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Decatur Book Festival: making Labor Day literate

The fourth annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the nation, is expected to attract more than 75,000 bibliophiles and 200 authors Sept. 4-6 to downtown Decatur east of Atlanta.

The festival “ has taken on a life of its own” said executive eirector Daren Wang. “The community support is unbelievable, the book world has fully embraced us, and our offerings get better and more diverse every year.”

Sir Harold Evans, former editor of London’s The Sunday Times and president and publisher of Random House  will deliver the 2009 keynote address. The author of many critically acclaimed books, including "The American Century," Evans was knighted in 2004 for contributions to journalism.

Pulitzer Prize winners scheduled to speak include Douglas Blackmon, “Slavery by Another Name;”  Robert Olen Butler, “A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain;” Rick Bragg, “All Over but the Shoutin’;” and poet  Natasha Trethewey.

Other authors scheduled are Kathy Reichs, whose books are the basis for Fox’s smash hit “Bones”, thrillers author Lee Child and poets Edward Hirsch and Thomas Lux.

Former professional wrestler Abdullah The Butcher, who owns a Chinese and rib restaurant in Atlanta, will wrestle author Michael Muhammad Knight, who wrote a book about fictional Muslim punk rock bands.

Other events at the festival include panel discussions, live music, parades, a spelling bee, the interactive children’s area, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, a science jam, a wrestling match, author book sales and more.

Full event details, schedule, and special activities listing will be posted on the event website. Volunteers in specially marked T-shirts will also be on hand to help visitors find where their favorite authors are speaking. 

Get to the venue early for a popular author — seats  tend to fill quickly. The festival usually sets up a closed circuit TV in a nearby room for overflow.  After speaking, the authors usually autograph their books, available for sale on site.

Wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat, and bring a water bottle and a tote to carry around your books;  Decatur is plenty hot in September.

Parking near the festival will be limited; the festival will post a parking map to guide those who don’t live close enough to walk. The best way to get to the festival is to ride the Atlanta-are rapid-transit system, MARTA.

Posted on July 6, 2009 by Diane Loupe
Decatur Book Festival literature authors


Ponce de Leon and Clairemont Avenues
Decatur, GA

(404) 625-5448


Getting Here
The Decatur MARTA route drops passengers off in the middle of the festival.

Most free; fees for some night music events

Metered spots, paid lots, garages

Keynote address Friday at 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday noon-6 p.m.
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