The 14th annual Fall for the Book Festival, considered the region's oldest and most expansive literary festival, begins Wednesday at George Mason University in Fairfax and locations across the metropolitan D.C. area.
Today's headliner is former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, who will receive the first of the festival’s 2012 honors, the annual Busboys and Poets Award, at 8 p.m. in Harris Theatre on Mason’s Fairfax campus.
Here is an outline of today's events, all which are free and open to the public.
Thriller Writer John Gilstrap
7:30 p.m. Hub, Rooms 3, 4, 5
Bestselling author Gilstrap reads from his latest novel—Damage Control, the fourth book featuring freelance rescue specialist Jonathan Grave—and discusses the craft of writing thrillers.
Naturalist Martin Ogle
7:30 p.m. Founder’s Hall, Room 125, George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, centering oneself in a place offers perspective and insights. In his book In the Eye of the Hawk: Reflections Along the Potomac, Ogle, former chief naturalist at Potomac Overlook Regional Park, draws wisdom from a place that he inhabited for almost three decades. Ogle is the recipient of George Mason University’s first Arlington Green Patriot Award, recognizing an individual, business or organization that exemplifies sustainability in Arlington, VA. Sponsored by Mason’s Office of Sustainability, Environmental Science & Policy, and Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center.
Memoirist Ken Budd
7:30 p.m. Shirlington Library, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, VA
“I want to live a life that matters.” With these eight emotional words, the author of The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem, embarks on a quest to help others—from post-Katrina New Orleans to a special needs school in China, from climate change research in Ecuador to projects in Kenya, Costa Rica, and the West Bank.
Romance Novelist Mary Jo Putney
7:30 p.m. Pohick Regional Library, 6450 Sydenstricker Road, Burke, VA
The bestselling romance writer—whose recent books include No Longer a Gentleman and The Rake—discusses her work, which ranges from historical romances to contemporary novels to fantasy and paranormal.
Busboys and Poets Award Presentation: Rita Dove
8 p.m. Harris Theatre
The former Poet Laureate of both the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia, a Pulitzer Prize winner, editor of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century Poetry, and a recent recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Dove accepts this year’s Busboys and Poets Award, recognizing the work of a distinguished contemporary poet and paying tribute to Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., during the 1920s before he gained recognition as a writer. Dove will share selections of her work, including, most recently, the collection Sonata Mulattica. Sponsored by Busboys and Poets.
Novelist and Pulitzer Finalist Karen Russell
8 p.m. Grand Tier III, Center for the Arts
Russell’s Swamplandia! was a breakout hit with both critics and readers and earned a spot among this year’s finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Gators, ghosts, and more within these pages—and plenty to enjoy by meeting the woman behind the work!
FOUND Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Tour
8 p.m. Johnson Center Bistro
Road warriors Davy and Peter Rothbart are hopping back in the tour van, FOUND treasures in tow, for an epic cross-country romp, celebrating the release of Davy’s book of personal essays, My Heart is an Idiot, Peter’s new album, and a brand-new issue of FOUND.
“tactile texts: the book as art” exhibit & reception - An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 3:30 - 5 p.m.
Experimental, amusing, or beautiful, artist books are art in book form, intersections between image and text. They may include books with handmade bindings or letter press printing, books in the shape of triangles, or even sculptures. Difficult to define, but a pleasure to view, the magic of these texts is best experienced in person. “tactile texts: the book as art” will be displayed in the University Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, Floor 2, Wing C, Fenwick Library, Fairfax campus.
Call and Response
Johnson Center, Gallery 123
Current students and alumni of Mason’s MFA Poetry Program and the School of Art, faculty and a few others came together this summer to participate in the “Call and Response” challenge, giving artists and writers an original work by another contributor to inspire a piece of their own. Now paired together, these pieces are on display throughout the week of Fall for the Book: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Friday, September 28.
FOUND Magazine Exhibit
Concert Hall Lobby
A note on a windshield, an old postcard uncovered under a layer of dust, a slip of paper stuck between the pages of a book—these talisman’s of lives we don’t know but which engage us nevertheless come to us courtesy of Davey and Peter Rothbart, the founders of FOUND magazine, now celebrating its tenth anniversary. They have shipped to the festival a collection of finds from around the world. Be amazed, feel connected, learn what you didn’t know you knew. Notes, photographs, cards and more, some entirely anonymous, some entirely knowable.
For more information on the Fall for the Book Festival, see these Patch articles:
And last year's appearance by the master of horror, Stephen King: