Friday, Oct 12 – Daily Schedule

Friday, October 12 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


Getting Published: The Editor’s Perspective
with Paul Reyes, J. M. Tyree, & Katharine Weber
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
Three editors discuss best practices for getting published in literary magazines today. Paul Reyes is the award-winning editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and former senior editor of The Oxford American. Katharine Weber is an editor-at-large for Kenyon Review and the author of several novels including Still Life with Monkey, which Fall for the Book headliner Tayari Jones described as, “a brilliantly crafted novel, brimming with heart.” J.M. Tyree is the nonfiction editor of New England Review and the author of several books including Vanishing Streets: Journeys in London, which Publishers Weekly says encapsulates “all the drama and symbolism of character quests with director’s commentary.”


Grace In Darkness: D.C.’s Women Writers
with Carmelinda Blagg, Lisa Couturier, Ariel M. Goldenthal, Wendy Besel Hahn, Leslie Hsu Oh, & Melissa Scholes Young
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
D.C.’s Politics and Prose Bookstore runs the “Grace and Gravity” series, a literary journal showcasing vibrant female writers living in the D.C.-area. Grace in Darkness is the eighth volume of this beloved series, edited by Melissa Scholes Young. Young’s website explains that “Her vision for the eighth volume is a platform in which women speak – shout, whisper, bellow, and sing – unapologetically and with a confidence so often stripped from women and girls in a society built from a blueprint with a glass ceiling.” Melissa Scholes Young leads the discussion among five of the twenty-five unstoppable writers featured in this anthology: Carmelinda Blagg, Lisa Couturier, Ariel M. Goldenthal, Wendy Besel Hahn, and Leslie Hsu Oh.

Erasing Syria: The Home That Was Our Country
with Alia Malek
Research Hall, Room 163
The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria by Alia Malek, award-winning journalist and civil rights lawyer, is set in Syria’s capital city of Damascus, in one specific apartment building – the apartment building of Malek’s own family. Malek shares the many stories that passed each other in the hallway and how the fate of Malek’s neighbors mirrors the fate of the nation. This memoir is a blend of personal and researched narrative, highlighting Syrian history, politics, and society and “delivering an unforgettable portrait of the Syria that is being erased.” The New York Times Book Review says, “The Home That Was Our Country, is one of the finest examples of this new testimonial writing… Malek’s memoir will remain essential reading in the emerging body of literary reportage from Syria in English… Such stories couldn’t be more urgent.” Sponsored by the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, and the Ali Vural Ak Center for Islamic Studies. 


From Poland to America: Essays and a Novel
with Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough & Steve Yarbrough
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
A husband and wife presentation in the literature of immigration. In Objects of Affection, a collection of personal essays, Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough shares her experience of immigrating to America from Poland in 1984. With memories of living under a totalitarian regime, Hryniewicz-Yarbrough explores the immigrant’s creation of a new identity and double perspective in response to leaving one’s roots in search of a better future. Steve Yarbrough sets his novel The Unmade World in Poland, Ukraine, California, and New York with characters learning to live with grief, guilt, and the aftermath of violence such as the destruction of Luhansk, Ukraine while grappling with various political and cultural issues including the pressures on immigrants and refugees in all three countries.


Finding Life After (Almost) Death
with Jacob M. Appel, Thomas Pierce, & Katharine Weber
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza 
Three novels explore the allure of death when life has become too much, and the desire to keep on living. In Katharine Weber’s Still Life With Monkey, a successful architect becomes severely paralyzed after a car wreck. In order to revitalize him, his wife brings home a highly trained helper monkey named Ottoline, whose funny Nutella-gobbling ways bring brightness back to his life. Tayari Jones calls it “a brilliantly crafted novel, brimming with heart.” Jacob M. Appel’s novel Millard Salter’s Last Day follows the book’s namesake on his journey to tie up loose ends with his estranged family. When it comes to Delilah, the widow whom he’s fallen in love with, the approaching end becomes a little more complicated. In Thomas Pierce’s novel The Afterlives, when Jim Byrd dies and is revived without ever catching a glimpse of lights or angels, he wonders if there’s an afterlife. When a ghost shows up, Jim and his wife employ holograms, psychics, messages from the beyond, trying to answer their question.

Women of Color in Islam
with Sylvia Chan-Malik
Research Hall, Room 163
In Being Muslim: A Cultural History of Women of Color in American Islam, Sylvia Chan-Malik explores twentieth and twenty-first century U.S. Muslim womanhood through the lens of active resistance. Using archival material, pop culture, interviews and more, Chan-Malik “explores how U.S. Muslim women’s identities are expressions of Islam as both Black protest religion and universal faith tradition.” Sponsored by the Ali Vural Ak Center for Islamic Studies.


Mason’s Alumni Reading
with Lucy Biederman, John Copenhaver, Joe Hall, Alyse Knorr, & Kate Partridge
Fenwick Reading Room 2001, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library
Enjoy poetry and prose from alumni of George Mason University’s Creative Writing M.F.A. Program. Lucy Biederman is the author of The Walmart Book of the Dead, a “darkly comic incantation on the gods and scourges of the 21st century” inspired by the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. John Copenhaver’s novel Dodging and Burning is a mystery set in a small Virginia town reeling from World War II, when a violent crime shook their community. Joe Hall is the author of several collections of poetry, including his latest, Someone’s Utopia, which blends utopia and dystopia as it paints the “(un)making of the familiar world… and unmask[s] the invisible material and ideological labor that prepares the world for us.” Alyse Knorr’s Mega-City Redux uses modern day feminist heroes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena Warrior Princess to search for the mythical city of Christine de Pizan, the world’s first professional female writer. Elegy and love meet on the wild landscape of Alaska in Kate Partridge’s collection Ends of the Earth: Poems. Partridge cycles between autobiography, mythic allusion, and the literary archive in this debut.

Can’t Go Home Again: Writing About Our Distance from Our Origin
with Nick Kowalczyk, John Lingan, & James Han Mattson
Sandy Spring Bank Tent, Johnson Center North Plaza
How do you write about a damaged past? James Han Mattson’s novel The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves follows a family grappling with their son killing a classmate and then himself. T. Geronimo Johnson says the intertwined narratives “form a blistering tapestry of love, loss, and tragedy, reminding us that sexual identity remains a ferocious struggle for many small-town youths [as well as] illustrate grief and longing in the age of digital communication.” Nick Kowalczyk’s journalism has taken him around the country, including to Iowa, where an axe murderer and eight victims revived the flagging small town, and to the re-enacted fields of the French and Indian War. In John Lingan’s Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk, a journey to discover the roots of Patsy Cline in Winchester, Virginia turns into an exploration of a Shenandoah town’s vanishing way of life as it collides with the twenty-first century.


Searching for Life and Jazz in Philadelphia
with Marie-Helene Bertino
Research Hall, Room 163
Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novel 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, which tells the story of one day in the lives of three characters whom are all drawn to the jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas. NPR says it’s “Inventive, gorgeously written and unforgettable,” while The Millions calls it “enchanting.” Bertino is also the author of the story collection Safe as Houses. Her work has received The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellowship in Cork, Ireland, The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, and has been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts. Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program.

Writing Through Identity
with Sandy Allen, Rachel Z. Arndt, Dave Madden, & Sarah Viren
Fenwick Reading Room 2001, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library
Four award-winning essayists read from and discuss their explorations of identity on both personal and cultural levels.  In A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia, Sandy Allen translated and molded their Uncle Bob’s autobiography focused on his battle with being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic.” If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There by Dave Madden is a collection of short stories starring queer characters and their identities as outsiders in the American Midwest. Mine by Sarah Viren is a debut essay collection which questions different forms of ownership: corporeal, familial, and intellectual. And, Beyond Measure: Essays by Rachel Z. Arndt explores the ritualistic nature of society, specifically looking at weigh-ins, wait times, work-outs, dating apps, and daily commutes.


Anything is Possible: A Talk with Elizabeth Strout
Harris Theater
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout is back with a new work of fiction. Anything is Possible follows an unforgettable small town cast — two sisters living vastly different lives, a janitor whose faith is tested, and an adult Lucy Barton– as they grapple with love and loss. Called “radiant” by Kirkus Reviews, and “stunning” by Vogue, Anything is Possible reverberates with the deep bonds of family, and the hope of reconciliation. Sponsored by the George Mason Friends.

Off-Campus Events


Sonata: A Memoir of Pain and the Piano
with Andrea Avery
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, 4210 Roberts Rd, Fairfax
At just twelve years old, talented classical pianist Andrea Avery was diagnosed with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. In her breathtaking memoir Sonata, Avery explores the struggle of growing up with RA, and the inspiration and salvation of the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein, as well as Franz Schubert’s haunting last sonata. Booklist calls it a “moving memoir of living with pain, and with music.” Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.


A Man & His Dog: A Couple of Heroes
with Craig Grossi
Burke Centre Library, 5935 Freds Oak Rd
Craig Grossi is an eight-year Marine Corps veteran, and a recipient of the Purple Heart. During his intelligence work in Afghanistan, Grossi found and befriended (and smuggled into his camp) a unique stray dog who “looks like a ‘Fred.’” And, when Grossi returned home to Virginia, a support team made it possible for Fred to be right at Grossi’s side during his transition back to civilian life, and then his battle with PTSD. Craig & Fred: A Marine, A Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other is a memoir of two heroes. Currently, Craig & Fred tour the country sharing their incredible uplifting story. Sponsored by the Friends of the Burke Centre Library.


Poetry Night Out
with Lindsay Bernal, Jennifer Chang, Danielle Cadena Deulen, & Aaron McCollough
Epicure Cafe, 11104 Lee Highway, Fairfax
Enjoy an evening of poetry with four writers from around the country. Aaron McCollough is the author of several poetry collections, including the most recent, Rank, “in which forces of nature, mind, spirit, and language partake of each other in vibrant and shifting ways.” Jennifer Chang is the author of Some Say the Lark, which Natasha Trethewey calls “a piercing meditation, rooted in loss and longing, and manifest in dazzling leaps of the imagination—the familiar world rendered strange.” Lindsay Bernal is the author of What It Doesn’t Have to Do With. Jericho Brown says, “The humor of Lindsay Bernal is rife with allusion to the history of American poetry tradition and cut with merciless self-reflection….These poems question what we take for granted about language and the ways our own words can bind us….”  Danielle Cadena Deulen is the author of Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us, which Denise Duhamel calls “fiercely intelligent… Deulen’s poems are slippery pronouncements of our ever-allusive present which is co-opted by nostalgia for our past… and anxiety for our future.”


Haint So: A Staged Reading of an Original Play
Pop-Up Theater, 10420 North St, Fairfax
Come sit on the wide front porch with members of the Wells family in Southwest Virginia, as their Sunday afternoon conversation turns to tales of the supernatural. Despite warnings from Grandpa Archie Wells that God “don’t take too kindly” to letting the Devil and haints out on His Day, the stories persist. After all, Grandma Ida Wells will tell anybody who asks, the mountains know things and have secrets that few living beings can ever see or hear. Those who do, come away changed forever – if they come back at all.  In this original work, Haint So explores the rich tradition of folklore, superstition and the mystical spirits of the dark mountains in Virginia. Presented by the Shoestring Theatre Company

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.