DECATUR — Metro Atlanta’s most well known book festival will be virtual only this year.
The 2020 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival presented by Emory University has announced that the event will be free and completely virtual this year, beginning Friday, Sept. 4, and continuing through Sunday, Oct. 4.
The Decatur Book Festival, one of the largest independent book festivals in the country, will feature a lineup of more than 40 nationally recognized authors, poets, and illustrators, including 15 of the festival’s best past presenters, in a series of curated panels.
All events will be available via Crowdcast, an app that is free to download. You can sign up via the festival website: https://www.crowdcast.io/decaturbookfestival.
The virtual festival begins on Friday, Sept. 4, with 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Emory University professor Jericho Brown (The Tradition) as the keynote speaker, and concludes Sunday, Oct. 4, with 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and former two-term U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as the endnote speaker, discussing her new memoir, Memorial Drive. Other presenters include:
- Former US Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher, My Quest for Health Equity
- Poet Kevin Young presenting the anthology he has edited, African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song
- Roxane Gay discussing writing in the current times with journalist Soraya McDonald
- Georgia’s poet laureate, Chelsea Rathburn
- Southern noir panel with Tom Mullen, Attica Locke, and SA Cosby
- Special romance novel panel curated by 2019 festival presenter Jasmine Guillory
- Georgia theologian Barbara Brown Taylor in conversation with author Sophfronia Scott about their studies on Howard Thurmon and Thomas Merton
The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University will present a memorial film, Flash Here and There Like Falling Stars: The Life and Work of Dr. Pellom McDaniels III.
This virtual discussion of Dr. McDaniels’ life and work as the curator of African American collections at the Rose Library will be led by Jennifer King, director of the Rose Library; Dwight Andrews, professor of music theory and African American music at Emory University; Clint Fluker, assistant director of engagement and scholarship at the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library; and Randall Burkett, retired curator of African American collections at the Rose Library.
The Children’s and Young Adult lineup begins with the popular “kidnote” event featuring author Derrick Barnes and illustrator Gordon C. James and their timely and inspiring new picture book, I Am Every Good Thing.
Best-selling graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier will moderate Graphix Con, a fun discussion with authors and artists, including Gale Galligan, illustrator of the beloved Baby-Sitter’s Club series, and Dave Eggers will join DBF Keynote Alum Colin Meloy and illustrator Shawn Harris to talk about their current and upcoming picture books.
The panel Diverse Mythologies will include authors Roshani Chokshi, Tehlor Kay Mejia, and Jennifer Cervantes, all authors with the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. The Raise Your Voice YA panel will feature 2018 National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo, local authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed, as well as Renee Watson and Brendan Kiely encouraging young people to use their voices to affect change in their communities and in the world.
Programming will include a reading of Dave Eggers’ civic engagement picture books Her Left Foot and What Can a Citizen Do? by Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Kevin Riley.
Finally, this year’s culinary program will celebrate Southern culinary traditions, in particular those rooted in African American food culture. Toni Tipton-Martin is the festival’s “cooknote” author; she will participate in a four-event series called Jubilee Talks, a nod to her 2020 James Beard Award-winning cookbook.
Other culinary panels include notable culinary luminaries including the Grande Dames of Southern Cuisine (Virginia Willis, Nathalie Dupree, Belinda Smith-Sullivan), Brad Thomas Parsons, and food photographer Battman whose book in photographs of 100 black chefs, Toques in Black, has been critically acclaimed.
During the festival events, books will be available for purchase via our partner booksellers, who have been an integral part of the festival since its beginning. Booksellers are: A Capella Books, Brave and Kind Bookshop, Charis Books and More, Eagle Eye Books, FoxTale Book Shoppe, Little Shop of Stories, and Tall Tales Books. Each virtual event is co-sponsored by one of these independent booksellers.