This year's Decatur Book Festival begins today (Saturday) on and around the Square in downtown Decatur (strangely enough). There'll be booksellers, food and drink vendors, and, of course, writers--more than 200 of them to be precise.
The first DBF was held Labor Day weekend last year. As with all debuts organizers were apprehensive about how it would all turn out; they knew they'd planned well and were bringing in some top notch authors, but they weren’t sure how the public would respond.
They needn't have worried; the festival was an overwhelming success with an estimated 50,000 people attending over the two days. Not bad at all for a start-up effort!
The festival's executive director is Daren Wang and his bona fides couldn't be more impressive.
Daren graduated from Cornell University with a degree in literature. He worked as a cultural producer for WABE-FM, the public radio station serving metro Atlanta, and was then hired as host and producer of The Spoken Word, a nationally-distributed pubradio program that featured authors reading and taking questions at bookstores and other venues all over the Southeast. Daren is also a Decatur resident.
You may remember The Spoken Word from the GPB schedule. We used to air it Sunday evenings at 8 on the weekends when there wasn't a Cover to Cover broadcast. The program ceased production last year, by which time Daren was already working for the newly-conceived DBF.
This year’s sophomore effort promises to be as exciting, if not more so, than last year. The Atlanta Journal Constitution is once again the primary sponsor bringing with it all the P.R. you can shake a stick at. Crowds this year (weather permitting, as always) are predicted to exceed 75,000. That’s great news for Decatur, great news for the festival organizers, and great news for the authors who’ll be there to read.
As the DBF website states:
“The Atlanta area—the economic and cultural center of the Southeast—has long needed and greatly deserves a successful, viable book festival. And no part of Atlanta offers a better cross-section of book lovers and experienced festival organizers than Decatur.”
The festival’s two keynote addresses, Friday and Saturday evenings, are being given by author/singer-songwriter/politician Kinky Friedman and Cold Mountain author Charles Frazier respectively. Other exceptional writers scheduled to appear include: Decatur-native Roy Blount, Jr.; recent Pulitzer Prize winner, and Emory poetry professor, Natasha Trethewey; and former Cover to Cover guests Melissa Fay Greene, Renee Dodd, Tina McElroy Ansa, Karin Gillespie, Julie Cannon, Jaclyn Weldon White, Patti Callahan Henry, Joshilyn Jackson and Rosemary Daniell.
All the fun begins 10AM Saturday morning and continues through Sunday evening. Take a look at the complete schedule on the festival website.
I will be posting updates throughout Saturday and Sunday from Decatur, so stay tuned. It promises to be a wonderful Labor Day weekend for booklovers across the state!
[Email me with comments or questions about this blog entry at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.]
Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.