Fall for the Book: Mason MFA Alumni Celebration

A Fall for the Book Preview Event featuring Danielle Badra, Christopher Davenport, Tara Laskowski, Danika Stegeman LeMay, and Angie Mazakis

Thursday, October 7, 2021 7:00 PM
Merten Hall (formerly University Hall), #1201 and live-streamed via Crowdcast

Fall for the Book: Mason MFA Alumni Celebration

Come together online or in-person to celebrate Mason MFA’s 40 years with four alumni. Christopher Davenport witnessed an unspeakable killing of a local woman in the Papua New Guinean village in which he was stationed as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His memoir The Tin Can Crucible asks difficult questions about the role of philanthropy, intersections of culture, and complex mechanisms of humanity. Poet Danielle Badra’s Like Still We Speak is an elegiac conversation between herself and the sister and father she has lost, investigating intimacy, survival, and inheritance. Poet Danika Stegeman LeMay’s collection Pilot is a book about recovery and human connection; a work of erasure that pulls its raw materials from the TV series LOST. Matt Mauch says “LeMay’s poems show us that even those doomed get our shot at beauty, at connection, at joy.” In Angie Mazakis’s poetry collection I Was Waiting to See What You Would Do First, she examines scenes within scenes, sharpening focus on minute details that reveal the wonders of human perception and imagination. In Tara Laskowski’s The Mother Next Door, good mothers never admit to murder. Kathleen Barber calls the novel, “Suspenseful, sinister, and just the right amount of spooky.” 

This is an in-person event that will also be live-streamed. We encourage you to attend in whatever way you’re most comfortable. 

Registration required to attend in-person. Register for the in-person event here.

To watch the event: Crowdcast

Sponsored by the George Mason University Creative Writing Program. 

powered by Crowdcast

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Danielle Badra received her BA in Creative Writing from Kalamazoo College (2008) and her MFA in Poetry from George Mason University (2017). While there, she was the poetry editor of So To Speak, a feminist literary and arts journal, and an intern for Split This Rock. Her poems have appeared in Guesthouse (forthcoming), MiznaCincinnati ReviewThe MaynardOutlook Springs, 45th Parallel, The California Journal of Poetics, Duende, The Greensboro ReviewBad Pony, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Split This Rock, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Dialogue with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2015) is her first chapbook, a collection of contrapuntal poems in dialogue with her deceased sister. Her manuscriptLike We Still Speak, was selected by Fady Joudah and Hayan Charara as the winner of the 2021 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and is forthcoming through the University of Arkansas Press fall 2021.

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Christopher Davenport is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. He has served in Vietnam, Guatemala, Tajikistan, the European nation of Georgia, and Washington, D.C. His first international experience was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea, from 1994 to 1996. His time in a village of Papua New Guinean subsistence farmers forms the basis of his memoir, The Tin Can Crucible. Davenport is a 2007 graduate of George Mason’s MFA program in Creative Writing.  He and his wife have two daughters, and they live in Springfield, VA with an assortment of pets they have collected from around the world.


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Tara Laskowski is the author of One Night Gone, which won an Agatha Award, Macavity Award, and Anthony Award, and was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Left Coast Crime Award, Strand Critics’ Award, and Library of Virginia Literary Award. She is also the author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, has published stories in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Mid-American Review, among others, and is the former editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Tara earned a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MFA from George Mason University and currently lives in Virginia. Find her on Twitter and Instagram, @TaraLWrites.


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Danika Stegeman LeMay’s debut collection of poems, Pilot, is available now from Spork Press. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter. Danika received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Her work has appeared in 32 Poems, Afternoon Visitor, CutBank Literary Journal, Forklift, OH, Sporklet, and Word for/ Word, among other places. Her website is danikastegemanlemay.com.


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Angie Mazakis’s first book of poems, I Was Waiting to See What You Would Do First was chosen by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2020 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and was published by University of Arkansas Press. The book was also a finalist for the National Poetry Series, Indiana Review’s Blue Light Book Prize, the Ping-Pong Free Press Poetry Competition, and twice for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award.  Her poems have appeared in The New RepublicBoston ReviewThe Iowa ReviewBest New PoetsWashington Square ReviewColumbia JournalIndiana Review, Conduit, Lana Turner Journal and other journals. She has an MFA from George Mason University and is a PhD student in creative writing at Ohio University.

Hosted by Fall for the Book.

Sponsored by Mason Creative Writing.

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