Tania James is the author of the novel The Tusk That Did the Damage (Knopf, 2015), Aerogrammes and Other Stories (Knopf, 2012), and the novel Atlas of Unknowns (Knopf 2009). Tusk was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and named a Best Book of 2015 by The San Francisco Chronicle and NPR, and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and longlisted for the Financial Times Oppenheimer Award. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Oxford American, Granta, Kenyon Review, One Story, and A Public Space. She has received fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, the Macdowell Colony, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Fulbright Program.
Helon Habila's current book is The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria, a nonfiction investigation into the kidnapping of 276 girls in Nigeria by Islamist militants in 2014. His first novel, Waiting for an Angel, has been translated into many langauges including Dutch, Italian, Swedish, and French. His writing has won many prizes including the Caine Prize, 2001; the Commonweath Writers Prize, Africa region, 2003; the Emily Balch Prize, 2008, and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction, 2015.
He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review. His second novel, Measuring Time, published in 2007, won the Virginia Library Foundation Fiction Award, 2008, and was shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, 2008. His third novel, Oil on Water, was published in the U.S. in 2011. His stories, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in various magazines and papers including Granta, AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and the London Guardian. His short story, The Hotel Malogo, was selected for the Best American Non-required Reading Anthology. Habila is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story, 2011.
Director, Fall for the Book Festival
Kara Oakleaf is the director of Watershed Lit and the Fall for the Book festival, and teaches creative writing and literature in the English department. She received her M.F.A. at George Mason University and her work appears in Best Small Fictions 2020, Bloomsbury's Short-Form Creative Writing, and journals including Matchbook, Booth, Wigleaf and SmokeLong Quarterly.
Eric Pankey (MFA, University of Iowa, 1983) is the author of many collections of poems: For the New Year (Atheneum 1984),which was selected as the winner of the Walt Whitman, Heartwood (Atheneum 1988), which was reissued by Orchises Press in 1998, Apocrypha (Alfred A. Knopf 1991), The Late Romances (Alfred A. Knopf 1997), Cenotaph (Alfred A. Knopf 2000), Oracle Figures (Ausable Press 2003), Reliquaries (Ausable Press 2005), The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems (Ausable Press 2008), Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013), Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2013), which won the New Measures Prize, Crow-Work (Milkweed Editions 2015), Augury (Milkweed Editions 2017), The Owl of Minerva (Milkweed Editions 2019), Vestiges: Notes, Responses, and Essays 1988-2018 (Parlor Press 2019), Alias:Prose Poems (Free Verse Editions 2020) and Not Yet Transfigured (Orison Books 2021). His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals as The Iowa Review, The Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review,The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Yale Review. His work has been supported by fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Brown Foundation. He teaches poetry workshops and courses on modern and contemporary poetry. He is professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University. A new chapbook, The Future Perfect: A Fugue, which won the 2020 Snowbound Chapbook Award, is out from Tupelo Press now.
Manager, Fall for the Book Festival
Suzy Rigdon holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University, and a BA in English and History from Hartwick College. She is the Festival Manager for Fall for the Book, co-hosts the Fall for the Book Podcast, and teaches Digital Creative Writing (ENGH377).
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Laura Scott received her MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 1993. She teaches fiction writing and is the Department's Academic Coordinator and primary advisor to undergraduates in the Creative Writing and English majors.
Her debut novel, Death Wishing, was released in 2011. Her novels The Juliet and The Mean Bone in Her Body were released in 2016. The Mean Bone in Her Body is Book 1 of the New Royal Mysteries series. Book 2, Crybaby Lane, was released 2017. Book 3, Blue Billy will be released in 2022.
Art Taylor teaches creative writing and literature, and for many years he helped to coordinate marketing for the annual Fall for the Book Festival.
Art is the author of two short story collections—The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions and The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74 and Other Tales of Suspense—and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. He has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, four Macavity Awards, and four Derringer Awards for his short fiction. His work has also appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, and he edited Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015, winner of the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection, California Schemin': Bouchercon Anthology 2020, and Lawyers, Guns, and Money: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Warren Zevon.
His short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, in the Chesapeake Crime anthologies This Job Is Murder, Homicidal Holidays, and Storm Warning, and in other journals and anthologies. He contributes frequently to the Washington Post, Washington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene.
Gregg Wilhelm became Director of Mason Creative Writing in Spring 2018. His expertise covers book publishing, arts administration, and higher education. He started his career at Johns Hopkins University Press, launched three imprints including one with a major independent bookseller, founded nonprofit literary arts organization CityLit Project and launched its CityLit Press imprint, and held adjunct and leadership positions at several institutions. Prior to joining the English Department at Mason, Gregg served as Director of Marketing and Enrollment Development for the Open Studies unit at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has sat on grant review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts (FY2014 and FY2019), the Maryland State Arts Council, and the RUBYs Artist Grants. In fall 2020, he co-founded Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice, a center chartered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University.