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Decatur Book Festival on Oct. 1 features Emory-affiliated authors
Crowd at Emory tent

The Emory tent returns to the Decatur Book Festival presented by Emory University on Saturday, Oct. 1, in downtown Decatur. Emory Libraries will be joined by the Carlos Museum, Emory Arts, the Schwartz Center and the Candler Foundry.

— Emory Photo/Video

Updated Sept. 29, 2022

Friday’s keynote event has been canceled due to COVID-19. Festival organizers are hoping to reschedule the event.

Tents may be moved inside on Saturday if inclement weather occurs. Please check the Decatur Book Festival website before attending, due to predictions of inclement weather.

The Decatur Book Festival presented by Emory University returns for a one-day event in downtown Decatur on Saturday, Oct. 1, with more than triple the number of in-person author sessions — 16 this year — as there were last year.

Speaker sessions with authors will take place in person at First Baptist Church of Decatur (308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur). Emory-affiliated authors are among those who will read from their works and share their experiences as writers. Children’s and young adult (YA) author sessions have also been added.

Valeda Dent, Emory University vice provost of libraries and museum, will deliver welcome remarks at the festival launch on Friday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. She also will introduce the evening’s keynote speaker, Pete Souza, White House photographer during the Obama presidencies, whose latest book, “The West Wing and Beyond: What I Saw Inside the Presidency,” will be released in late September. The Friday evening keynote is sold out but you can join a waiting list.

On Saturday, the Emory tent will return, featuring the Emory Libraries, the Carlos Museum, Emory Arts, the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts and Candler Foundry (an initiative from Candler School of Theology that offers short courses for churches and communities). Patrons can stop in from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Artist Julie Newton, an assistant conservator with the Emory Libraries preservation department, will manage an all-ages interactive art activity in the Children’s Stage area on Saturday.

“We are pleased to present an even bigger festival than last year that includes children’s and YA authors, and I’m proud of our Emory-affiliated author lineup that features an Emory faculty member, an emeritus faculty member, an alumna and a current student,” says Leslie Wingate, director of campus and community relations for Emory Libraries and vice president of the Decatur Book Festival board of directors. “I hope we'll see many of our Emory and Decatur Book Festival friends on Oct. 1 and that they'll stop to visit us at the Emory tent.”

Saturday sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and run throughout the day. The festival asks that guests arrive early to check in and secure their seats before events begin. COVID-19 precautions dictate that a mask must be worn at all times when indoors and that adult guests be fully vaccinated (vaccination cards will be checked at the welcome table).

Emory author presentations

Here’s a listing of events featuring Emory-affiliated authors; check the Decatur Book Festival schedule for a complete listing of all author sessions. Some of the events may be livestreamed and/or recorded; check the schedule for more details and registration links.


Graphic Novels are SUPER!

12 – 12:30 p.m.

Children’s Stage at First Baptist Church of Decatur


Emory alumna Roshani Chokshi (“Aru Shah and the End of Time”), John Patrick Green (“InvestiGators: Heist and Seek”) and Justin A. Reynolds (“Miles Morales: Stranger Tides”) will talk about their fast-paced, fun and fearless graphic novels with moderator Preeti Chhibber (“Spiderman’s Social Dilemma”).


I Have a Fiction Addiction

1 – 2 p.m.

Carreker Hall at First Baptist Church of Decatur


Fiction lovers will enjoy this discussion with Tiphanie Yanique, Emory associate professor of English and creative writing, and authors Jackson Pearce and Ann Hite. Yanique’s book “Monster in the Middle” explores desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation. Pearce brings her trademark humor and emotion to a compelling and romantic story “Six Ways to Write a Love Letter.” And Hite revisits Black Mountain as new characters experience ghostly encounters in “Haints on Black Mountain: A Haunted Short Story Collection.”


Want to Know a Secret? A YA Panel

3 – 3:45 p.m.

Children’s Stage at First Baptist Church of Decatur


Emory emeritus faculty member Jim Grimsley (“The Dove in the Belly”), Chloe Gong (“Foul Lady Fortune”) and E. Lockhart (“Family of Liars”) talk about riveting books that keep you reading to the end. Emory alumna Rosemary M. Magee, retired director of the Rose Library and the author of “Family Impromptu,” will moderate this panel.


Stand Up, Speak Out! A YA Panel

4:15 – 5 p.m.


Children’s Stage at First Baptist Church of Decatur

Emory University senior and author Laila Sabreen (“You Truly Assumed”) joins authors Marie Marquardt (an Emory visiting scholar with Candler School of Theology) and Mayra Cuevas (“Does My Body Offend You?”) to discuss their intersectional novels about the power and challenges of speaking out.


Visit the Decatur Book Festival website throughout September for updated information.

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