Home/Releases/What’s New at This Year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival?

What’s New at This Year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival?

Children’s Stage

Drew Daywalt comes to the 2015 AJC Decatur Book Festival (AJC DBF)’s Children’s Stage to launch THe Day the Crayons Came Home, a follow-up to the wildly popular The Day the Crayons Quit. AJC DBF favorite Jeanne Birdsall returns with Penderwicks in Spring and Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser join us to talk about Nancy Clancy, Soccer Mania. The Children’s Stage is moving this year to Decatur Recreation Center, allowing families to enjoy the great lineup in more comfort.

Children’s Area Moves to Sycamore Street

The Children’s Area of the Book Market and Street Fair follows the Children’s Stage onto tree-lined Sycamore Street, where families and kids can wander in search of that new author, book or related literary gem.


Open your mind at this year’s festival to step outside your comfort zone, whether that mean looking into a different genre, a new perspective or a topic that’s foreign to you. We will use the hashtag #READdifferent to celebrate that challenge at the AJC DBF. The festival provides a breadth of content to give nearly everyone an opportunity to #READdifferent.

Springer Mountain Cooking Stage Moves to Heart of Festival

Our Cooking Stage moves front and center with its new location at the heart of the festival near the corner of Ponce de Leon and Clairmont Avenues. The new area provides a space for both cooking talks and demonstrations by chefs, cookbook writers and editors to feature a lineup of heavy hitters from the Atlanta and Decatur foodie communitiies, as well as some of the top food writers from around the country.

Our star-studded and award-winning roster of food and cooking talent includes area favorites Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, Steven Satterfield, Hugh Acheson, Virginia Willis, Rebecca Lang and Kevin Gillespie. Savannah’s legendary Lady & Sons’s chef Dora Charles demos from her first cookbook launching at the festival. Media sensation Maangchi demos from her new book, Real Korean Cooking, and rising star Leanne Brown shows how you can eat well on $4 a day with Good and Cheap. Mark Essig and Barry Estabrook talk about the history of pork and the current climate of the commercial pork industry. Also new this year is the Georgia Grown Culinary Village, which will surround the Springer Mountain Cooking Stage. Visitors can peruse locally sourced foods and artisan products from local organizations.

Personal Journeys Track

The new Personal Journeys Track will provide a forum for authors and festival-goers alike to discuss their personal journeys through shared experiences. Blending memoirs with works of narrative nonfiction, attendees can see the wonder of recovery, transformation and redemption in Dangerous When Wet by Jamie Brickhouse, Blackout by Sarah Hepola, Barefoot to Avalon by David Payne and Jim Auchmutey’s nonfiction narrative The Class of ’65: A Student, a Divided Town, and the Long Road to Forgiveness. James Edward Mills’ The Adventure Gap provides unique perspectives on race and how it affected his personal experiences; Barton Swaim gives us a peek inside the spin room of the modern politician in The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics; and Rita Gabis explores the complicated truth of her grandfather’s past in A Guest at the Shooters’ Banquet: My Grandfather’s SS Past, My Jewish Family, a Search for the Truth.

History Track, Sponsored by Atlanta History Center

History has always proved popular at the AJC DBF and this year it is bigger and better with our new history track, sponsored by the Atlanta History Center. The History Track will take attendees on amazing journeys into our past, discussing topics ranging from the Revolutionary War to the U.S. space program. Margaret Lazarus Dean explores the end of the Space Race. Fordlandia author Greg Grandin brings us his new history of one of the most influential foreign policy architects of the past 50 years in Kissinger’s Shadow. Award-winning journalist Pamela Newkirk reveals a little-known episode in American history when an African man was used in a human zoo exhibit in Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga.

Roxane Gay Track, Sponsored By MailChimp

2015 marks the second year the AJC DBF has offered an author-curated track. This year, provocative novelist, essayist, champion Scrabble player and loyally followed thought leader Roxane Gay has chosen a dynamic group of authors who will participate in lively, stimulating discussions on topics ranging from social and economic justice to global relations. Hear rising stars James Hannaham and Angela Flournoy explore social justice and talk of their respective new titles, Delicious Foods and The Turner House. Award-winning author Daniel José Older will moderate a panel of frank discussions about publishing for people of color and include talents such as Saeed Jones. Popular novelist Randa Jarrar moderates a panel including some of the newest female voices in publishing, such as Mari Naomi and Kristin Valdez Quade.

art|DBF Improvements

art|DBF is back for its third year with new performances, more interactive experiences and new curator Kimberly Hambrecht from Atlanta PlanIt. The Atlanta PlanIt pavilion moves to the MARTA plaza and will feature your favorite arts and culture organizations from throughout Atlanta. Watch for pop-up performances around the grounds and check out powerful, dramatic performances throughout the weekend on the main stages within the festival.

DeKalb Medical Social Media Booth

It’s better than a selfie stick! Take some fun photos and post them to Instagram or Twitter in the Social Media Booth, located on the Square. Sponsored by DeKalb Medical, the Social Media Booth will allow festival-goers to share their experience in cyberspace so that their followers can “like” it in real time.

Greg Iles and Stanley Nelson Bring Cold Cases to Life, Fact and Fiction

Best-selling author Greg Iles based his new trilogy largely on the work of weekly newspaper editor and Pulitzer Prize finalist Stanley Nelson. Nelson has fearlessly researched and written more than 200 stories about three unsolved and unpunished racially motivated murders that took place in Louisiana and Mississippi in the mid-1960s. Moderated by Hank Klibanoff and Brett Gadsden of The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University, Iles and Nelson will come together to discuss the fruits and costs of Nelson’s investigations at The Concordia Sentinel in Ferriday, Louisiana. Touching upon the Civil Rights movement, violent hate groups of the period, and progress in uncovering past injustices, these writers will examine how the racial history of the American South plays out in Fact and Fiction.

Memory Makes Us

Festival-goers will be able to write a novel with Memory Makes Us, a project launched in 2013 by if:book Australia, a company that explores new forms of digital literature. Bring your memory to the Memory Makes Us tent on the MARTA plaza, type it out onto a vintage typewriter and watch as best-selling authors integrate it into an ongoing story. Watch as a novel takes shape. Every keystroke will be displayed on video monitors and online as the work builds throughout the day.

22nd Annual Georgia Fine and Collectible Book Fair, Sponsored By Georgia Antiquarian Bookseller Association

Looking for a signed first edition of Gone With The Wind? The 22nd annual Georgia Book and Paper Fair returns to the AJC DBF. Located at the Decatur Recreation Center on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sept. 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the fair brings 25 specialist dealers in rare books and paper ephemera. Hosted by the Georgia Antiquarian Booksellers Association, this great addition to the festival will be a source for exciting “finds” for the thousands of book-browsing bibliophiles in attendance.