Bookworms rejoice at the Decatur Book Festival


Luis Ponce

Best selling authors Victoria Schwab and Katherine Arden presented a panel for Horror middle-grade novels at this year’s Decatur Book Festival. The festival’s thirteenth consecutive year hosted over 300 local and national bestselling authors. Book lovers spent the whole weekend celebrating all things literature in the city on the outskirts of Atlanta. “I had a great time and loved the environment, I met a lot of great people and found some amazing books as well,” NC senior Blake Ritter said.

Luis Ponce, Staff

Every year on Labor Day weekend, Decatur hosts the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. It celebrates and encourages all types of literature and helps readers connect with their favorite authors. This year’s festival marked the thirteenth one in the city, maintaining it as one of their staples. The man responsible for its creation back in 2005, Darren Wang, wanted to find a way to celebrate both written and spoken word. After a year of planning and collaborating, the festival officially opened to the public in 2006, gathering a large attendance

“I really love the Decatur Book Festival because reading is fun, and I like getting to see authors. I like that the event is free because a lot of times you have to pay to see authors which gets expensive when you read a lot of books. It was fun getting to meet my favorite authors and finding new and interesting books. It’s also really nice to see a lot of people who also love to read so it feels like you’re a part of a huge community,” Magnet senior Maddie Sullivan said.

Throughout the weekend, the streets of Decatur fill up with tents from local businesses, non-profit organizations, independent bookstores, and authors. They also offer a variety of events within the festival to entertain attendees of all ages, cultures, and interests. Authors at the festival speak at panels, where they give book talks, sign books, and meet with their fans. The diverse list of over 300 presenters and authors accommodates an audience of all ages and reading preferences. 

The Young Adult stage attracts a great portion of the attendees. This year, the stage held authors Julie Buxbaum, Mackenzi Lee,  Ibi Zoboi, Arvin Ahmadi, and Georgia natives Nic Stone and Julian Winters. The area also drew attention to the panel, Yes She Can” which brought four of the past ten Obama administration White House workers who contributed to a bestselling book of the same name. 

To prep for next year, the team behind the festival sends requests to authors who will release a book around the same time as the festival to keep it up to date. Loyal attendees anxiously wait every year for their favorite author’s announcements. The authors most likely to appear in 2020 include Nic Stone, Julian Winters, and Becky Albertalli, all of whom will promote their upcoming novels.

The Decatur Book Festival puts its home city on the literary map, providing support and encouragement to Georgian writers trying to break into the field as well as a favorable place to expose people to new forms of literature.