The Shelf: Decatur Book Festival

Decatur Book Festival

This labor day weekend, the AJC Decatur Book Festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary. This precocious, audacious five-year-old became one from the signature literary occasions in the united states, attracting some 70,000 individuals to downtown Decatur. Keynote loudspeakers have incorporated heavy hitters for example Mister Harold Evans, Charles Frazier, Arianna Huffington, which year’s Jonathan Franzen. But right from the start, the emphasis continues to be on being smart and inventive instead of truly being big.

For each somber discourse on the way forward for publishing, there is a Ladybug Girl parade. For each panel of Civil War historians, there is a wrestling match or perhaps a petting zoo.

“Here’s a secret we understood: ‘Bookish’ people prefer to party,” states Tom Bell, cofounder and program director. “They like parades and picnics and games and good drink and food and dancing a minimum of around-most likely greater than-an average joe.Inches

2010 keynote speaker, Franzen, is heady proof this sassy little festival has earned some serious respect within the publishing world. Nearly nine years following the publication of his National Book Award-winning novel The Corrections, Franzen’s new novel, Freedom, has been released merely a couple of days prior to the festival, that will launch his worldwide book tour.

Among other featured authors this season: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Finkel (The Great Soldiers), memoirist and novelist Joyce Maynard, Ridley Pearson, Emily Giffin, Thomas Lux, and Diana Gabaldon, author of times-traveling Outlander saga (latest volume: An Echo within the Bone).

“To get lots of people flowing easily via a festival that covers several city blocks-and supply enough signs and assistance for individuals to locate what they’re searching for-is really a neat trick,” states Gabaldon, a perennial festival favorite. “The Decatur Book Festival will it superbly, and will it having a charming feeling of relaxation.”

It is among the secrets of the festival’s success: The authors have a tendency to love this particular event around the crowds do.

“This festival is perfect for being outdoors, mingling, grabbing a bite to consume at some good little restaurant, and speaking with other book enthusiasts,” states longtime Atlantan Gem Cleage, playwright, essayist, and novelist (Until You Listen To Me). “Who could request something more?Inches

The selection includes tracks for graphic novels, business, cooking, overall health, emerging authors, children’s authors, and much more. “The Decatur Book Festival wins the Goldilocks prize,” states David Kirby, a poet and author (coeditor of Seriously Funny) from Tallahassee, Florida. “Whereas other festivals are extremely large or not big enough or too disseminate over space and time, everything relating to this the first is perfect. It’s some Wally Whitman’s ‘America’ on the steamy Saturday.”

The poetry track in the festival is really a perennial powerhouse, painstakingly curated to incorporate new voices as well as the attempted-and-true. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, who resides in Decatur, returns this season.

For any full schedule, use the internet at

(Editor’s note: Weaver is around the DBF programming committee.)

New this month

New Tales in the South: The Year’s Best, 2010 edited by Amy Hempel

(Algonquin Books, $14.95 paperback)

“I want yearning, not nostalgia,” writes guest editor Amy Hempel, explaining her selections for this twenty-fifth-anniversary collection. “I want my breath to trap in a last line.” Ron Rash, Dorothy Allison, Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Spencer, and much more allow it to be among the most powerful editions yet.

Oraien Catledge: Photographs by Oraien Catledge

(College Press of Mississippi, $35)

Mississippi-born professional photographer Oraien Catledge found his muse within the unforgettable faces from the white-colored working class who eked out a full time income in Atlanta’s Cabbagetown. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford and Constance Lewis, founding father of the Opal Gallery in Atlanta, edit this outstanding story.

The Grand Design: Strategy and also the U.S. Civil War by Jesse Stoker

(Oxford College Press, $27.95)

Jesse Stoker, a professor in the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, argues in surprisingly brisk prose it wasn’t the North’s monumental advantages in population and industry that ensured victory. Rather, it had been military strategy that determined the war’s outcome.

Illustration by Invisible Creature