ATLANTA, Ga. (August 8, 2017) – Two authors whose books pay homage to Atlanta’s urban development – past, present and future – are the recipients of the second annual Judy Turner Prize from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival (DBF). The 12th annual event, the largest independent book festival in the country, is Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-3.
Hannah Palmer, author of “Flight Path: A Search for Roots Beneath the World’s Busiest Airport,” and Mark Pendergrast, author of “City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future,” will receive the award before their presentation “The Impact of Changing Atlanta” at 1:45 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Decatur Library.
The prize is named in honor of Judy Turner, DBF founding board member and long-time board president, who served until 2016 and remains on the board of directors. Turner retired in 2016 from Private Bank of Decatur after a 51-year career in banking. In recognition of her dedication to community service, Private Bank of Buckhead, which includes Private Bank of Decatur, contributed $10,000 in seed money to establish the prize.
“One of the things ‘City on the Verge’ and ‘Flight Path’ share in common is an examination of the fabric that brings communities together, the work done by determined and quiet individuals that often goes unnoticed,” said Daren Wang, DBF executive director. “And in that way, these books are perfect choices for the Judy Turner Prize. She has done that work for Decatur for over fifty years.”
Palmer, who works as an urban designer in Atlanta, writes about the intersection of southern stories and urban landscapes for outlets such as CNN, Art Papers, Atlanta Magazine, ATL Studies and masterplans for urban design projects around the world. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she earned an MFA in creative writing from Sewanee: The University of the South. Palmer lives near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with her husband and sons, and “Flight Path” is her first book.
“That fact that ‘Flight Path,’ my first and most personal project, is being embraced by readers in my hometown is enormously validating for me as a writer,” Palmer said. “But beyond me, the fact that an intimate story about the overlooked edges of the city is being recognized as a book about community should be an encouragement to all Atlantans to tell their own stories and fill in the full tapestry of our changing city.”
Pendergrast, born and raised in Atlanta, is the author of eleven books, including “For God, Country and Coca-Cola,” “Inside the Outbreaks,” and “Uncommon Grounds.” He now lives in Vermont.
“I am delighted to receive the Judy Turner Prize in recognition for the years of research, thought and passion I put into writing ‘City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future’,” Pendergrast said. “I hope that my book helps in a small way to lead the city into a better future with better public transport, more parks and trails, and more equitable housing and medical care. To receive the Turner Prize validates my work and message, thank you so much.”
While the selection process has no specific criteria, the focus of an author’s book must be on community and published in the current year. The festival’s programming team determines the recipient. The inaugural recipient was Atlanta Beltline creator Ryan Gravel for his book “Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities.”
Tax deductible donations to the AJC Decatur Book Festival’s Judy Turner Prize may be sent to the Decatur Book Festival, Attn: Judy Turner Fund, at P.O. Box 337 Decatur, Ga. 30031.
This year’s festival programming schedule along with special events is now available on the DBF website at decaturbookfestival.com/sessions.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival (DBF) is the largest independent book festival in the country. Over Labor Day weekend tens of thousands from metro Atlanta and beyond share the historic Decatur Square with world-class authors, illustrators, editors, publishers and booksellers for a weekend filled with literature, music, food and fun. For more information, visit decaturbookfestival.com,“like” Decatur Book Festival on Facebook or follow @DBookFestival on Twitter.