Everyone at Eddie’s Attic last night seemed to agree that a 5pm party at Decatur’s most famous music venue was a much better way to launch this year’s Decatur Book Festival than the 8:30am release last year. I must wholeheartedly agree.
So, with a house packed with authors, journalists, DBF and Lenz staff (and bloggers), Decatur Book Festival executive director Daren Wang took to the stage to welcome everyone and shared a few interesting tidbits with his well fed audience, which I will now share with you.
- This year the DBF – not to be confused with the DBA or DFB (h/t to Catherine for that last one) – is partnering with Mingei World Arts to reuse/recycle last year’s banners as this year’s stylish tote bags. They will be auctioned off at this year’s festival.
- While we’re always hearing that DBF is the largest INDEPENDENT book festival in the country, I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who sometimes wonders, “well, how many independent book festivals are there?” and what exactly is a “dependent book festival and how many of those are bigger than Decatur?” The answer is that DBF is now the 4th largest book festival in the country. Period. A pretty amazing feat for a town that no one’s heard of.
- I took a couple pics, but this is by far the best image of this year’s poster designed by Scott Sanders. (The Brick Store Boys are going to have some serious clean up on their hands)
Tom Bell then took the stage to announce this year’s line up, which includes 4 Pulitzer winners (Douglas Blackmon, Rick Bragg, Robert Olen Butler and Natasha Trethewey) and many more great authors.
This year’s keynote will been given by Sir Harold Evans, who served as editor of the Sunday Times from 1967 to 1981. As noted by Bell, with all the questions floating around about the future of publishing and newspapers that Sir Harold would be the perfect keynote. Incidently there will be 4 other talks during the festival about the future of print media, including a talk by folks from the Christain Science Monitor, which recently went whole-hog online.
As you can imagine, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A ramdom smattering of other authors attending this year’s event include, Barbara Brown Taylor, Lee Child, Alan Deutshman, Diana Gabaldon, Edward Hirsch and Kathy Reichs and Warren St. John (the full list can be found on the DBF’s website). Notably absent from the this year’s list was Neil Gaimon. I guess he wasn’t all that impressed with our DEMANDS that he attend.
But no matter, DBF makes up for it with its most creative list of events ever including…
- a Centential Celebration of Eudora Welty’s birthday featuring Mary Chapin Carpenter, Caroline Herring, Kate Campbell and Claire Holley.
- a real live wrestling match between writer Michael Muhammad Knight and local wrestler “Abdullah the Butcher”
- Emory science grad students presenting their dissertations in using the performance techniques of slam poetry (in 3 minutes)
- an expanded “Escape” stage for teens
Now that our interest is peaked, the hardest part will be having to wait until Labor Day weekend (Sept 4th-6th) to watch it all unfold. And by then I’m sure to have confused all these events in my head. So please correct me when I inevitably start saying that I can’t wait to see Abdullah the Butcher wrestle Mary Chapin Carpenter.