Henry Parkman, Board Member
Henry Parkman is an attorney working at the Atlanta office of Eversheds Sutherland. A graduate of Samford University and the University of Georgia School of Law, Henry’s law practice focuses on the resolution of complex construction industry disputes, property rights claims, and other land-use controversies, including environmental issues.
Henry has resided in the City of Decatur since 1986. He previously served on the Boards of The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and The Wren’s Nest (a/k/a Joel Chandler Harris Association).
Tara Coyt, Board Member
Tara Coyt is an award-winning author, entrepreneur, and marketing strategist who is also a playwright, photographer, painter, speaker. Tara’s book Real Talk About LGBTQIAP received the 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award and was a finalist for the 2020 Georgia Author of the Year. She was also awarded a grant from Alternative Roots and The Andrew Mellon Foundation to produce a film inspired by the book. Prior to focusing on the creative arts Tara developed and managed marketing campaigns for Disney, General Mills, HBO, McDonalds, NBCUniversal, Porsche, TCI, as well as small businesses, and non-profit organizations. She is a Walter Kaitz Foundation Fellow, and recipient of the Atlanta Business League Super Tuesday Outstanding Business Achievement and Atlanta Daily World Women of Excellence awards.
Non-profit board appointments include Atlanta Writers Club, Atlanta-Rio Sister Cities Foundation, Atlanta Technical College Foundation, and Decatur Book Festival. Tara is a member of the Atlanta Film Festival Screening Committee, Atlanta Photography Group, PEN America, and Working Title Playwrights. She is a GLAAD Media Institute alumnus, and graduate of the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Volunteer Improvement Program. Other non-profit involvement includes Black Journalists Association, Black MBA Association, Georgia Equality, National Association of Minorities in Communications, and The Public Square.
Tara earned a BS, Natural Sciences, Xavier University (Ohio) and an MBA, Marketing, The Ohio State University. She is originally from Cleveland, OH and currently resides in Atlanta.
FeFe Handy, Board Member
Page Turners Make Great Learners has earned the respect of educators, generated support from national and local companies and increased demand for its services. She has been a frequent guest on local news station CBS46 where the organization is a community partner of CBS46 Books to Kids.
FeFe Handy’s primary goal is to reach students who are disinterested in reading by introducing and providing culturally diverse books that give voice, empower and uplift the human spirit. It is equally important to her to help students connect the skill of reading to the wider world by providing access to professionals who share the importance of reading in their personal and professional lives.
FeFe Handy is the mother of three beautiful children.
Mike Miller, Festival Manager
After graduating with a degree in general biology in 1972, Michael determined that working trade shows was both more lucrative and more gratifying than conducting tests on lab animals. Leaving the lab, he turned his talents to the trade show industry and accumulated more than 40 years of experience managing events on 5 different continents.
Michael gained great creative problem-solving skills and insight into the human psyche in the late 70s. During which he split his time between working for a traveling circus and as an IATSE member (stagehand) in Orlando, Florida and the trade show industry.
Mike moved to Decatur from Florida in 1983 and started working with the Decatur Book Festival in 2008.
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.
Rosemary M. Magee, Executive Director
Rosemary M. Magee is currently the Executive Director of the 2021 Decatur Book Festival, the director of its Strategic Directions committee, and a former member of the Board.
She 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, Rosemary 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, Rosemary received the Thomas Jefferson Award, one of the University’s highest honors. She 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.
Christian Sager, Marketing & Social Media Manager
Christian Sager is a storyteller living in Portland, Oregon who has spent 16+ years managing communication and creative content for social media, print publishing, podcasting and higher education. Independently, he’s crowd funded and published several graphic novels, as well as a weekly podcast about media and popular culture. When he’s not telling stories, he tries to be a friend to both animals and libraries.
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.
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.
Adam Rosenkoetter, Board Member
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.
Jeff Steely, Board Member
Jeff Steely is Dean of Libraries at Georgia State University. Prior to coming to Georgia State, Mr. Steely served as Associate Dean and Director of Central Libraries at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Earlier positions at Baylor included Assistant Dean, Director of Central Libraries, Assistant Director for Client Services, and Outreach Services Librarian. Jeff began his professional career as the serials librarian for the Library of the U.S. Courts in Chicago, IL.
Dean Steely is a graduate of Bethel College (KS) and holds an MLIS from the University of Texas at Austin. He has participated in the Harvard/ACRL Leadership Institute and was a 2014 CLIR/EDUCAUSE Leading Change Institute fellow. Mr. Steely is active in numerous regional and national organizations, and served as the 2015-2016 president of the Library Leadership and Management Association.
Kelly Caudle, Board Member
Kelly Caudle has been a vice president at Georgia Humanities since 2015, and oversees strategy, programs, and communications for the statewide nonprofit organization.
Previously, as project director and managing editor for more than a decade, she helped to launch the digital New Georgia Encyclopedia, a first-of-its-kind undertaking to capture and share the diverse stories of the state through history, literature, folklife, the arts, and more. She began her career at the University of Georgia Press, and after ten years in scholarly book publishing, moved on to a small, award-winning literary magazine, The Oxford American, and then to Cooking Light, the largest food magazine in the country.
Elisa Iannilli, Operations Director
Elisa Iannilli was born in Taranto, Italy, but she spent many years in Milledgeville, GA, where she earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Georgia College & State University. She moved to Decatur in 2015 to become General Manager at Decatur CoWorks. She helped grow the membership through increased member relations and community involvement, including representing Decatur CoWorks at multiple festivals. She was first introduced to the Decatur Book Festival when founder Daren Wang asked for Decatur CoWorks to house the Decatur Writers Studio classes and workshops. Elisa is active in the business community and currently holds the position of Membership Chair with the Decatur Business Association Board. She was co-chair for the 2019 Decatur Beach Party, the DBA’s annual fundraiser. Elisa is excited to now be a part of the DBF. Her favorite genre is young adult fiction and she’s always welcome to suggestions.
Joy Pope, Interim Executive Director
Joy is a native of Powder Springs. She holds a dual-genre MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She previously earned a Master’s degree in the Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, famous for its Great Books curriculum, and she has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining the festival, she was the Journalism Educator at the Andrew P. Stewart Center’s after-school studio program that serves the children of Atlanta’s Pittsburgh neighborhood. She has lived in Decatur with her husband and two daughters since 2006.
Pearl McHaney, Board Member
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.