Events are at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus and at other locations throughout Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Except where noted, all events are free and open to the public, thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and partners.
National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead kicks off the festival by discussing his bestselling book, The Underground Railroad. The book which follows Cora, an outcast slave on a Georgian plantation in her attempt to escape North on the underground railroad, has captured the minds and hearts of the nation. The Pultizer committee says the book is “a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” The LA Times says the book “could not be more timely and necessary.”
In Make Your Home Among Strangers, Jennine Capó Crucet follows Lizet, a daughter of Cuban immigrants as she navigates being a first generation college student, coming to terms with her new status as a minority, and facing the immigration battle of a local boy which makes national news. The novel asks readers what it means to be an American today. Crucet will speak at the capstone event for this year’s campus Mason Reads program.
The New York Times called internationally-bestselling novelist Mohsin Hamid “one of his generation’s most inventive and gifted writers.” His groundbreaking novel Exit West follows two young people who meet and fall in love in a country teetering on the brink of civil war. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide they must leave their homeland and their old lives behind. O, the Oprah Magazine says “Lyrical and urgent, the globalist novel evokes the dreams and disillusionments that follow Saeed and Nadia….and peels away the dross of bigotry to expose the beauty of our common humanity.” NPR calls Exit West “A breathtaking novel…[that] arrives at an urgent time.” Hamid is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Sponsored by the Fairfax Library Foundation.
Lev Grossman’s #1 bestselling Magicians trilogy has transformed fantasy and is now a hit TV series on SyFy in its critically acclaimed second season. George R.R. Martin writes: “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea.” Quentin Coldwater is a brilliant but miserable high school math genius who is admitted to an elite, secret school for magic. His newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind a beloved children’s story. Entertainment Weekly calls the show an “American pop-aware enterprise with an abundance of salty cynicism and sex magic, plus a sinister force of antagonism.” Sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.