Staff & Board

Staff

Julie Wilson — Executive Director

A North Carolina native, Julie Wilson discovered her love of books from her mother, who was an elementary school librarian. She comes to the AJC Decatur Book Festival from the American Cancer Society, where she spent nearly seven years managing customer feedback and process improvement, measuring and evaluating customer experiences, and developing marketing communications programs.

Previously, Julie spent the bulk of her career at Ketchum, a leading international communications agency, managing myriad client and internal projects, from managing earned media evaluations and other measurement projects, to media relations campaigns for start-up and established companies. Throughout her career, she has written almost every business communication possible to help clients spread their information to their relevant audiences.

Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Journalism and concentration in advertising. When she’s not reading a Captain Underpants or Lunch Lady book with her son, she’s reading a handful of books she’s learned about through the DBF.

Mike Miller — Festival Manager

After graduating with a degree in general biology, Michael determined that working trade shows was both more lucrative and more gratifying than conducting tests on lab animals. Michael left the lab at VA Hospital in Washington, D.C. and turned his talents to the trade show industry, accumulating more than 40 years‘ experience since doing so. More important than the years is the breadth of his experience, which has included exhibit installation, warehouse management, drafting, estimating, show floor management, exhibit management, and on-site maintenance for domestic and international exhibitors.

His management experience includes developing an international network of direct employee and partner relationships to deliver international exhibit services on five continents and over 42 international trade show cities.

Michael gained great creative problem solving skills and insight into the human psyche in the late 70s due to this seven-year stint working experience in a tented traveling circus for seven months a year as an advertising agent and concession manager. For the remaining five months of the year, Mike was an IATSE member (stagehand) and worked as an electrician and carpenter in the live theater on rock-n-roll concerts, Disney World, and Circus World in Orlando, Florida.

Because of the growth of the trade show industry in Atlanta, Mike moved into the Decatur area from Florida in 1983 and into the city of Decatur proper in 1997. He started volunteering with the DBF in 2009.

Diane Capriola — Manager of Children and Teen Programming

Diane Capriola is co-owner of Little Shop of Stories, an award winning, independent bookstore for children in Decatur. She is also "that girl from 'You've Got Mail'". She grew up on Long Island but has called Decatur her home for over 20 years and lives there with her three children and two dogs, Jem and Scout Finch. Diane serves on the American Booksellers Association (ABA) advisory board as well as the advisory board of the ABA’s ABC Children’s Group, which provides “programs specifically aimed at growing and expanding the reach of children’s books to a wide audience of both consumers and booksellers.” Her favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird, but you already knew that.

Cindy Elsberry — Manager of Emerging Writer Programming

Cindy is a native Georgian born on Peachtree Street. She developed a love of reading from her grandmother and mother and has been an avid reader since childhood. When Cindy isn’t busy running her virtual assistant business, she is a member of two Atlanta book clubs. She loves outings with friends especially when it involves cupcakes! Cindy also participated as a giver for World Book Night 2013.

Nonie Ravenberg — Marketing Director

A lifelong booklover and DBF volunteer since 2008, Nonie brings a few decades of event marketing experience to the DBF staff.

The last 21 years of her career was spent at Nth Degree, Inc., an event and trade show management company based in Duluth. During her tenure there, Nonie has managed the marketing team offering audience acquisition services to clients, worked on event strategy and brand projects, created and documented business processes and training curricula, established client trust and business credibility by developing and supervising rigorous event financial management practices, and fulfilled a plethora of other company needs including contract management, art director, brand manager, marketing communicator, photographer, copywriter, decorator, relocation manager, visual support developer, and in the words of one manager, generally helping “make us look smart.”

Board

James Diedrick, President

James Diedrick is Professor of English at Agnes Scott College. His teaching and scholarly interests include literature in English, Victorian literature and culture, contemporary British fiction, film studies, and nonfiction writing. From 2005 to 2013 he served as Associate Dean of the College and Vice President for Special Programs at Agnes Scott.

James has been a member of the AJC Decatur Book Festival Board and Planning Committee since 2011, in these roles he has worked to assure that the partnership between the college and the DBF is a creative and productive one.

He received his undergraduate degree in English from Western Washington University, and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington. He has taught and held administrative positions at the University of Washington, Chapman University (California), Albion College (Michigan), and The Newberry Library (Chicago).

His most recent book is a biography entitled Mathilde Blind: Late-Victorian Culture and the Woman of Letters (University of Virginia Press, 2016). He has also written the critical study Understanding Martin Amis (University of South Carolina Press, 1995, 2004), and he co-edited a collection of essays on Stanley Kubrick, Depth of Field: Stanley Kubrick, Film, and the Uses of History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).

James lives in Decatur with his wife LeeAnne Richardson, an English professor at Georgia State University.

Mathwon R. Howard, Vice President

Mathwon R. Howard serves as Associate Vice President for Development Programs at Emory University. Mathwon oversees Annual Giving, Gift Planning, Donor Relations, Development Communications, Corporate Relations, Foundation Relations and three development units Carlos Museum, Center for Ethics and Emory Libraries and Information Technology. Mathwon also provides leadership for the next Emory University comprehensive campaign. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in leadership and public administration from Adrian College and enjoys public speaking, reading, writing, nature, and any activity that captivates his children. Mathwon lives in Tucker with his wife Bethany and their three children.

Alice Murray, Secretary

Alice Murray is Student Media Adviser at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College. In that role, she works with students who write for the Georgia State Signal and record Perimeter College Podcasts as they develop their skills as student journalists. She is an active member of the College Media Association, where she regularly presents seminars at national conventions and co-chaired the programming committee for the 2016 convention in Atlanta.

In addition, Alice works as a freelance writer, copy editor, marketing consultant, and social media content developer.

Alice retired after a 26-year career at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she started as a reporter at the Atlanta Constitution — at the time the metro’s morning paper — immediately after she graduated with a journalism degree from Auburn University. She managed the company’s Special Sections and Advertising Creative departments before being promoted to a Director in the Marketing Department in 2003.

Alice was a founding member of the AJC Decatur Book Festival board, serving as the first president from 2006-2012. She served on the board of trustees and the advisory board of Georgia Shakespeare, on the board of the Empty Stocking Fund, and is a graduate of the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2006.

Alison Weissinger, Treasurer

Alison Weissinger is the Director at the DeKalb County Public Library. As Director, she oversees the administration of 22 DeKalb County branch libraries, and a $54,540,000 Library Bond program approved by DeKalb voters in November, 2005. Alison also manages the Georgia Center for the Book program at the DeKalb County Public Library which brings more than 100 author programs a year to DeKalb County.

Alison is a seasoned library veteran. She joined DeKalb County Public Library in 1997 as a youth services librarian. Additionally, Alison has served as a branch manager at several branches, including the Decatur Library, the county’s main library branch. Prior to being appointed Director, Alison served as the system's Adult Services Coordinator, directing adult programming, literacy and outreach services, and the library’s website.

Alison earned her bachelor’s degree in German Literature from the University of California at Davis and her master’s degree in Library Science from Florida State University. She lives in Decatur, GA with her husband Chris and two children.

George Bradford

George Bradford is an attorney with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Regional Counsel in Decatur, Georgia. He represents VA facilities and personnel in a wide range of legal matters throughout Georgia and South Carolina. An expert in Appropriations Law, he serves on the VA Office of General Counsel's Appropriations Law Specialty Panel. He also provides ethics training for all VA employees and teaches Continuing Legal Education courses on Veterans Legal Issues, Ethics and Professionalism. Prior to joining the VA, he spent ten years in the private practice of law in Houston, Texas.

Linda Harris

Linda Harris has worked for the City of Decatur, GA since 1988 where she oversees civic engagement, marketing, communications and community outreach efforts. She is the city’s liaison to the Arts Alliance, Book Festival Board, Decatur Business Association, and oversees implementation of the city’s cultural arts master plan. She is the Executive Director of the Decatur Tourism Bureau and is a columnist and stringer for several publications. She holds a B.A. in English Literature/Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College and a M.A. in Communications from Georgia State University. She is a certified associate coach with the International Coaching Federation.

Will Johnston

William Johnston is the Founder and Executive Director of Tiny House Atlanta, the largest education and advocacy group for the tiny house movement in the nation. His passion is to utilize engaging events to educate government, communities, and individuals on a variety of topics and issues surrounding the tiny house movement and the benefits of space utilization. He also serves on the American Tiny House Association Board and has been working directly with the City of Atlanta as well as other municipalities to strategically incorporate micro housing to benefit cities in Georgia.

Previously, he was Manager for Community and Customer Engagement at The Atlanta Journal Constitution where he managed community activation and events. He has been involved with The AJC Decatur Book Festival since its launch and joined the Board in 2009.

William Johnston received his Bachelor’s from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and majored in Theatre and Sociology. In 2012 he graduated LEAD Atlanta, a prestigious eight-month leadership program for young professionals in the Metro Atlanta area. Johnston has been featured on Georgia Public Broadcasting ReDream Project and frequently presents to numerous groups and organizations through out the Southeast about the Tiny House Movement.

Rosemary M. Magee

Rosemary M. Magee serves as Director of Emory’s Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) overseeing the collection and development of significant literary and historical materials. Previously, she served as Vice President and Secretary at Emory, where she oversaw university governance processes, and also as Senior Associate Dean of Resources and Planning in Emory College of Arts and Sciences. A leader in Emory’s creative community, she is chair of Creativity: Art and Innovation, a framing principle of the University’s Strategic Plan, committed to supporting arts performances, scholarship, research, and conversations across campus.

In recognition for her service and leadership, in 2008, Magee received the Thomas Jefferson Award, one of the University’s highest honors. Rosemary Magee holds a Ph.D. from Emory and both a B.A. and M.A. from Florida State University. An artist-in-residence at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, she has published two edited volumes along with essays, reviews, and short stories in a variety of journals and literary magazines.

Pearl Amelia McHaney

Pearl Amelia McHaney is the Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature at Georgia State University in Atlanta where she also directs the Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA). In 2014, her book-length study A Tyrannous Eye: Eudora Welty's Nonfiction and Photography was published and she received the Phoenix Award for outstanding achievement in Welty Studies from the Eudora Welty Society.

She is the editor of Eudora Welty as Photographer, winner of the Eudora Welty Prize; Occasions: Selected Writings by Eudora Welty; Eudora Welty: Contemporary Reviews; A Writer's Eye: Collected Reviews by Eudora; and the Eudora Welty Review, an annual peer-reviewed journal. She has also lectured and published on work by William Faulkner, Barry Hannah, David Mamet, Sindiwe Magona, Alice Munro, Natasha Tretheway, and Tennessee Williams. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Rialto Center for the Arts and directs an international student exchange program between Georgia State University and the University of Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Adam Rosenkoetter

In 2001, entrepreneur Adam Rosenkoetter co-founded Sol Design, a successful branding and marketing consultancy based in Atlanta. Since then, he’s built the company from ground up, now advising an impressive roster of clientele. As Co-Founder and Technical Director, Adam is Sol Design’s clients’ digital guide. Whether he recommends a custom CMS, a marketing automation tool or an internet marketing strategy, he keeps the business objective in mind and the best technology in the forefront.

When Adam is not working, he’s off running, biking, being a yogi or enjoying time with his lovely wife and two young daughters at home in Decatur.