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Julie Wilson steps down as Executive Director of Decatur Book Festival

Business Decatur

Julie Wilson steps down as Executive Director of Decatur Book Festival

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Katie Strong (left) and April Weeks look at the schedule to decide where they are off to next during the Decatur Book Festival. File Photo by Jonathan Phillips


Julie Wilson has stepped down as Executive Director of the Decatur Book Festival the organization announced.

Program Director Joy Pope was promoted to interim executive director effective Jan. 1. Pope is the third executive director of the Book Festival since 2006.

DBF said Wilson is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

“As the DBF enters its 15th year, we’re lucky to have someone with Joy’s creativity and resourcefulness at the helm,” said Jim Diedrick, who previously served as president of the DBF board. “Because of her exemplary work as Program Director — which included a collaboration with PEN America, the literary and human-rights organization that helped underwrite last year’s highly successful immigration panel keynote and track — we are confident that she will provide the kind of leadership that will guarantee the continued health and growth of one of the region’s most-beloved cultural events.”

“Fortunately, outgoing director Julie Wilson helped bring a greater degree of professionalism and strategic planning to the festival and board, so Joy is building on a strong foundation,” he added.

There are also changes happening at the board level, DBF says.

“Mathwon Howard, Associate Vice President for Development Programs at Emory University, is assuming the role of president, and two new members are joining the board — both Decatur residents and fans of the festival: local attorney Henry Parkman and Jeff Steely, Dean of Libraries at Georgia State University,” the press release from DBF says.

Pope holds a dual-genre MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and previously earned a Master’s degree in the Liberal Arts from St. John’s College. She holds a BA in English from the University of Oregon and has been a Decatur resident since 2005.

Wilson sent an email to DBF committees on Dec. 31 announcing her departure.

“My five years with the festival have been the fulfillment of a dream I didn’t know I had… working for a local event with books and reading,” Wilson said in the email.

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