I'm at the AJC Decatur Book Festival this weekend and it's been fun. I'm actually here working as a publicist, but did get to visit quite a few vendor booths and just walk around and get a feel for the events.
Today I went to Hank Klibanoff's presentation about his book, The Race Beat, on the press and the coverage of the Civil Rights Movement. I have always been very interested in movement history and my undergraduate years stoked that interest. One of my professors, Claude Sitton, is one of the most prolific white reporters from that time and Hank mentioned him today. So that was cool to hear.
I'm excited to read Hank's book. It's been awhile since I've done serious reading about the movement.
Yesterday I went to Tina McElroy Ansa's reading - she's the reason I'm at the festival, actually - and that was great fun. Lots of laughter and excitement for her new work, Taking After Mudear.
I haven't been to downtown Decatur in a long time. It is such a cute downtown and filled with shops - shops that I would actually spend money in. So cute that I want to move here. It's also perfect for the festival - no shortage of sweet restaurants to sit in and talk about books.
Some other authors I'm interested in are here, including L.A. Banks, but I haven't made it to their events. I was really low-key on my festival planning and decided to just chill a bit this weekend. Other folks that I've seen here are Dr. Beverly Tatum from Spelman College and Valerie Boyd, author Wrapped in Rainbows.
I've enjoyed browsing at all the book tents, though I am always, perhaps too much so, analyzing whose books are placed or not placed and how the staff at the tents are selling books. At one tent, for a publisher, I don't remember being greeted, which is especially odd because it's such a small space. But I browsed anyway, as it was really a press with a lot of authors or titles that seemed to speak to me. Then I heard the staff member telling someone else that they did have a lot of Caribbean, African American and African titles, authors and/or subjects in their list and that was a focus for them.
On the one hand, I'm glad he didn't assume that, because I'm Black that I would just have to know that. But on the other hand (a more than slightly cynical hand) I wondered why he didn't share that with me. Did I just not look like a book buyers?
So I didn't buy anything there, though I was definitely looking at two titles and trying to decide between them.
Oh well, I bought books elsewhere and am moving on.
I'd love to hear reports from other book festivals - from authors or readers - send yours if you'd like to see it posted.