Fall for the Book is an eight day festival that promotes reading, writing and literature throughout the region.
During the festival, there will be daily readings, workshops and other presentations. Each night will close with a headliner event. Many of these events are awards, but other events such as a staged reading will occur as well.
FFTB began as a two day festival, one day in the City of Fairfax and the second day on Mason’s campus. Since then, it has become a festival that has lasted as long as ten days, with events throughout Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.
Last year the festival was six days long and about 22,000 people attended.
The original goal of the festival was to reach the Mason and Fairfax community, but with growth every year, the goal has expanded to serving the region.
Now FFTB coordinates with other groups, such as the Writer’s Center in Bethesda or Busboys and Poets in D.C., to make the festival accessible to a large geographical breadth.
A difference for FFTB this year in comparison to past years is that the festival is not competing with the National Book Festival, which is a yearly book festival hosted by the Library of Congress, meaning that the festival will include a Saturday date in their lineup.
On Saturday, FFTB is creating a more festival feel around the Center for the Arts, where you can walk from event to event. There will be readings, food trucks and a book fair.
“In addition, talking about readers and writing, a lot of book festivals are obviously focused on serving the reader. Getting the author on the stage and having a reader sit up there and participate. Fall for the Book, in three different ways, including one that’s debuting this year, are continuing to cultivate writers in addition to attracting readers,” Art Taylor, the marketing director for the Festival, said. “For years we’ve partnered with the Northern Virginia Writing Project to do the Falling for the Story Anthology. Part of their programs, they’re working with kids in local schools, to write. Then we publish an anthology selected from those works every year and we bring them on stage to read it. We’re cultivating the youngest writers and then publishing them, which not all festivals do.”
Along this vein, this year FFTB is debuting Stillhouse Press. It is a publishing company that is a collaboration between the MFA creative writing program at Mason and Fall for the Book.
At FFTB, Stillhouse will be presenting their first book, “Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories,” by Wendy Kaufman.
For continued growth, the obstacle for the coming years is to make FFTB feel like one larger festival.
“A lot of it is regulating how are we going to make all of these events feel like part of a larger festival. That’s part of the next level of growth. So that a person that shows up at the Writer’s Center event, doesn’t think it’s just a Writer’s Center event, it’s a Fall for the Book event as well” Taylor said.
The challenge is connecting events in Bethesda with events in Leesburg with the main festival in Fairfax.
Fall for the Book begins on Thursday, Sept. 11 and goes through Thursday, Sept. 18.
Mason Award: The award is presented in the name of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, who was a major advocate of free speech and free press. The Mason Award is presented to an author who has made reading more accessible by touching wide audiences, thus it stands as a representative of Mason’s values.
Fairfax Prize: An award presented to distinguish the highest literary achievement.
Busboys and Poets Award: This award recognizes achievements in poetry. The award began after the restaurant and bookstore—who shares its namesake—joined forces with Fall for the Book in 2011. The award “also pays tribute to Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., during the 1920s before he gained recognition as a poet.”
Mary Roberts Rinehart Award: This award commemorates the woman who wrote hundreds of works of fiction, nonfiction, short stories and poetry over her lifetime. Rinehart also worked as a World War I correspondent for The Saturday Evening Post, reporting from the war’s frontline in Belgium. The award is presented to a female nonfiction writer who exemplifies traits and contributions to writing that recall the accomplishments of Rinehart.
Friday, Sept. 12
- Playwright Julia Jarcho: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 10:30 a.m.—11:45 a.m.
- Historian Tim Grove: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 12 p.m. —1:15 p.m.
- Defying Gravity Panel: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 1:30 p.m. —2:45 p.m.
- Children’s Book Author Chris Grabenstein: Burke Centre Library [Burke, VA] @ 4:30 p.m.—5:45p.m.
- Novelist Catherine Bell: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 4:30p.m.—5:45p.m.
- Mason Award Presentation: Jodi Picoult: Center for the Art @ 7:30p.m.—8:45p.m.
This year’s Mason Award is presented to Jodi Picoult, thebestselling author of 23 books, five of which debuted the New York Times best-sellers list at number one. Picoult is on the Writer’s Council of National Writing Project, an organization which seeks to help better educate students in writing and reading by creating a network for teacher’s to share educational practices. Picoult’s next book, Leaving Time, is set to be published in October 2014.
- Fiction Writers Nathan Leslie and Pat Spears: The Writer’s Center [Bethesda, MD] @ 8p.m.—9:15p.m.
- Old Firestation Poetry Reading: Old Firestation #3 [Fairfax, VA] @ 8p.m.—9:15p.m.
This year the Old Firestation #3 welcomes three up-and-coming poets: Timothy Donnelly, Dorothea Lasky, and Roger Reeves.
- Staged Reading: Grimely Handsome: Harris Theatre @ 8p.m—9:15p.m.
Playwright Julie Jarcho directs a staged reading of her play Grimely Handsome. The story intertwines Christmas and murder into this dark comedy.
Monday Sept. 15
- Short Story Writer Kevin Clouther: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Novelist Alan Michael Parker: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
- Architect and Novelist Charles Belfoure: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute [Fairfax, VA] @ 2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Medical Ethicist Sigrid Fry-Revere: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Sigrid Fry-Revere is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit lobbying group Stop Organ Trafficking Now!. She recently published the book The Kidney Sellers: A Journey of Discovery in Iran, in which she researches the way in which Iran has solved its lack of kidney donations. She will be a TEDMED speaker later this year.
- Young Adult Novelists L.M. Elliott and Kathryn Erskine: Robinson High School [Fairfax, VA] @ 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Nonfiction Writer Angie Chuang: Mason Global Center Ballroom @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Poet Linda Hogan: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Novelists—and Twins!—Richard and Robert Bausch @ Center for the Arts @ 6 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Biographer Marc Leepson @ Rust Library [Leesburg, VA] @ 7 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
- Mary Roberts Rinehart Award Presentation: Eula Biss: Center for the Arts @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Eula Biss is a nonfiction writer who most recently wrote On Immunity: An Inoculation, which asks why we fear receiving vaccines. Her book Notes from No Man’s Land, received the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.
- Poets Karla Kelsey and Brian Teare: Research Building I, Room 163 @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 16
- Historian Peter Stearns: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Peter Stearns recently retired from his position as Mason’s Provost, a position which he held since 2000. He has been the author of or editor of over 125 books and has been the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social History since 1967. He has recently release Peace in World History.
- Historian Alan Rems: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Historian Denise A. Spellberg: Research Hall, Room 163 @ 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Better Said Than Done: A Panel Discussion: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
- Everyone Is Gay Founders Dannielle Owens-Reid and Kristin Russo: Research Hall, Room 163 @ 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Nonfiction Writer Ron Capps: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Folklorist Lisa Gabbert: Research Building I, Room 163 @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Novelist Porochista Khakpour @ Center for the Arts @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Poetic and Intellectual Freedom: A Panel Discussion: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Memoirist Dani Shapiro: Center for the Arts @ 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Mystery Writers of America: Murder & More: Harris Theatre @ 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Toni Cade Bambara Biographer Linda Janet Holmes: Sherwood Regional Library [Fairfax, VA] @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
- Historian Timothy M. Gay @ George Mason Regional Library [Annandale, VA] @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
- Poet and Essayist Lia Purpura and Novelist Maud Casey: Center for the Arts @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
- Sophie Hannah Debuts New Agatha Christie: Harris Theatre @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Sophie Hannah debuts, The Monogram Murders, the first book to get the license to use Agatha Christie’s characters in over four decades. Hannah is the author of primarily crime fiction novels.
Wednesday Sept. 17
- Nonfiction Writer Guillermo Fesser: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Sociologist Earl Smith: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
- Historian Jane Hampton Cook @ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute [Fairfax, VA] @ 2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Call and Response Gallery Talk: 2nd Floor Conference Room, Fenwick Library, @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Publishing Alternatives: A Panel Discussion: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Sociologist James Joseph Dean: Research Building I, Room 163 @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Novelist Jenny Offill: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Mason MFA Alumni Reading: Center for the Arts @ 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Real Life 101: “Overwhelmed”: Founders Hall @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
- Fairfax Prize Presentation: Richard Russo: Harris Theatre @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Russo is a novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. He won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his book Empire Falls in 2002. The book was also adapted into a mini-series for HBO.
- Poet Peter Streckfus: Center for the Arts @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Thursday Sept. 18
- Historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Anthropologist Amy Shuman: The HUB, Front Ballroom @ 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Amy Shuman specializes in studying anthropological areas of folklore, ethnic identity, and critical theory. She is currently a professor at The Ohio State University.
- Theatre Critic W. B. Worthen: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Women and Gender Studies Scholar Wendy S. Hesford: The HUB, Front Ballroom @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
- Psychologist Todd Kashdan: Center for the Arts @ 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
- Novelist Porter Shreve: Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center Plaza @ 4:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
- Haute Cuisine at the Hylton: Hylton Performing Arts Center [Manassas, VA] @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fall for the Book celebrates food and drink with this event and Mason’s PW campus. The event will feature readings, writing workshops, tastings, and DC area food celebrities.
- Master of Fine Arts Fellows Reading: Research Building I, Room 163 @ 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Novelist Keith Donohue: Johnson Center Meeting Room D @ 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
- Better Said Than Done: An Evening of Storytelling: The Auld Shebeen [Fairfax, VA] @ 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
- Mystery Writer Charles Todd: Cascades Library [Potomac Falls, VA] @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Mystery Writers A.X. Ahmad and Monica Bhide: One More Page Books [Arlington, VA] @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
- Poet Mary Szybist: Research Building I, Room 163 @ 7:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.