Fall for the Book festival begins Sunday

Fall for the Book, a metro-region book festival, kicks off events beginning Sunday afternoon. (Jake McLernon)

Fall for the Book kicks off its annual festival this weekend with events beginning Sunday at noon in Old Town Fairfax and running through Sept. 23.

This year’s award recipients will be Stephen King (Mason Award), Amy Tan (Fairfax Prize), Claudia Rankine (Busboys & Poets Award) and Mary Karr (Mary Roberts Rinehart Award).

The festival, in its 13th year, welcomes over 150 writers to present their work at locations throughout the metro area, with many events throughout the week on Mason’s Fairfax campus.

In previous years, Fall for the Book has honored two participants chosen to receive the Mason Award for “extraordinary contributions to bringing literature to a wide reading public,” and the Fairfax Prize for “writing and publishing literary works that contribute significantly to American and international culture.

This year, the event inaugurates two new awards: The Busboys & Poets Award, recognizing a distinguished poet and the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, honoring an exemplary female writer of nonfiction.

In addition to the two new awards, this year’s festival includes a series of events to commemorate the recent 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The series will include presentations throughout the week from writers of fiction, history, and political studies.

According to Art Taylor, an English professor at Mason, one of the great things about the event is “its breadth of coverage – it’s not just a literary festival.”

“The program is designed each year to serve many facets of the university and to also appeal to those outside of the university,” Taylor said.

Mason's preparation for the festival began last Spring when faculty members were contacted and given the opportunity to recommend writers and scholars to participate in the event. Effort was made to invite individuals who could present on topics that would tie-in directly to different classes and programs.

The festival this year will include presentations in 15 genres ranging from fiction, to philosophy, to environmentalism.

Taylor also mentioned this year marks the largest-ever group of Mason alumni authors who will be presenting work.

Illustrating the diversity of the program is a Monday presentation by author, Bryan Caplan.

Caplan, a Mason economics professor, will be discussing his new book on parenting, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is More Fun and Less Work That You Think. The event will be held in the Johnson Center, room 116 at 1:30 p.m.

Senior Lauren Walker, president of Mason’s Undergraduate English Society, has been encouraging members of the society to volunteer for the festival.

“For members who sign-up to volunteer, I am entering them into a raffle for tickets to attend the Stephen King award ceremony and book signing event,” said Walker.

According to Walker, a lot of members have agreed to help out already and for those who can’t volunteer, she has suggested they write a blog post on the UES website about a festival event they attend.

When asked which events she is most looking forward to attending, Walker said she is excited to attend events with Mason faculty members presenting their work.

“I think it’s great for UES and for Mason students to see what teachers are doing outside of class.”


For a full schedule of Fall for the Book events: http://fallforthebook.org

For information about the Undergraduate English Society, visit their website.

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