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A fan-favorite returns to WSKG Public Media! Hosted by award-winning producer Crystal Sarakas, "Off the Page" features conversations with writers from across the region and around the globe. Available as a podcast on iTunes, Alexa, Google, and on the WSKG and NPR One apps.

Author Joanna Higgins writes about moral courage and life in German-occupied Brussels

IN THE FALL THEY LEAVE is the story of a student-nurse in German-occupied Brussels during World War I.

After failing at a prestigious music Academie, nineteen-year-old Marie-Terese is finally meeting with success at a Brussels nursing school. But in August 1914, just as her third and final year begins, German armies invade Belgium, swiftly overcome the Allies, and press on toward France, leaving behind an occupying force. This upends everything in Brussels and in Marie-Therese's world.

At the clinic and nursing school, a newly installed director orders students and staff to spy on one another. In this perilous environment, the matron of the school—a character based on the historical Edith Cavell—makes a fateful decision. Soon, so does Marie-Therese. Both have far-reaching consequences.

Joanna Higgins earned a PhD in Literature from Binghamton University. Her short fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories, the American Fiction series, and released in a collection called The Importance of High Places: Stories and a Novella. She’s also written four other novels.

Find out more about Joanna Higgins on her website.