5 Reasons to Go to Fall for the Book

  • By Suzy Rigdon
  • September 23, 2016

Why you don’t want to miss this stellar yearly event!

5 Reasons to Go to Fall for the Book

Fall for the Book has reached its 18th year in style, with nearly 200 authors coming to George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus and the surrounding DC Metro region from September 25-30, 2016. With so many great writers descending on the area for this FREE event, I wanted to pull out a few aspects of the festival that I’m most excited about:




  1. Fiction You Can Sink Your Teeth Into. Find your new favorite novel or short-story collection at the festival from some of our incredible writers. Football fans will love hearing Robert Bausch talk about The Legend of Jessie Smoke; King Lear gets a Trinidadian makeover in Elizabeth Nunez’s Even in Paradise; Bernice McFadden mixes history and fiction in The Book of Harlan, which follows two African-American jazz players who get sent to Buchenwald; and Paula Whyman’s creates fascinating characters in her story collection, You May See a Stranger. We also have a host of mystery and crime writers asking “whodunit,” including Lyndsay Faye of Jane Steele, Elizabeth Hand of Hard Light, and two mystery panels featuring the Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America.

  2. We Love Independent Presses and Want to Share That Love with You! In several events throughout the week, we’re featuring local indie presses dedicated to bringing incredible new voices to the literary world. Join the Santa Fe Writer’s Project, Stillhouse Press, Gazing Grain Press, and Relegation Books as we celebrate what Stillhouse calls “craft publishing” with readings from poets like Brianna Low of Drift and Bryan Borland of Dig; and prose writers like Tara Laskowski of Bystanders, Matthew Fogarty of Maybe Mermaids and Robots are Lonely: Stories and a Novella, Mark Polanzak of the hybrid memoir Pop!, and Sonya Chung of The Loved Ones.

  3. Dynamic Nonfiction for Every Taste. Memoirs, histories, biographies, essay collections, and more make up our platter of exceptional nonfiction at this year’s festival. Former Washington Post dance critic Sarah Kaufman will discuss her book The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life; Claudia Kalb explores great brains in Andy Warhol Was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Greatest Personalities; Lesley Lee Francis recounts her life with her grandfather Robert Frost in the memoir You Come Too; and journalist Mei Fong tackles her personal experience and quest for motherhood in One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment.

  4. Family Zone: Sunday Fun Day at the Sherwood Center in Fairfax. Kick off the festival week with a full afternoon of events for the whole family at the Sherwood. Thirteen young-adult authors will participate in three panels on “Life as a Teenager,” “Magic and Mayhem,” and “Horror and Thriller” to help the YA fan in your household find their next favorite book! Kids get a front-row seat at a packed panel which includes author and illustrator Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson of Babies Ruin Everything, and Laura Gehl of Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching. A number of other YA and children’s events also happen throughout the week, so check our Kid Zone post for more details.

  5. Headliners, of Course! Every year, Fall for the Book is thrilled to invite the rock stars of the literary world to our stages, and this year is no different. Diane Rehm will accept the Mason Award on Sunday, September 25, while Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street, will accept the Fairfax Award on Friday, September 30, to close out the festival. Throughout the week, we’re also hosting book-club favorite Lauren Groff of Fates and Furies; science writer Jon Mooallem of Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America; urban-fantasy star Patricia Briggs of Dead Heat and Fire Touched; and Civil War historian James McPherson, who will join Edward Ayers via video feed to discuss the lasting importance of this war. Reservations to meet Rehm, Cisneros, and Mooallem at their VIP Receptions are still available.

I could go on and on about all the great stuff happening (for free!) at this year’s festival, but I’ll let you browse fallforthebook.org for the full lineup. And download our free app to get the festival at your fingertips! I hope to see you at some events and, as always, #ReadOn!

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