can’t wait to start.

12:30—3:30 p.m. — Poetry-on-Demand!
Near the Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
The University Writing Center hosts a Poetry-on-Demand table, with students from Mason’s MFA Program in Creative Writing offering original verses in minutes!

12 p.m. — Writing Professor Don Gallehr
Dewberry Hall South, Johnson Center
Gallehr leads a workshop exploring how meditation practices can enhance the writing process.

12:30 p.m. — Photojournalist David Bacon
Grand Tier III, Center for the Arts
Bacon discusses labor, immigration and international politics, drawing on his two most recent books Communities Without Borders and Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants.

1 p.m. — GMU Dancers
North Plaza, Outside Johnson Center
“Impulse Present” is a site-specific dance performance. GMU dancers will draw from audience suggestions to create a spontaneous moving environment.

1:30 p.m. — Novelist Frank Delaney
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
The author of the bestselling novels Ireland and Tipperary offers a sneak peek at the third novel in the series, Shannon, to be published in spring 2009.

2 p.m. — Memoirist Lori Smith
Dewberry Hall South, Johnson Center
Journalist Smith combines a travel memoir and history in her latest book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey Into Adventure, Love, and Faith.

3 p.m. — Novelist Ana Maurine Lara
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
An activist for social justice and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues reads from her award-winning novels Erzulie’s Skirt and Anacaona’s Daughter. Sponsored by Friends of the Sherwood Regional Library.

3 p.m. — Espionage Expert Fred Hitz
Grand Tier III, Center for the Arts
The first statutory inspector general of the CIA offers an insider’s perspective of espionage today through his books The Great Game: The Myth and Reality of Espionage and Why Spy? Espionage in an Era of Uncertainty. Sponsored by the Friends of the Reston Regional Library.

4:30 p.m. — Political Analyst Michael Hais
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Hais examines the intersection of politics and technology in the new study he co-authored with Morley Winograd, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics. Sponsored by Mason’s Democracy Project and Office of University Life.

5:30 p.m. — Reception for Chinua Achebe
Grand Tier III, Center for the Arts
The traditional food, music, and dress of Nigeria are the hallmarks of this event, sponsored by Mason’s African Student Association.

6 p.m. — Candid Yak
The Bistro, Johnson Center
The Candid Yak, Mason’s graduate reading series, and Student Media host an open mic reading, with two featured poets from GMU’s MFA program: Danika Stegeman and Ethan Edwards. All are welcome to participate. Bring a short poem or prose sample to read, or just come out and cheer on your friends!

6 p.m. — Wine Tasting and Discussion
The Wine House, 3950 University Drive, Fairfax, VA
The Wine House owner Michael Pearce guides local wine lovers on a tasting of four special wines. Make reservations now to stay for dinner afterwards! Co-sponsored by The Wine House and the City of Fairfax.

Scott Huler

7 p.m. — Journalist Scott Huler
Foster’s Grill, North Street, Fairfax, VA
Journalist Huler takes us behind-the-scenes of America’s most popular sport with A Little Bit Sideways: One Week Inside a NASCAR Winston Cup Race Team. Sponsored by Fairfax City Auto Dealers and the City of Fairfax.

7:30 p.m. — Novelist Chinua Achebe
Concert Hall, Center for the Arts
Nigerian novelist, poet and critic Chinua Achebe accepts the 2008 Mason Award, celebrating an author whose body of work has made extraordinary contributions to bringing literature to a wide reading public. The author also reads from Things Fall Apart, the most widely read and perhaps most profoundly influential African novel ever. Co-sponsored by Mason’s Global Affairs Program and Office of University Life.


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