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.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Decatur Book Festival -- Day One Wrap

As the first day of this year's DBF draws to a close, here's my update on how things are going so far. I talked to someone here today who asked me why I was spending so much time blogging about this festival. They actually wondered whether I was on the DBF payroll! (Answer: no, absolutely not).

In its two years of life, the DBF has established itself as this state's largest book festival. There are other book festivals across the state, but this one is the largest and, IMHO, is fast becoming the most influential. The draw for nationally-recognized authors is very strong, based largely on the fact that the large New York publishing houses see the festival's impact and potential.

It's interesting to note that this festival is NOT an Atlanta festival. There have been several attempts over the years to establish an Atlanta Book Festival but none has born much fruit. So, the honor now goes to the town next door.

I took in several events this afternoon, including the Youth Poetry Slam finals that took place on the Target Children's Stage. I also went to get my copy of the new George Singleton novel signed. That was not a successful enterprise.

I arrived at the venue where Mr. Singleton and several others were due to sign copies of their books. On walking in, holding my copy of Work Shirts for Madmen (Harcourt, 2007), one of the women behind the Barnes & Noble table where the authors' works were on sale nudged her colleague and said "There's a copy of Work Shirts for Madmen."

Apparently, the book, which is available a little later this month, had not been successfully ordered for the venue and so was not there to be bought by folks or signed by Mr. Singleton. The result was that, as his book wasn't there, the author didn't want to stay around to sign only copies of his previous works and so left.

Bottom line, I missed George Singleton. Maybe if I'd been there at the beginning of the signing he might have stuck around longer as I had a copy of the elusive book. Oh well!

Tomorrow promises to be another day of many, many things to do and see. If the weather is as good as it has been today, it'll be wonderful. On my agenda for tomorrow: going to the Edmund White reading at noon; introducing the Rev. John Dorhauer and Sheldon Culver who will be speaking about their book Steeplejacking: How the Christian Right is Highjacking Mainstream Religion at 5PM; and attending the presentation of this year's Lillian Smith Award at the Decatur Library (presented by the Georgia Center for the Book on whose advisory board I serve).

Come on down tomorrow if you have the chance. Things begin at noon and go on until the Shawn Mullins concert on the Square at 7PM.

Hope to see you!