History of the AJC Decatur Book Festival
In February 2005, while driving back from the South Carolina Book Festival with a friend, Daren Wang wondered aloud: Why could Columbia sustain a successful festival while metropolitan Atlanta could not?
Atlanta is well known for its many festivals: Dogwood, Music Midtown, The Inman Park Neighborhood Festival, and Virginia Highland Summer fest, just to name a few. These events shape the summer landscape of Atlanta. But despite several earlier attempts, there still was no free festival celebrating the written word.
Over the course of that drive from Columbia, Wang hatched a plan to establish a book festival modeled after the overwhelmingly successful Decatur Arts Festival. Decatur, a small town five miles east of Atlanta, is one of the most pedestrian-friendly towns in Georgia, with a strong emphasis on smart growth and independent restaurants and stores. With a MARTA station in the city center, Agnes Scott College forming its Southern border, and Emory University just two miles away, it seemed to be the perfect place for a big book party.
Soon, Wang had enlisted Tom Bell––who had worked with him on both his literary magazine, Verb, and his syndicated public radio series, The Spoken Word––to concoct a new hare-brained scheme, The Decatur Book Festival.
For more information go to www.decaturbookfestival.com