Book Festival Brings Important Authors to Fairfax Campus

Posted: July 30, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Fall for Book logo

Festival planners are hoping that lightning or, more accurately, hurricanes don’t strike twice. Last year’s Fall for the Book was off to a rousing start before Hurricane Isabel swept her way across Northern Virginia, leading to cancellations and an early end to the festival. The sixth annual Fall for the Book festival, running Saturday, Sept. 18, through Thursday, Sept. 23, is promising more than 70 events and bringing together more than 100 writers.

Among the writers appearing at this year’s festival are fiction writer Jill McCorkle, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward P. Jones, poet John Balaban, Latino journalist Lalo Alcaraz, and former National Public Radio host Bob Edwards. Tobias Wolff, who is reading on Saturday at 8 p.m., is the inaugural recipient of the 2003 Fairfax Prize for lifetime achievement and contributions to literature, a prize given at each festival. His reading last fall was postponed due to the hurricane. The 2004 festival will come to a close on Thursday with a reading by Joyce Carol Oates, also at 8 p.m. Oates is the recipient of the 2004 Fairfax Prize.

On Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m., a Children’s Fun Fair kicks off the festival. Free activities and games will be available inside and outside the Johnson Center. Magician Joe Romano, Kay Dee Puppets, storytellers from Voices in the Glen, and Ronald McDonald will be performing throughout the afternoon.

On Sunday, the festival moves into the City of Fairfax to focus on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The book was chosen by the Fairfax County Public Library for the first-ever All Fairfax Reads program. The libraries are planning a number of events centered around the book, including a screening of the 1962 Academy Award-winning film. As part of Fall for the Book, attorneys from the Fairfax Bar Association will reenact the pivotal courthouse scene from the film adaptation at 1 p.m. in the Colonial Courthouse. At 2:30 p.m., writer and Mason alumna Wendi Kauffman will moderate a public discussion about the book in Old Town Hall. Following the discussion, author and scholar George Garrett will talk about Harper Lee and her work at 4 p.m. He will also read his story, “The Right Thing to Do at the Time,” which was mentioned in Lee’s novel.

In addition to George Mason, major festival partners and sponsors include the Washington Post, ABC7/WJLA, Barnes & Noble Booksellers, the Fairfax County Public Library and its foundation, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and the City of Fairfax.

All events are free and open to the public. More information and a detailed schedule for the festival can be found at

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