This weekend’s annual Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University will pay special tribute to Reston-area author Wendi Kaufman, who died in August after a long battle with cancer.
Kaufman, 50, will be honored at Stillhouse Press’ literary salon at 7 p.m. Saturday at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts.
Kaufman’s book, Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, is being released this week by Stillhouse, a new publishing collaboration between the festival, the MFA program in creative writing at George Mason University, and the Dallas Hudgens, founder of Relegation Books, who is a Mason MFA alum.
“Wendi earned her BA and then her MFA here at Mason, and those of us who knew her through those years and since were honored to be able to bring out her first book of stories,” said William Miller, festival executive director and director of Mason’s creative writing program.
“The title story appeared in the New Yorker and many of the other stories appeared in literary journals and magazines, but the whole book didn’t find a publisher. That is the kind of book the students running Stillhouse Press wanted to pick as their first project.”
Many high-profile authors and others in the literary world have paid tribute to Kaufman in recent weeks. Critic Bethanne Patrick wrote a memorial in Washingtonian, and novelist Joyce Maynard, writing for the New York Observer, offered a touching reflection on a “friend she never met.”
A memorial service for Kaufman will be be held Sunday at 7 p.m. at
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, 2709 Hunter Mill Rd., Oakton.
The Stillhouse Salon says Saturday’s event “will be both a remembrance of this gifted and generous author and a celebration of the work that she left for her friends and fans ”
The Stillhouse event is requesting a donation of $20 ($10 for students). Attendees receive a Helen on 86th Street tote bag, plus food and drinks.
Following the reception, there will be presentations from other authors, including Roxane Gay, author of the highly acclaimed debut novel An Untamed State and the equally celebrated essay collection Bad Feminist; Ronna Wineberg, author of the debut novel On Bittersweet Place, published by Relegation Books; and Mary Kay Zuravleff, who will read from Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories.
Fall for the Book also has a long list of events at Mason and at other locations in Northern Virginia and in D.C. Visit the Fall for the Book website for more information for the week-long event.