The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF) concluded its 10th annual event on Sunday with Executive Director and Co-founder Daren Wang pronouncing it “easily our most successful festival.”
More than 600 authors packed 23 different stages, families enjoyed two children’s parades, and festival-goers were treated to yet another fantastic art|DBF arts and culture showcase. Ninety thousand festival-goers attended the 2014 AJC DBF.
“Festival crowds are notoriously difficult to estimate and are more so for something like the DBF where there are thousands of people in indoor sessions at any given moment,” Wang said. “One thing is clear—there was a whole bunch more people around than there was last year. It was easily our most successful festival.”
The festival kicked off on Friday night with a sold-out Keynote event at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey gave a recitation of “Meditation at Decatur Square,” a poem examining how, after personal tragedy, the city has been redeemed for her through the festival.
The night proceeded with a conversation between noted feminist writers Erica Jong and Roxane Gay. The duo did not shy away from some of the most sensitive issues facing modern feminism in a discourse that in the ensuing days generated its share of buzz.
“Both Roxane Gay and Erica Jong are brilliant writers who have helped define feminism for their respective generations,” Wang said. “As I’d hoped, the Keynote event and the conversation that continues even now has presented many of us, myself included, a real opportunity to understand the nuanced entanglement of gender and race in our history.”
AJC DBF Programming Director, Philip Rafshoon, was thrilled with the outcome of this year’s festival.
“We are so fortunate to have such a devoted following,” Rafshoon said. “We also were glad that the weather cooperated and allowed festival-goers to get their fill of whichever events they elected to enjoy. We had many full venues, long lines of readers waiting to meet the authors and strong book sales. That, to me, is a testament to the quality of the festival’s programming and also to those who attend it.”