Wednesday, Oct. 10 – Daily Schedule

Wednesday, October 10 Schedule at a Glance

Join us in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Fall for the Book.

All events are free and open to the public. Plan your visit and your parking in Mason Pond by clicking here.

Full schedule details can be found here.

Events are at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, 4400 University Drive, unless otherwise noted.

In case of rain, all events in the Sandy Spring Bank Tent will be relocated to Dewberry Hall, located on the ground floor of the Johnson Center: 4477 Aquia Creek Ln, Fairfax, VA 22030


The Ottoman Caliphate’s Mystical Turn with Hüseyin Yilmaz
Johnson Center, 3rd Floor, Meeting Room F
Hüseyin Yilmaz traces how a new conception of the caliphate emerged under the Ottomans, who redefined the caliph as at once a ruler, a spiritual guide, and a lawmaker corresponding to the prophet’s three natures. Challenging conventional narratives that portray the Ottoman caliphate as a fading relic of medieval Islamic law, Yilmaz offers a novel interpretation of authority, sovereignty, and imperial ideology by examining how Ottoman political discourse led to the mystification of Muslim political ideals and redefined the caliphate. Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought is the first comprehensive study of premodern Ottoman political thought to offer an extensive analysis of a wealth of previously unstudied texts in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. Sponsored by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies.

Unhappy in Their Own Way with Frank Morelli & Brigid Kemmerer
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
Two writers tackle dark, intense family problems within the young adult novel. No Sad Songs by Frank Morelli tells the story of a high school senior who just suffered a family trauma and was left with the huge responsibility of caring for his grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer’s, all while trying to meet girls and make the varsity baseball team. VOYA describes the book as “a timeless story of coming-of-age while watching loved ones fade into age.” In More Than We Can Tell, Brigid Kemmerer shares a dark narrative about the love of two troubled teens, one of whom is living with loving adoptive parents while abusive biological parents linger in the background; and, another teen dealing with constantly fighting parents and cyberbullying. Booklist calls it “an absorbing, emotional roller coaster of a read.”


From the Heart of the Refugee Crisis with Tom Sleigh
George’s, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center
With self-deprecation and empathetic humor, Tom Sleigh’s essays in The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees, explore the urgency of our global refugee crisis and our capacity as artists and citizens to confront it. He recounts his experiences during several tours in Africa and in the Middle East, asking three central questions: “What did I see? How could I write about it? Why did I write about it?” Kirkus Reviews says, “Wry and sharply observed, Sleigh’s book bears witness to injustice as it engages in a compelling humane quest for artistic truth. Provocative and eye-opening work from a dedicated artist.”

Finding Your Focus: A Mindful Conversation with Beth Cabrera & Laurie J. Cameron
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
Beth Cabrera joins Laurie J. Cameron to discuss tips for harnessing mindfulness among the daily chaos. Cameron’s book, The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm, and Joy from Morning to Evening is designed for busy professionals looking to integrate mindfulness into their daily lives. It draws on contemplative practice, modern neuroscience, and positive psychology to bring peace and focus to the home, in the workplace, and beyond. Beth Cabrera is a senior scholar at the Center for Well-Being, and is the author of Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being. Sponsored by Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.

Inhaling the History of the World with Sam Kean
Johnson Center, 3rd Floor, Meeting Room F
With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you’re probably inhaling some of it now. In Caesar’s Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it. The Guardian describes Kean’s writing as “provocative and entertaining” and named In Caesar’s Last Breath 2017’s Best Science Book.


Call and Response “Borders” Panel Discussion
Fenwick Reading Room 2001, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library
Call & Response is an annual exhibit of collaborations between writers and visual artists in which one calls and one responds. The result is a set of paired works, resonating with each other, demonstrating the interplay of artistic media, and speaking of our times.T his year’s theme is borders. Call & Response is a collaboration between the School of Art and the English Department’s MFA program in Creative Writing.

Searching into the Past & the Self with Andrea Kleine & Nathaniel Popkin
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
Two novels tell intertwining stories of the search for the past, and for ourselves. In Everything is Borrowed by Nathaniel Popkin, an acclaimed yet restless architect, Nicholas Moscowitz digs into the history of his newest commission and discovers Julius Moskowitz, a Jewish anarchist who lived in the same Philadelphia streets with the same surname over a hundred years prior. Their dual narratives intersect to create a masterful novel and a poignant meditation on cruelty and regret. Stephanie Feldman calls the novel “an evocative meditation on the bond between a man and the places that formed him.” Twenty years after two sisters are abducted in Andrea Kleine’s novel, Eden, the abductor is up for parole. In order to try and keep him jailed, one sister sets out to find the other in a suspenseful and moving journey of a lifetime. Publishers Weekly calls it “fascinating…a gripping portrait of the lingering effects of trauma.”

Changing the American Dream with Laura Wides-Muñoz
Johnson Center, 3rd Floor, Meeting Room
Meet journalist Laura Wides-Muñoz, author of The Making of a Dream: How a Group of Young Undocumented Immigrants Helped Change What it Means to be American and Hareth Andrade-Ayala, one of the book’s featured youths. Wides-Muñoz chronicles the next chapter in civil rights as witnessed through the inspiring experiences of five young undocumented activists who are transforming society’s attitudes toward one of the most contentious political matters roiling America today: immigration. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “Poignant… An eye-opening exploration of the DREAM Act and those who have tried to find safe harbor in the United States under its aegis. A well-crafted, timely contribution to the immigration debate.”

The Heroine’s Journey with Kathy MacMillan & Deborah Schaumberg
George’s, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center
Female heroes find their power, courage, and humility in Deborah Schaumberg and Kathy Macmillan’s gripping new novels. In The Tombs, Deborah Schaumberg melds history and fantasy, taking readers on sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl’s breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York, and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried? In Dagger and Coin, Kathy Macmillan’s heroine, Soraya Gamo, was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroys the monarchy and the capital city. Now, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, holding the political power she always wanted – but over a nation in ruins. As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: her brain.


The Road Less Traveled with Cheuse Center Fellows with Tim Barzditis, Carol Mitchell, & Rachel Purdy
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
Along with Matt Davis, director of the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center, MFA students Carol Mitchell, Tim Barzditis, and Rachel Purdy will share their experience overseas as 2018 Cheuse Travel Grant winners. The Cheuse Center at George Mason University celebrates the art of creative writing as a means of international dialogue, education, and understanding.

Letters from the Boys: Wisconsin World War I Soldiers Write Home with Carrie A. Meyer
Fenwick Reading Room 2001, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library
On the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the flood of American troops in Europe that would shift the tide of World War I in favor of the Allies, Letters from the Boys brings to life this terrible war as experienced by Wisconsinites writing home. Carrie A. Meyer combed through three newspapers in Green County, Wisconsin, to collect and synthesize the letters from boys into a narrative that is both unique and representative, telling the stories of several Green County boys and what they saw, from preparing for war, to life among French families near the front, to the terror of the battlefield. Sponsored by the Department of History and Art History.

Injustice in Policing Black Bodies with Angela J. Hattery & Earl Smith
George’s, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center
In Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives Are Surveilled and How to Work for Change, Angela J. Hattery and Earl Smith make a compelling case that the issue goes far beyond the brutal headline stories of Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray. Hattery and Smith connect the regulation of African American people in many settings–including the public education system and the criminal justice system–into a powerful narrative about the ways African Americans are policed. The book discusses the school-to-prison pipeline; mass incarceration and the prison boom; unique ways black women and trans people are treated; wrongful convictions and the challenges of exoneration, and more. Sponsored by Women and Gender Studies and African and African American Studies.


(Un)dead on the Great Plains with Alma Katsu & Marianne Kirby
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
The living dead and angry spectres haunt the travelers in two terrifying novels. Alma Katsu’s The Hunger is a supernatural re-telling of the story of the ill-fated Donner Party, a large group of families travelling by covered wagon into the most deadly and disastrous trip west in American history. USA Today says, Katsu “is at her best when she forces her readers to stare at the almost unimaginable meeting of ordinary people and extraordinary desperation, using her sharp, haunting language.” Marianne Kirby’s novel Hogtown Market is the second book in her Feral Seasons series. Picking up where Dust Bath Revival left off, it follows Henrietta Goodness, Hank to everyone who knows her, as she escapes her grim town to help her brother. If the Reborn– the dead who rose after the great Dust Bowl– don’t get her, the human predators will.

Conspiracy Theories, Captivity, and UFOs with Susan Lepselter
Johnson Center, 3rd Floor, Meeting Room F
In The Resonance of Unseen Things: Poetics, Power, Captivity, and UFOs in the American Uncanny, cultural anthropologist Susan Lepselter offers an ethnographic meditation on the “uncanny” persistence and cultural freight of conspiracy theory. The book focuses on the enduring American preoccupation with captivity in a rapidly transforming world– a trope that appears in both ordinary and fantastic iterations here. Lepselter shows how multiple troubled histories—of race, class, gender, and power—become compressed into stories of uncanny memory. As Jeffrey J. Kripal, Professor of Religion at Rice University, notes: “The author’s semiotic approach to the paranormal is immensely productive, positive, and, above all, resonant with what actually happens in history.”

Sexualities, Intimacies, and Queer Migration with Eithne Luibhéid Eithne Luibhéid
Research Hall, Room 163
In her talk, Eithne Luibhéid argues that queer migration scholarship and activism are strengthened by addressing sexualities and intimacies as interlinked but distinct grounds of struggle against unjust immigration enforcement. She discusses the overlaps and differences between sexualities and intimacies and explores how the U.S. government uses sexualities and intimacies to govern immigrants and reproduce a (settler) colonialist, racist, and heteronormative nation and citizenry. Luibhéid suggests that addressing sexualities and intimacies together reframes possibilities for scholarship and activism on urgent contemporary issues. These include the experiences of LGBTQ migrants, separated migrant families, mixed status families, detained asylum seekers, and struggling U.S. citizens. Sponsored by Women and Gender Studies.

Inspired Educator, Engaged Learner with Jennifer Stanchfield
Johnson Center, 3rd Floor, Meeting Room G
Jennifer Stanchfield is known internationally for her innovative yet practical workshops and publications that help educators engage and motivate learners, inspire a sense of discovery and create a positive and supportive learning community for all. Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner: Experiential, Brain-Based Activities and Strategies to Engage, Motivate, Build Community, and Create Lasting Lessons explores experiential techniques for engaging learners emotionally, physically and intellectually in academic content while practicing critical social-emotional skills and building a productive and supportive learning environment.  Educators will find creative strategies to get participants moving, talking, reflecting and keep them engaged with multiple pathways to learning, reviewing, and synthesizing lessons. The innovative reflective techniques offered throughout increase relevancy, meaning, depth of understanding, and create lasting lessons. Sponsored by The EDGE.

Life on the Line: Editors as Activists with Nate Marshall, Arjun Singh Sethi, Melissa Tuckey, & Paula Whyman
George’s, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center
Panelists unpack their work of activism conducted as editors of journals or anthologies with particular political messages. Melissa Tuckey‘s Ghost-Fishing: An Eco-Poetry Anthology is known as the first anthology to ever focus wholly on poetry with an eco-justice stance. Nate Marshall is another poetic pioneer with The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop as it is the first poetry collection ever dedicated to and for the Hip-Hop generation. Arjun Singh Sethi‘s American Hate: Survivors Speak Out brings together true stories of individuals negatively impacted by the Trump administration such as Arab-Americans and undocumented workers. And, Paula Whyman is editor of the volunteer-run literary magazine Scoundrel Time aimed at “keeping scoundrels at bay.”


The Beck Environmental Lecture: Reversing Global Warming with Paul Hawken
Harris Theater
In Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Paul Hawken offers 100 concrete solutions to help abate climate change. Meticulously researched by leading scientists and policy-makers around the globe, Drawdown pushes through widespread fear and apathy to give readers a step-by-step guide for making a difference in creating a just and livable world. Vox says, “The public is hungry for this kind of practical wisdom.” The Beck Lecture is sponsored by Robert and Lucy Beck, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Eco-Justice & Hip-Hop: Poetry for the Times with Nate Marshall & Melissa Tuckey
George’s, 3rd Floor, Johnson Center
Come hear poets Melissa Tuckey and Nate Marshall read from a selection of their politically and culturally charged poetry.  Melissa Tuckey, editor of Ghost-Fishing: An Eco-Poetry Anthology has created the first anthology that focuses wholly on poetry with an eco-justice stance. Nate Marshall, another poetic pioneer with The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, can lay claim to editing the first poetry collection ever dedicated to and for the Hip-Hop generation.


An American Marriage:

An evening with Tayari Jones

Harris Theater
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones follows a newlywed couple as the husband is sent to prison for a wrongful conviction and the wife seeks comfort in the arms of a childhood friend. An instant New York Times bestseller and now an Oprah Book Club pick, An American Marriage has been called “a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward– with hope and pain– into the future.” USA Today calls it “Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable.” Sponsored by the Fairfax Library Foundation.

Off-Campus Events


The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold with Joyce Lee Malcolm
Lord of Life Church, 5114 Twinbrook Road, Fairfax
Benedict Arnold’s infamous last act of treason during the Revolutionary War has remained a puzzle to historians. Joyce Lee Malcolm’s The Tragedy of Benedict Arnold: An American Life unravels the man behind the myth, from his brilliant wartime military exploits to his troubled relationship with the newly formed Congress. American Historical Review calls the book “a work of genuine excellence, as persuasive in its argument as it is unsettling in its implications. Malcolm’s prose is both vigorous and elegant.” Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.


Women in WWII Cindy Gueli with Patricia O’Connell Pearson
City of Fairfax Regional Library10360 North St, Fairfax
Cindy Gueli and Patricia O’Connell Pearson tell stories of female patriotism, the power of positive attitudes, and the love of flying in a man’s war. In Lipstick Brigade: The Untold True Story of Washington’s World War II Government Girls, Gueli explores the surprising and moving first-person stories of how courageous women triumphed over the challenges of war in America’s capital. In Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII, Patricia O’Connell Pearson offers an account of female fighter pilots who answered their country’s call in its time of need. Over 1,100 female pilots ferried planes from factories to bases, towed targets for live ammunition artillery training, tested repaired planes and new equipment, and more. Despite their commitment, they received less pay than men doing the same jobs, and no military benefits. Sponsored by the Friends of the City of Fairfax Regional Library.

Neversays with Randi Bryant Randi Bryant
Sherwood Regional Library, 2501 Sherwood Hall Ln, Alexandria
Diversity and inclusivity strategist Randi Bryant has written Neversays: 25 Phrases You Should Never Ever Say to Keep Your Job and Friends, a guidebook for helping people in the workplace and out in the world avoid pitfalls of miscommunication. Bryant travels around the country training top companies’ executives and employees on topics including anti-discrimination, communication in a diverse work environment, and how to capitalize on this diversity. Sponsored by the Harambee Readers Book Club.

Ongoing Events

Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders
Center for the Arts Lobby
Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
The traveling digital exhibit features poems, illustrations, and videos that showcase refugee resettlement in our community. At the heart of the exhibit is an interactive touchscreen experience, allowing community visitors to browse content and participate. When visitors interact with digital creative tools such as Emerge, Thread, or other analog activities, their voices will be incorporated into the exhibit in a variety of ways—from a scrolling group poem to posted cards printed from the Emerge web application.
Using the newest technology to connect us to one of our oldest technologies—the written word—Traveling Stanzas: Writing Across Borders celebrates the diverse cultural identity of our democracy and engages a national civic dialogue through the intimate and inclusive voice of poetry.

Call and Response: “Borders” Exhibit
Fenwick Reading Room 2001, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library
Open October 10 – November 25
Call & Response is an annual exhibit of collaborations between writers and visual artists in which one calls and one responds. The result is a set of paired works, resonating with each other, demonstrating the interplay of artistic media, and speaking of our times.This year’s theme is borders. Call & Response is a collaboration between the School of Art and the English Department’s MFA program in Creative Writing.

Get the full guide on parking, transportation, and more on our Planning Your Visit page.