Novelist Kim Edwards, Activist/Scholar Angela Davis Join Fall for the Book Festival Roster

Posted: August 31, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Art Taylor

Fall for the Book logo

Novelist Kim Edwards, whose latest book, “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter,” is no. 1 on the Washington Post paperback bestseller list, and social justice activist Angela Davis, who was the third woman ever to top the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List, lead the list of recent additions to George Mason University’s Fall for the Book festival, scheduled Sept. 27 through Oct. 5 at Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

Other headliners to Northern Virginia’s largest and oldest literary celebration include bestselling novelist and McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers, author of “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”; and bestselling linguist Deborah Tannen, author of “You’re Wearing That? Mothers and Daughters in Conversation.”

Also on hand will be three 2006 Pulitzer Prize winners: Geraldine Brooks for “March” (fiction); Claudia Emerson for “Late Wife” (poetry); and Martin Sherwin for “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” (biography).

“Education and entertainment are the twin missions of Fall for the Book,” says festival director Bill Miller. “Our festival provides a public aspect to what is normally a private practice — reading — and we’re proud to have the opportunity to bring the community, our community, together in this endeavor.”

Fall for the Book kicks off on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with a series of festivities including poetry and drumming with D.C. Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency, performances by Mason dance students, a reading by Nigerian-born novelist Chimamanda Adichie from her second book, “Half of a Yellow Sun” and a production of the Reduced Shakespeare by the Fairfax High School Drama Department.

Award-winning novelist and critic Francine Prose, Native American poet LeAnne Howe, linguist Tannen and a staged reading of Mason professors’ work by the Theater of the First Amendment round out the opening day.

Other major fiction writers appear throughout the week, including short story master Deborah Eisenberg, spy novelists Alex Berenson and David Ignatius, bestselling author Ron McLarty and debut novelists Nick Arvin and Maria de los Santos.

Nonfiction writers range from memoirist and contributor Jeannette Walls to Shane Windmeyer, one of the nation’s leading speakers on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, to two Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author most recently of “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” and Stacy Schiff, author of “A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America.”

Featured poets include Li-Young Lee, LeAnne Howe, Carl Phillips and John Yau — the latter two headlining a special Poetry Café on Friday evening, Sept. 29.

Other special events and long-running traditions provide additional festival highlights:

  • PostSecret founder Frank Warren will discuss his nationally known project, encouraging people to submit their deepest secrets for anonymous publication, as the culmination to an exhibition of postcards from his collection.
  • Laura Elliott, author of the young adult novel “Under a War-Torn Sky,” will speak to students, teachers and parents as part of Fall for the Book’s Middle School Reads Project.
  • Select events will relate to the Fairfax County Public Library’s All Fairfax Reads program, centered this year on Dai Sijie’s award-winning short novel, “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.”

All events are free and open to the public. Additions to the Fall for the Book festival will continue through September. For a complete schedule and updated information, be sure to bookmark

Fall for the Book is presented by the Washington Post, the Fairfax County Public Library, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and George Mason University’s College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and Office of University Life, in partnership with WJLA-TV ABC 7, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, the City of Fairfax, ExxonMobil, Dominion Virginia Power, The Fairfax County Public Library Foundation, the City of Fairfax Library Friends, CompuTech, Harper Wealth Management, Hunton &Williams, Potomac Bank of Virginia and Walnut Street Development.

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