Looking for something different to do this Labor Day weekend? If you live within driving distance of Atlanta, consider the AJC Decatur Book Festival, August 30th-September 1st. Now in its eighth year, the festival is the largest independent book festival in the US and the fifth largest overall. It features signings, author readings, panel discussions, an interactive children’s area, live music, parades, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, and more, with over 300 best-selling authors.
This year’s Friday night keynote address will be given by Congressman John Lewis, the sole surviving speaker from the March on Washington. Lewis has written, of all things, a graphic novel entitled The March, celebrating the 50th anniversary of that cornerstone event. His speech will take place at the Schwartz Center at nearby Emory University. The event is free, but ticketed.
On a personal note, I grew up in Decatur. Back in my childhood, Decatur was a quiet bedroom community for Atlanta (six miles to the west) with good schools, sidewalks, parks, and a lovely old courthouse guarded by Civil War cannon. I don’t remember there being any fancy restaurants, in fact, no restaurants at all. My, how things have changed. The old courthouse square is surrounded by an international array of good places to eat, and access to Decatur is easy from all over town via MARTA, Atlanta’s rapid rail, with a station near the courthouse square.
(Can’t get enough book festivals? The 22nd MJCCA Book Festival takes place November 2nd-17th.)