Daren Wang Resigns From Decatur Book Festival

Breaking from the AJC

This year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival will be the last one with founding executive director Daren Wang at the helm.

Wang, whose debut novel, “The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, launches at this year’s festival, has announced his resignation, effective at the end of year.

Sniff.  Aw, dang it.  Cue up some Dylan.

So long, Red Chuck T’s.  It’s been a kickin’ good time.  I would reminisce and bring up all of my favorite Book Fest moments, but Daren never seems to appreciate it when I do. 🙂

OK, I need to pull myself together.  Let’s stop moping around and start pre-ordering Daren’s debut novel!  Or better yet, call up Little Shop and put in your order.

Decatur Book Festival Names New Program Director, Julie Wilson

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The Decatur Book Festival released this announcement this afternoon…

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF) has named Julie Wilson as program director. Previously, Wilson served as assistant program director for AJC DBF and becomes the fourth person to have served in that role.

A North Carolina native, Wilson discovered her love of books from her mother, who was an elementary school librarian. Wilson succeeds Philip Rafshoon as program director. Tom Bell was the inaugural program director of the book festival and is an AJC DBF co-founder. Terra Elan McVoy also served as program director.

“Working with Julie over the past year, I’ve been floored by both her professional skills and by the great work she did with authors and publicists,” AJC DBF Executive Director and Co-founder Daren Wang said. “She learned the ropes under Philip and I can’t think of anyone better suited to build on his legacy. Programming the festival requires a person with a blend of practical knowledge and an innate curiosity and I can’t imagine anyone better suited than Julie.”

Wilson had come to the AJC DBF from the American Cancer Society, where she spent nearly seven years managing customer feedback and process improvement, measuring and evaluating customer experiences and developing marketing communications programs.

Continue reading “Decatur Book Festival Names New Program Director, Julie Wilson”

Decatur Book Festival: “Easily Most Successful Festival” Ever

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The AJC Decatur Book Festival sent out this release earlier today….

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF) concluded its 10thannual 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.”

Photo by DM

Decatur Book Festival Draws Record 90,000 Over Labor Day Weekend

The DBF just sent out this press release…

An estimated 90,000 book lovers poured into downtown Decatur over Labor Day weekend for the 2014 AJC Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF), the ninth installment of the largest independent book festival in the country.

More than 600 authors packed 19 different stages, families enjoyed two children’s parades, and festivalgoers were treated to yet another fantastic art|DBF arts and culture showcase. The festival kicked off on Friday night with a sold-out Keynote Address by famed literary icon Joyce Carol Oates.

AJC DBF Programming Director, Philip Rafshoon, was thrilled with the outcome of this year’s festival.

“It was another record-setting year for the Decatur Book Festival, and our hundreds of events went off without a hitch,” said Rafshoon. “From our Keynote and Kidnote addresses on Friday, until the last book was signed on Sunday night, we had larger crowds than ever before and a solid, quality lineup across the entire literary spectrum.”

AJC DBF Executive Director and co-founder, Daren Wang, said he continues to be amazed by the growing success of the festival each year.

“Every year the AJC DBF tries to outdo and redefine itself. This year our author lineup was phenomenal and we brought in new types of programming with art|DBF, the Decatur Makers Tent, and our outdoor cooking stage,” said Wang. “The audiences were larger, more diverse, and even more engaged. It was easily the best DBF so far, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Decatur Book Festival Reveals 2014 Lineup, Joyce Carol Oates to Give Keynote

The Decatur Book Festival announces…

Famed American literary icon Joyce Carol Oates will deliver the keynote address at the 2014 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF) Aug. 29 – 31.

Oates will kick off the ninth annual festival on Friday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University. She will be joined onstage by her biographer and Atlanta resident, Dr. Greg Johnson.

The event will mark the launch of her new short story collection, Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories. The new collection has been described as “insightful, disturbing, and breathtaking in its lyrical precision,” and is said to display Oates’ “magnificent ability to make visceral the terror, hurt, and uncertainty that lurks at the edges of ordinary lives.”

Best known for her fiction, Oates’ novels include Blonde, a bold reimagining of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe, and We Were the Mulvaneys, which follows the disintegration of an American family in the late 20th Century.

Since 1963, 40 of Oates’ works have been included in the New York Times annual list of notable books. Among her many honors are two O. Henry Prizes, two Bram Stoker Awards, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Critics Circle, the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the PEN Center USA Award for Lifetime Achievement, and The Poets & Writers Distinguished Lifetime Award. In 2010, reflecting the widespread esteem in which her work is held, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama.

AJC DBF Executive Director Daren Wang said he is honored to have Joyce Carol Oates as the keynote speaker for this year’s event.

“There are few authors — very, very few — that rise to Joyce Carol Oates’ level of accomplishment. She has created 40 novels, many of them good enough to base an entire career upon, and countless stories, essays, and poems. Instead of listing the major awards she has won, it is much easier to list the one or two she unjustly has not,” asserts Wang. “She does us all a great honor by coming to the Decatur Book Festival, but for me, having grown up less than 20 miles from her hometown of Millersport, NY, her keynoting the festival feels like an odd but wonderful kind of homecoming.”

Following the keynote at Emory on Friday, the AJC DBF will kick off Saturday, Aug. 30 with a children’s parade on the Decatur Square. Events and author presentations will continue in downtown Decatur throughout the weekend. A second children’s parade will start Sunday’s festivities, followed by another full day of author talks and events suited for all ages and interests.

AJC DBF Program Director Philip Rafshoon said he’s especially proud of the distinct, eclectic lineup at this year’s festival.

“Our lineup this year shows DBF’s commitment to showcasing the widest variety of authors and subjects possible. With strong support from publishers and our community, we are, once again, able to provide the region with an unbelievable array of today’s top writers and talent,” said Rafshoon. “I’m extremely proud of our diverse lineup and glad to know that there is going to be something for everyone at this year’s festival.”

Author highlights for the 2014 AJC DBF include:

Continue reading “Decatur Book Festival Reveals 2014 Lineup, Joyce Carol Oates to Give Keynote”

Decatur Book Festival Breaks Attendance Records

This press release just came in this afternoon…

More than 85,000 lovers of all things literature poured into downtown Decatur over Labor Day weekend for the 2013 AJC Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (AJC DBF), the eighth version of the largest independent book festival in the country.

More than 500 authors packed 18 stages, families enjoyed two children’s parades, and art | DBF, an arts and culture showcase featuring nearly 50 Atlanta organizations, made its much anticipated debut. Not to mention it all got started with a keynote address by civil rights icon and Georgia congressman, John Lewis, just two days after the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

AJC DBF program director, Philip Rafshoon, in his first year as PD, certainly put his stamp on the festival.

“The 2013 AJC Decatur Book Festival was an amazing success and broke all attendance records. From the moment that our Writer’s Conference kicked off on Friday, through the Keynote and Kidnote Addresses on Friday night, through hundreds of readings, signings, performances, and parties all weekend, this was a truly exceptional festival,” said Rafshoon. “Thanks to the one thousand volunteers, more than 500 authors, our phenomenal speaker managers, and the entire community for making the largest independent book festival in the country better than ever.”

AJC DBF executive director and co-founder, Daren Wang, said he continues to be amazed by what his team and the Decatur community are capable of.

“2013 was a huge leap forward for the AJC DBF. With the best lineup of authors, the biggest crowds, the most venues, and a vibrant new arts component, we bit off more than we could chew, and went ahead and chewed it anyway,” said Wang. “As usual the army of volunteers that make the AJC DBF tick did the city of Decatur proud. And I’m especially grateful to all of our sponsors this year for allowing us to dream big and then make it happen. It was the best year yet, and we’re still only just getting started.”