Bausch, Baxter, Carlson, Cheuse & Percy

Monday’s night’s event with Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe drew more than 1,200 readers to George Mason’s Fairfax Campus. The event featured a traditional Libation Ceremony and the presentation of this year’s Mason Award, but the real star, of course, was Achebe himself. I’ve worked for five years with Fall for the Book and seen many great, and even legendary authors, but tonight — standing backstage and looking over at Achebe as he waited in his wheelchair to go on and talk about his writing and about a book nearly five decades old — tonight was the first time that I’ve felt in the presence of some greatness.

Charles Baxter

Charles Baxter

Tuesday’s events also feature a line-up of great novelists — including Charles Baxter, whose book The Feast of Love remains one of the most amazing novels published in recent years. Baxter will be reading from his book The Soul Thief at 6 p.m, along with Dick Bausch, reading from his new novella, Peace. After that event, veteran novelists Ron Carlson and Alan Cheuse read from their latest and forthcoming novels, along with up-and-coming talent Benjamin Percy.

Also headlining Tuesday’s schedule is a day-long series of panels celebrating the upcoming bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. Several of the nation’s leading Lincoln scholars will take part throughout the day. And evening events include a quintet of American novelists — both veteran talents and up-and-coming stars.

The week’s complete schedule is available at

Tuesday’s events are listed below, by time and location.


9 a.m.—3 p.m. — University Library Book Sale
Dewberry Hall North, Johnson Center

10 a.m. — Lincoln Scholars, Part I
Daniel Mark Epstein and Andrew Ferguson
Dewberry Hall South, Johnson Center
Honoring the forthcoming bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, this panel features Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage, and Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America. Moderated by Richard Norton Smith. Sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning, the Finley Lecture Series of the Department of History and Art History, and Mason’s Office of University Life.

10:30 a.m. — Environmental Activist Mike Tidwell
Harris Theater
The author of The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America’s Coastal Cities highlights the importance of protecting our environment. Sponsored by Mason’s Sustainability Project and Mason’s Office of University Life.

11:30 a.m. — African Poet Noelle Bolou
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Bolou witnesses the collapse of her native Côte d’Ivoire through her poetry.

12 p.m. — Writers Across Africa
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Writers including Biyi Bandele, Alain Mabanckou, and Veronique Tadjo read from their recent work.

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.

12:30 p.m.
Poet Brian Turner
Ernst Cultural Center (CE Bldg), Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA
An Iraq War veteran reads selections from his award-winning debut collection, Here, Bullet. Sponsored by the NVCC Lyceum Committee.

Joy Harjo

1:30 p.m. — Poet and Musician Joy Harjo
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Harjo shares poetry influenced by her Native American heritage and performs songs from recent CDs. Co-sponsored by Mason’s Office of University Life, Office of Diversity Programs and Services, the Women and Gender Studies Center and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program.

1:30 p.m. — Lincoln Scholars, Part II
Michael Beschloss, Joshua Wolf Shenk, and James L. Swanson
Dewberry Hall South, Johnson Center
Michael Beschloss, Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America 1789-1989; Joshua Wolf Shenk, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness; and James L. Swanson, Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, discuss the legacy of Lincoln. Moderated by Richard Norton Smith. Sponsored by Gale Cengage Learning, the Finley Lecture of the Department of History and Art History, and Mason’s Office of University Life.

1:30 p.m.
Novelist and Legal Scholar Garrett Epps
Mason in Loudoun, Ridgetop Two, Suite 210, 21641 Ridgetop Circle, Sterling, VA
This legal historian, who recently joined the faculty at the University of Baltimore School of Law, discusses his best seller, The Shad Treatment, and the genre of the political novel. Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

2:30 p.m. — Environmental Sustainability Advocates Larry Rockwood and Lee Talbot
Research I, Conference Room
Mason professors Rockwood and Talbot address the questions: What is environmental sustainability? How do we achieve it? What are the prospects for maintaining it?

3 p.m. — Poet Catherine Bowman
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
Bowman samples her award-winning poetry from collections including Notarikon and 1-800-HOT-RIBS.

4:30 p.m. — Novelist Gioia Timpanelli
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
The “Dean of American Storytelling” reads from her first book of fiction, Sometimes the Soul and previews her forthcoming novel, What Makes A Child Lucky.

Katie Ford

4:30 p.m. — Graywolf Press Presents Novelist Ron Carlson, Essayist Sven Birkerts and Poet Katie Ford
Research I, Room 163
Carlson discusses his craft book, Ron Carlson Writes a Story; Birkerts reads from his most recent work, The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again; and Ford unveils her new poetry collection, Colosseum. A reception follows.

5 p.m. — Historians Garrett Epps and Robert Whitaker
Dewberry Hall South, Johnson Center
Epps, Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Civil Rights in Post-Civil War America, and Whitaker, On the Laps of Gods: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Struggle for Justice that Remade a Nation, touch on some of the pivotal moments in American history.

6 p.m. — Environmentalist Eric Brende
Provident Bank Tent, Outside Johnson Center
The author of Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology highlights the difference that each of us can make on our own ecological footprint.

6 p.m. — Novelists Richard Bausch and Charles Baxter
Johnson Center Cinema
Baxter reads from The Soul Thief and Bausch from his new novella Peace. A reception follows. Sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development.

6 p.m.
Poet Brian Turner
Northern Virginia Community College, 1000 Harry Flood Byrd Highway, Sterling, VA
An Iraq War veteran reads from his award-winning debut collection, Here, Bullet. Sponsored by the NVCC Lyceum Committee.

6:30 p.m. — Historian Ryan Coonerty
Fairfax Museum & Visitors Center, 10209 Main Street, Fairfax, VA
Law professor Coonerty discusses on his book Etched in Stone: Enduring Words from Our Nation’s Monuments. Sponsored by the Fairfax Museum and the City of Fairfax.

7 p.m. — World Security Analyst Michael Klare
Johnson Center, Meeting Room C
The defense correspondent for The Nation reads from and discusses his new book, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum.

Benjamin Percy

7:30 p.m. — Novelists Ron Carlson, Alan Cheuse, and Benjamin Percy
Johnson Center Cinema
Veteran novelists Carlson, Five Skies, and Cheuse, To Catch the Lightning, are joined by up-and-coming talent Percy, celebrating his debut novel, The Wilding. A 7 p.m. reception precedes the readings.

7:30 p.m. — A Celebration of Alan Bennett
Old Town Village Gallery, North Street at Route 123, Fairfax, VA
The Theatre of the First Amendment performs Habeas Corpus by English playwright Bennett. Sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.

7:30 p.m.
Politics Laid Bare
Original Building, Room 329, Mason’s Arlington Campus, 3401 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA
As the 2008 Presidential race unfolds, local scholars and journalists examine the contenders, the issues, and the prospects. Presenters include political analyst Michael Fauntroy, Pew Research Center survey director Scott Keeter, and presidential scholar Colleen Shogan.

8 p.m. — Folklorist Diane Goldstein
Research I, Room 163
A scholar specializing in the origins and permutations of health beliefs discusses the folklore surrounding AIDS, explored in her book Once Upon A Virus: AIDS Legends and Vernacular Risk Perception.


Add to Facebook: post to facebook

Share this: