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'Fall for the Book' Festival Kicks Off Sunday

More than 150 of the world's most influential living authors will appear for the 15th annual Fall for the Book Festival.

Fall for the Book Festival. Credit: Fall for the Book
Fall for the Book Festival. Credit: Fall for the Book
By Jennifer van der Kleut 

One of the greatest celebrations of literature in the nation kicks off in nearby Fairfax Sunday with the start of Fall for the Book 2013.

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist, to one of the most important figures in today’s political landscape, to the memoirist whose adventures re-launched Oprah’s Book Club, Fall for the Book welcomes some of the nation’s most influential writers to its 15th annual festival. 

Dave Barry, David Baldacci, Ralph Nader, Kojo Nnamdi, Mark Plotkin, Sonia Sanchez and Cheryl Strayed are just a few of the nearly 150 authors who will appear at this year’s Fall for the Book, whick takes place beginning this Sunday, Sept. 22 through next Friday, Sept. 27, with events at Fairfax's George Mason University as well as locations throughout Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland.

This year, there are two Fall for the Book events in Burke. 
Executive Coach Ian Cook, author of Would They Call You Their Best Boss Ever? Practical Tips and Insights for the Successful Manager, will speak at Pohick Regional Library on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Children’s Author Alethea Kontis will speak at the Burke Centre Library on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Get to know a little about a few of the most anticipated authors appearing at this year's festival:

Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist and humorist Dave Barry will receive Fall for the Book’s highest honor, the Fairfax Prize, this Sunday, Sept. 22, the opening night of this year’s festival. The Fairfax Prize honors outstanding literary achievement and is presented by the Fairfax Library Foundation. Barry’s newspaper columns for the Miami Herald appeared in more than 500 newspapers and earned him the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary “for his consistently effective use of humor as a device for presenting fresh insights into serious concerns.” Additionally, he has written more than 30 books, including the novels Big TroubleLunaticsTricky Business and, most recently,Insane City. Two of Barry's books were the basis for the CBS sitcom Dave's World. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at theSherwood Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, in downtown Fairfax, Virginia.

Ralph Nader was recently named by the Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history - one of only four living people to be so honored. The son of immigrants from Lebanon, he has launched two major presidential campaigns and founded or organized more than 100 civic organizations. His groups have made an impact on tax reform, atomic power regulation, the tobacco industry, clean air and water, food safety, access to health care, civil rights, congressional ethics, and much more. His latest book, Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for America’s Future, offers fresh perspectives on how to “rescue our country from corruption, complacency, and corporate domination.” He’ll be appearing on Monday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Harris Theatre on George Mason University's Fairfax campus.

Radio and TV political commentators Kojo Nnamdi and Mark Plotkin will talk about the hot topics of the day on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in George Mason University's Harris Theatre. Nnamdi is the host of The Kojo Nnamdi Show, the weekly public affairs program on 88.5 WAMU-FM, and of Evening Exchange on WHUT-TV. In 2013, he was voted Best Radio Personality in the Washington City Paper’s “Best of D.C.” poll. Plotkin, Fox 5’s political analyst, has made numerous appearances on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and C-Span. He was also the political commentator for WTOP Radio from 2002 to 2012, with the Friday morning show, “The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin.” This event is sponsored by the Fairfax County Public Library.

Sonia Sanchez is the winner of the 2013 Busboys and Poets Award, presented to a contemporary poet in conjunction with Busboys and Poets, a restaurant, bookstore, fair trade market and gathering place based in Washington, D.C.; the award pays 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 for his writing. Sanchez is the author of more than 16 books, ranging from her debut poetry collection, 1969’s Homecoming, to her latest collection, 2010’s Morning Haiku, and including the American Book Award winner Homegirls and Handgrenades. She is scheduled to accept the award on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. in Grand Tier III, the Center for the Arts on George Mason University's Fairfax campus.

Cheryl Strayed will receive this year’s Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, given each year to a woman writer specializing in nonfiction; the award commemorates the life and work of Rinehart who, for 45 years prior to her death in 1958, was one of America’s most popular writers. Strayed’s bestselling memoirWild — a survival story chronicling grief and loss, sex and drugs, and a 1,000-mile journey cross-country to find herself — was the inaugural selection for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club 2.0. Strayed is also the author of Tiny Beautiful Things and of the novel Torch, and her work has appeared in The Best American EssaysThe New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, Creative Nonfiction, The Sun and elsewhere. Strayed will appear on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, on George Mason University's Fairfax campus.

David Baldacci is the winner of this year’s Mason Award, celebrating authors who have made an extraordinary contribution to connecting literature to the wide-reading public. Baldacci’s novels — ranging from his debut, Absolute Power (the basis for the acclaimed Clint Eastwood film), to his latest release, The Hit — have sold more than 110 million copies worldwide, with sales in more than 80 countries and in more than 45 languages. Additionally, Baldacci has spearheaded two organizations devoted to spreading a love of reading. He and his wife founded the Wish You Well Foundation to support adult and family literacy in the United States; the organization fosters and promotes the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. And he also established the innovative Feeding Body & Mind program in partnership with Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the U.S., to donate books to families in need. Baldacci will close the 2013 festival with a talk on Friday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the university's Concert Hall.

For more information and a complete schedule of events for this year's festival, visit www.fallforthebook.org

Brian D. Engler September 23, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Here are some photos from the Dave Barry Fairfax Prize event on Sunday September 22, 2013: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151694127165698.1073741836.588970697&type=1&l=4f65367012

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