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Decatur Book Festival lineup announced, featuring Stacey Abrams and Sonia Sotomayor


Decatur Book Festival lineup announced, featuring Stacey Abrams and Sonia Sotomayor

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Zendaya Richards flips through the pictures of "The Adventures of Amelia, the Crazy Jumping Hedgehog" during the Decatur Book Festival. File Photo: Jonathan Phillips


The annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival (DBF) will return Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 30 – Sep. 1, in Decatur.

Presented by Emory University, this year’s lineup will feature more than 250 authors, poets and other speakers.

Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Georgia House Democratic Leader, will discuss her New York Times bestselling book, “Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change.”

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Other notable authors include New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl, acclaimed author Scott Westerfield and Chelsea Rathburn, Georgia’s newly appointed Poet Laureate.

In partnership with PEN America, a nonprofit organization that promotes free expression and human rights, the DBF will dedicate its keynote and an entire track of author programs to the topic of immigration.

Richard Blanco, the fifth person in U.S. history selected to write and deliver an inaugural poem, will be joined by Rigoberto González, author of 17 books, and Gabriela Ventura Baeza, executive editor of Arte Publico Press. The panel will discuss Latinx writing, immigration and free expression.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the AJC Decatur Book Festival this year to produce important and timely conversations around the topic of immigration,” Katie Zanecchia, national outreach program director at PEN America, said. “As an organization working at the intersection of human rights and literature, PEN America believes in the transformative power of the written word and proudly joins DBF in celebrating these authors who are shining a spotlight on an urgent human rights issue of our time.”

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The DBF-PEN America keynote panel discussion will take place on Friday, Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. at Emory’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Mariela Romero, an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist from Univision Atlanta, will moderate the discussion.

Additionally, immigration track sessions will happen on Saturday and Sunday of the festival. Free tickets to the keynote panel discussion will be distributed at a later date.

That same day, the Decatur Recreation Center will host the DBF Kidnote program – its own version of a graphic novel convention.

The program will feature activity stations where kids can draw and storyboard their own graphic novels. Details on free Kidnote tickets will be available at a later date.

The DBF children’s programming will culminate in a special event on Sunday, Sep. 1, with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at Agnes Scott College’s Gaines Chapel at Presser Hall.

Justice Sotomayor will share her new children’s picture book, “Just Ask,” a collaboration with award-winning illustrator and artist Rafael López.

There is no cost to attend the book event. Tickets are required and will be available at a later date. Those wishing to enter the book signing line after the event must have a copy of “Just Ask.”

For adults, the DBF will also host Philippa Gregory, the New York Times bestselling author of “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Last Tudor,” discussing her newest book, “Tidelands.” The ticketed event will include the cost of the book signed by Gregory, and it will conclude the festival at First Baptist Decatur.

To find more details on the DBF schedule and lineup, visit the DBF website here.

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