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Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University

(Sept. 26, 2018) Catherine Read interviews Suzy Rigdon-Williams and Kara Oakleaf, professors at George Mason University (GMU), about the upcoming Fall for the Book Festival. This is the 20th anniversary of the four-day event, featuring over 150 authors.  It will run from October 11th-14th on the GMU campus.

Planning for this event goes on all year, and Rigdon-Williams and Oakleaf are enthusiastic about the variety and breadth of authors and genres that are being featured. During the planning phase they work closely with the festival partners, including the Fairfax County Public Library and professors from George Mason University, to make sure that they know what books are currently popular. This helps them shape the festival and provide relevant programming for patrons.

A few of the headliners include Tayari Jones, author of The American Marriage. This is a best seller that is being read and discussed by many book clubs. This book portrays the relationship of an African American couple when the husband is falsely accused of a crime and sent to jail. Congressman John Lewis will make an appearance to discuss his recently released graphic memoir entitled March, that documents his life story and his role in the civil rights movement. Author Paul Hawkins will speak about his book Drawdown, which outlines practical ways to mitigate climate change. The schedule of all of these authors, along with the 150 others, can be found on the Fall for the Book Website.  There is also a special app that can be downloaded to help patrons organize their schedule during the festival.

Fall for the Book YNTKRigdon-Williams and Oakleaf note that one of the most exciting aspects of the festival is that they are giving their students first hand access to the authors.  Student can learn about how an author completes the writing process and where they get their inspiration. Each and every writer goes about the creative process in their own way, and it is helpful for the students to understand this. For many of the students, it is the first time that they have had access to this type of forum. This exposure can be invaluable to young students who are considering embarking on a writing career.

Saturday October 13th will be community day for the book festival. They are partnering with the City of Fairfax during their Fall for Fairfax Festival, and will have activities and events for people of all ages. The Old Town Hall will feature arts and crafts and special story times. There will be free parking on campus, as well as shuttle buses that will be running back to the downtown area, so people can easily access the activities. They encourage everyone to explore the schedule and come by to hear about a topic of interest.

Sadly, the closing event featuring Angie Thomas who wrote The Hate U Give has to be rescheduled.   Stay tuned for information on the the Fall for the Book website, along with social media, to find out when she will be coming back to discuss her best selling book, which was just released as a movie this month.

Catherine Read will be moderating the panel “Surviving as an Outsider” on Saturday, Oct. 13th from 1:30 – 2:30 in Merten Hall. Joseph Cassara, author of The House of Impossible Beauties and Patrick Nathan, author of Some Hell, will be discussing the concept of outsiders as it relates to the LGBTQ community.

You can download the Fall for the Book app at www.FallfortheBook.org

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