October 11

10:30 AM

Gabe Montesanti shows us how the glitzy, high impact sport of roller derby brought her to her knees before supplying the courage to overcome past emotional trauma of growing up queer in the conservative Midwest. Her memoir, Brace for Impact, is a story of redemption wherein Montesanti finds the strength to confront her fears and self-doubt and live a truly adventurous life. The book is described by Olympian Abby Wambach as, “A universal story of healing and triumph, made all the more beautiful, wild, and free by Gabe’s fierce love for roller derby and her team, who become her family.” Sponsored by Women and Gender Studies.

Location: Wilkins Plaza Tent, between the Johnson Center & Horizon Hall, George Mason University

Alyssa Graybeal’s memoir, Floppy: Tales of a Genetic Freak of Nature at the End of the World, playfully and thoughtfully explores the emotional landscape of living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome from a patient’s perspective. When ten-year-old Alyssa is diagnosed with the rare genetic connective tissue disorder, she vows not to let it stop her, even if that means neglecting her health. Twenty years later, she’s finally forced to confront the reality of her condition head on when her body starts to unravel in ways she can no longer ignore. Author Ariel Gore says “Alyssa Graybeal is a genius. This refreshing coming-of-age memoir with its sick, queer perspective will remind you that humor is essential and sensitivity is a strength.” 

Location: Virtual, via Zoom. To receive the login, register for free on Eventbrite. 

12 PM

Jamey M. Long and Joseph A. Pisani, co-authors of The Value of Voice in Shared Leadership and Organizational Behavior discuss the importance of shared leadership in the world of education and business. They present the Value of Voice (VoV) model, which enhances the process of establishing a mutually beneficial connection at all levels of an organization by promoting understanding and providing practical steps to achieve optimal outcomes.

Location: Fenwick Reading Room, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library

Addie Tsai’s Unwieldy Creatures is a biracial queer, non-binary retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which follows three beings who navigate life from the margins: an intern at an embryology lab; a scientist who risks everything to procreate without sperm or egg; and her nonbinary creation, painstakingly brought into the world, only to be abandoned. Author Kiese Laymon says “Unwieldy Creatures, unrelenting in its inventiveness and its ambition, is easily the most innovative book I’ve read in years. Addie Tsai manages to hold on to the useful parts of tradition while creating a wholly original revision of Frankenstein. I’m hooked.”

Location: Wilkins Plaza Tent, between the Johnson Center & Horizon Hall, George Mason University

1:30 PM

Brian Teare’s poetry collection, Poem Bitten by a Man, is collaged from journals and notebooks the author kept during a period of economic precarity, chronic illness, and heartbreak. This book provides a fragmented record of a queer life undergoing many crises, all while maintaining a profound devotion to poetry and visual art. Writer Aisha Sabatini Sloan says “This book is already a mainstay, a nexus of body and image and story and time that I’ll reach toward again and again.”

Location: Wilkins Plaza Tent, between the Johnson Center & Horizon Hall, George Mason University

2:15 PM

In Climate Travels: How Ecotourism Changes Mindsets and Motivates Action, Michael M. Gunter, Jr. explores the impacts of climate change across the United States. Gunter takes readers on a journey highlighting the diverse manifestations of the climate crisis, including sea level rise in Virginia, inland floods in Tennessee, and imperiled ecosystems in national parks. Emphasizing the importance of local action and environmental justice, and by sharing his personal experiences and the power of travel, Gunter offers readers a hopeful message and encourages them to take action at the local level. Michael E. Mann says, “Read this book and feel empowered to make a difference.” Sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. 

Location: Virtual, via Zoom. To receive the login, register for free on Eventbrite.

3 PM

Halle Hill’s debut short story collection, Good Women, renders the lives of twelve Black women across the Appalachian South with empathy and precision. Through stories that are both darkly funny and deeply human, Hill depicts moments of personal choice to show how these twelve women shape themselves. Of the book, author Deesha Philyaw says, “We meet mothers and daughters, lovers and friends, saints and aint’s––all longing for something, some place, someone. They are curious, messy, and determined, and Hill’s fierce and dazzling pen lets us feel every ounce of their complicated desires. Every mistake, every realization, every triumph, every tragedy. This is a fantastic firecracker of a collection I’ll return to again and again!”

Location: Fenwick Reading Room, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library

4:30 PM

Celebrate Mason Creative Writing alumni with three compelling prose writers: Dan Kois, author of the novel Vintage Contemporaries, and Art Taylor, author of the story collection The Adventure of the Castle Thief, and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions, and Benjamin Inks, author of Soft Targets. Kois’ novel is a joyful novel of writing, parenthood, loyalty, and New York City. Taylor’s collection provides twists and turns in a series of mysterious tales involving ghosts, detectives, and quests. Inks’ collection examines camaraderie, vulnerability, and the stories we tell about war. Sponsored by Mason Creative Writing. 

Location: Fenwick Reading Room, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library

6 PM

In Cain Named the Animal, poet Shane McCrae combines the heavenly with the mundane, illustrating how divinity is inseparable from our lives on Earth and examining the wonder and banality of everyday miracles. Publishers Weekly says, “Prophetic and necessary . . . This dazzling collection tests the limits of language, memory, and mythmaking in wildly inventive, often devastating ways.” Sponsored by Mason Creative Writing. 

Location: Fenwick Reading Room, 2nd Floor, Fenwick Library

7 PM

Liza Nash Taylor takes readers from Boston to Keswick Virginia, to Washington, D.C. during the Great Depression-following the intertwining fates of two women searching for hope during a difficult time. Author Camille Di Maio says, “A story of friendship, struggle, family, and love, with a sweeping and vital historical backdrop, this book will have the reader eagerly awaiting the next story from Taylor.” Sponsored by the Friends of Oakton Library. 

Location: Oakton Library, 10304 Lynnhaven Place, Oakton, VA

Dr. Benjamin Gilmer joined a rural clinic only to find that its previous doctor shared his last name. Dr. Vince Gilmer was loved and respected—until he strangled his ailing father, shocking the community. As Benjamin looked deeper into Vince’s case, he became obsessed with discovering what pushed his predecessor toward violence. The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice explores our shared human fallibility, made worse by the failing prison system. Author Maureen Callahan says “Benjamin Gilmer masterfully peels away the layers of a long-closed murder and drops us into an unbelievable true story of medical mystery, mental illness, and the terrifying injustices of our justice system.” Sponsored by the City of Fairfax Regional Library Friends.

Off-Campus Location: City of Fairfax Library, 10360 North Street, Fairfax, VA


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