Decatur Book Festival

The Decatur Book Festival is Free

The Decatur Book Festival is Free

That weekend is here again: The Decatur Book Festival is upon us. Last year, my first year, I spent the whole thing hanging out around the tents and craftspeople on the square, where my wife was hawking wares, so I missed out on things like authors and readings and signings. This year we’re skipping the tent and I’m heading out to Decatur just for the authors.

Bad news first: Tickets for Billy Collins’ keynote address are long gone. Collins, former US Poet Laureate, was the writer who inspired this “Paradelle for Atlanta”, which I wrote when I first arrived in the ATL. (Looking back on it… eek.) Still, if we’re lucky, maybe we can get a seat at Agnes Scott when some of the 1,200 ticket-holders don’t show up.

Me being me, the other writers I’m most looking forward to seeing are science-fiction and fantasy storytellers. Perhaps thanks to Dragon*Con falling on the same weekend, there’s a slew of great genre authors in town for the festival. On Saturday morning, at the Old Courthouse stage around 11am, veteran Dune author Kevin J. Anderson will be spotlighting fellow genre writers Tobias Buckell, Cherie Priest, and John Scalzi. Don’t believe what the festival literature tells you, though: These aren’t up-and-coming writers as much as they’re next-gen style writers, mingling modern Internet marketing with good old-fashioned storytelling. Each of these authors already has a handful of terrific novels milling around in the world.

These authors are also avid and genuinely informative bloggers, sharing tales of the writing life and showing the scars they earned as squires. Check out their sites, peruse their blogs, and you’ll be eager to meet them by Saturday. In fact, here’s John Scalzi blogging about bloggers mentioned on the Creative Loafing blog, in an energetic loop that could be tapped to power Atlantic Station. Check out Loafing‘s list for even more author-blogs linked to the Decatur Book Festival and Dragon*Con.

It’s been a while since I last saw Spiderwick co-creator and freakishly talented illustrator, Tony DiTerlizzi, on the old game-convention circuit, but any time he moseys through town on a book tour, an old-timey carnival of oddball characters follows along. They just come on paper instead of wagons. DiTerlizzi will be in Decatur on Saturday, 5pm, at the Target Children’s Stage, with his new children’s book, Kenny and the Dragon. He puts on a good show.

What about you? Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival this weekend? (If you’re not sure yet, check out the festival schedule.) Splitting your time between Decatur and Dragon*Con? Do tell.

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