Even before the winter clothes are packed away, here comes a sneak peek at one of Washington’s great fall book festivals.
Now in its 19th year, Fall for the Book, based at George Mason University, recently announced that Colson Whitehead will open the festivities on Oct. 11. Whitehead’s most recent novel, “The Underground Railroad,” won a 2016 National Book Award and has been high on The Washington Post bestseller list since it was published in August.
Another highlight at Fall for the Book will be a reading by Lev Grossman on Oct. 14. His “Magicians” trilogy, which began in 2009, is the basis for a Syfy TV series now in its second season. (The show’s sexy mix of adventure and humor has got me completely under its spell.) Grossman, who recently stepped down as Time magazine’s book critic, will reissue his first novel, “Warp,” in September — 20 years after it was originally published.
Each year, all the incoming freshman at George Mason University are given a copy of the same book by an author attending Fall for the Book. This year, it will be Jennine Capó Crucet’s “Make Your Home Among Strangers” (2015), her celebrated debut novel about a young woman trying to bridge two cultures. Crucet will speak at the festival on Oct. 12. A professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska, Crucet was raised in Miami by Cuban parents. The title story of her 2009 collection, “How to Leave Hialeah,” won an O. Henry Prize.
Nonfiction writer David Shields and poet Ellen Bryant Voigt will also be appearing at the festival, along with more than 100 other historians, novelists, memoirists, poets and children’s authors who will be announced later this year.
Fall for the Book, which includes workshops, panel discussions and awards presentations, will take place at George Mason University and locations around Northern Virginia from Oct.11 to 14. All the events are free and open to the public. For more information, go to fallforthe book.org.