The 2016 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (DBF) will release Keynote event tickets to the public at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4. Cassandra King Conroy, Rick Bragg and other friends and family of late Southern literary icon Pat Conroy will participate in the Keynote event, titled “The Life and Works of Pat Conroy,” on Friday, Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts (1700 N. Decatur Road).
Tickets for the Keynote event are required, free and limited to two per person. Those seeking tickets to the Keynote event can obtain them by visiting the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, by calling the Arts at Emory Box Office (404.727.5050) or by visiting tickets.arts.emory.edu. Phone and online orders include a $4 processing fee. A limited number of tickets are available at A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Books, Tall Tales Books and Little Shop of Stories.
Tickets also will be available on Aug. 4 for the Kidnote address at A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Books and Little Shop Of Stories. The tickets are free but will be limited to four per person. This year’s featured Kidnote author will be Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series, who will launch Dog Man, a book about a crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, at DBF.
The Kidnote address will be at Decatur High School’s Performing Arts Center (310 North McDonough Street) and will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. Festival-goers are encouraged to take public transportation, walk or bicycle, as on-site parking will be limited because of construction at the high school.
In addition to the ticket announcement, DBF has released the schedule for the event. Attendees can now view the robust programming schedule on the DBF website: https://decaturbookfes.wpengine.com/sessions.
Following the Keynote and Kidnote events, some of the weekend’s highlights include:
Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn
- Against the backdrop of a changing neighborhood and a changing world, four brown teenage girls are figuring out their lives with dreams of modeling, lawyering, dancing, writing and feeling very real until “the most beautiful among us” becomes pregnant. Suddenly, the world is different, more dangerous, their vulnerability more evident and their dreams of success begin to feel like part of “another Brooklyn, a different time.”
- Decatur Presbyterian Church, (205 Sycamore Street), Saturday, 11:15 a.m.
Tyehimba Jess, Olio; Jenny Zhang, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find
- In a panel titled “Weaving Song and Narrative,” two insightful and passionate poets discuss the intertwining of personal narratives, whether in voice or song. Jess presents the sweat and story behind America’s blues, worksongs and church hymns. Olio is an effort to understand how they met, resisted, complicated, co-opted and sometimes defeated attempts to minstrelize them. Zhang brings her first poetry collection, Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, that is personal, seeking, raw and vulnerable. It’s filled with a personal sense of embracing and living in the world adrift and a feeling of disorientation provided by a history filled with ghosts and skeletons, a failing relationship and disjointed writing.
- Marriott Conference Center Ballroom A (130 Clairemont Avenue), Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Alexander Chee, Queen of the Night; Kaitlyn Greenidge, We Love You, Charlie Freeman
- In a panel titled “Alternative History,” two exciting literary voices discuss what could have happened in the past. Chee presents Queen of the Night, which follows Paris Opera sensation Lilliet Berne, as she attains a critical original role but realizes it’s based on a hidden piece of her past. Greenidge, an emerging talent, discusses her novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, which begins as a story of family but becomes an exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.
- First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage (308 Clairemont Avenue), Saturday, 1:45 p.m.
Wonder of Childhood presented by Institute for Child Success and AIR Serenbe
- Highly regarded authors and artists who collectively share a passion for the power of stories in the lives of children discuss and celebrate the importance of stories in the shaping of children’s own personal narratives, conceptions of self and of the world and their location within our broader cultural narratives of race, gender and class. Participants in the discussion include author Mac Barnett, author Jeanne Birdsall, spoken word artists Mahogany L. Browne and Anis Mojgani and Joe Waters, executive vice president of the Institute for Child Success.
- Decatur Recreation Department Dance Studio (231 Sycamore Street), Saturday, 3 p.m.
Doug Blackmon, Hank Klibanoff, Natasha Trethewey with moderator Roy Peter Clark
- In a panel titled “Celebrating Georgia’s Pulitzer Prize Winners,” three winners of the country’s most prestigious literary and journalism award read the work of three long-ago Pulitzer winners. The Pulitzer Prizes celebrate their centennial this year.
- First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage (308 Clairemont Avenue), Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Patrick Phillips, Blood at the Root
- Phillips, an award-winning poet and Atlanta-area native, presents a gripping tale of racial cleansing in Forsyth County, Georgia, and a harrowing testament to the deep roots of racial violence in America. Phillips breaks the century-long silence of his hometown and uncovers a history of racial terrorism that continues to shape America in the 21st century.
- Marriott Conference Center Ballroom B (130 Clairemont Avenue), Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
Rien Fertel, The One True Barbecue
- The One True Barbecue is a journey into the Southern heartland to discover the last of the great roadside whole-hog pitmasters — the ones who carry the heritage and the secrets of true barbecue. Fertel chronicles the uniquely Southern art of whole hog — America’s original barbecue — through the professional pitmasters who make a living firing, smoking, flipping and cooking 200-plus-pound pigs.
- Food and Cooking Stage (MARTA Plaza), Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
Frank Browning, The Fate of Gender
- Browning, the former National Public Radio science reporter and bestselling author, explores human gender geographies around the world. Linking science to culture and behavior and delving into the lives of individuals challenging historic norms, Browning questions the traditional division of nature versus nurture in everything from plant science to sexual expression, arguing in the end that life consists of an endless waltz. The Fate of Gender offers readers of any age new ways to understand their own and others’ identities, new ways to interpret our recent gender-bending history and a new ability to imagine the possibilities for our new and future society.
- First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage (308 Clairemont Avenue), Sunday, 3:45 p.m.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (DBF) is the largest independent book festival in the country. Over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-4) tens of thousands from metro Atlanta and beyond will 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.