We’ve been going to the Decatur Book Festival for probably 6 years, skipping only one year when it held was very close to my EDD.
So glad we could make it this year! Once again, it lived up to its hype – great programs and activities for the entire family, drawing more and more people every year. And the author line-up is always A-LIST! This year, the line-up was off the charts! As we don’t live close by, we wanted to put up at one of the hotels nearby, but they were ALL fully booked!
Here are some of the authors I got to meet (besides Angie Thomas and Becky Albertalli featured in the picture) – Tayari Jones the author of American Marriage; Rebecca Makkai – The Great Believers; Nic Stone – Dear Martin; Beatriz Williams – The Summer Wives; Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White – The Glass Ocean; Lucy Tan – What We Were Promised, Akil Kumarasamy – Half Gods, and Ijeoma Oluo – So You Want To Talk About Race.
My favorites were definitely the young authors – Angie Thomas, Nic Stone and Becky Albertalli! Despite a long and eventful day, THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! They were the friendliest, warmest and most accomodating authors I’ve ever met. Oh, and I was the last in the book-signing line. I was so close to not being able to make it! First because I was at another event. Second, I got lost. Third, being preggars while lugging two heavy totes filled with books to be signed, and having to run one end to another, didn’t help.
Anyway, here are some of the fun facts or just a little something I’ve learned about the authors I met and/or their books!
The book-signing line for the Truth or Dare event, also the last event of the day, (which was of course, not surprisingly, full house) was TREMENDOUSLY LONG. But Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin, looked like she just started her day and was ever so friendly! So I asked her what keeps her going?
“We give our all to the events, then when we get home, we just collapse!”
Thank you for your love, passion and enthusiasm, Nic! Keep writing! Looking forward to your new book, Odd One Out (October 19)!
I saw/met Becky Albertalli thrice. Once, by fate. I bumped into her while she was with her two boys checking out the book fest, and I turned into a crazy fan who was trying hard not to show it LOL I hope I didn’t scare her 😀
The reason I had to meet her the second time was because I forgot to bring ‘Simon’ the first time, which I wanted to get signed badly. So only ‘Leah’ was signed. The second time, I was last in line, waiting for her, as patiently as I could, to sign THE book. And not only did she sign it, SHE DOODLED SIMON for me! I was ecstatic! And I was the only one in line whom she drew it for, rewarding me for my patience 😉 (Victory dance here) Thank you, Becky! Looking forward to reading your new book, What If It’s Us (October 9)!
Ijeoma Oluo blew my mind with her book ‘So You Want to Talk About Race’, and so did her interview. One of the things she said, that I happened to have it written down was – “When WP joins in the conversation (about racism), it is just to let you know they aren’t racist, and that’s two different conversation altogether.”
She also shared she didn’t want to write this book at all, even after being asked by her editor. But I’m so glad she caved in and wrote! If you haven’t read her book, please add it to your must-read, NOW!
These gorgeous, talented ladies (from left Lauren Willig, Karen White and Beatriz Williams, who also wrote The Summer Wives, which I LOVED) are the authors of ‘The Glass Ocean’. (Review out soon!).
Fun fact: One of them joked and said, they thought of naming the book ’50 Shades of Plaid’! LOL
Rebecca Makkai is a cisgender heterosexual woman. How was she able to write the voices of the gay men portrayed in her story so convincingly?
“Intense research, active listening and empathy.”
Fun fact (if you haven’t read the book): Her book title is taken from an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote that serves as one of the novel’s epigraphs, which also centers around the meaning of her book – The Great Believers, the hopefuls.
Thanks for bringing the awareness of AIDS back to the forefront Rebecca!
Tayari Jones‘s interview session was one of the best I’ve attended. She’s intelligent, funny, and definitely has a great sense of style (Note her red shoes!) Oooh..She’s got a great voice too! 🙂 And if you haven’t known, her book is going to be ADAPTED INTO A MOVIE, and produced, none other by THE Miss Oprah Winfrey!
Fun fact: Who would Tayari wish to be in the cast? She said: Angela Bassett as Celestial’s mother, Eddie Murphy as Roy’s cellmate and a small role for herself, “I just want two sentences!”
Miss Oprah Winfrey, can you make Tayari’s wishes come true, PLEEEEASE? And I love Angela Bassett! She’s got BEAUTY & BRAINS!
Lucy Tan is not only a talented author, but a great speaker too. She speaks with such poise, she grabs your attention right away.
Fun fact: I mentioned to her that my favorite character in her book was Little Cao, the driver, to which she answered, “That character is based on our family driver.” Isn’t it amazing that when a character is written based on someone you know, they become more convincing in a story? And so was Sunny, the ah yi.
Akil Kumarasamy is brilliant author. I was impressed by her writing style in Half Gods and told her so.
Fun fact: Her book, Half Gods, was initially intended to be a play. However, she took her lecturer’s advise and turn it into a novel instead. And I’m glad she did! 🙂
You see that smile on Angie Thomas’s face? That’s a smile that could brighten anyone’s day, especially a pregnant mother who just ran from one corner to another (please refer to the beginning of the post to read what happened LOL)
Fun fact (gotten from one of the volunteers): Angie shared this at the event: One of her fans brought her the THUG’s movie poster and Dr. Marten shoes to sign on, and that was the first time Angie has ever set eyes the poster AND the Dr. Marten shoes!!! Reason? Because all rights have been sold to the movie-makers! So, there you go. But I really think she should have a say in the movie merchandise as well. I mean it’s a movie based ON HER BOOK! It’s HER BABY! Don’t you think so?
Anyway, that was my weekend spent at the DBF! I was glad my husband made me go as I was pretty reluctant at first, feeling all the woes of final trimester pregnancy. And the summer heat didn’t help either! It was a tiring one for sure, rushing from one event to another (so happened the events of the authors whose books I’ve read were scheduled literally back to back), lugging my heavy totes filled with books to be signed. (I had two with me, one on each shoulder), but it was all worth it! We had tonnes of fun!
So, a BIG THANK YOU to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers of the Decatur Book Fest. You all did it once again! See y’all again, next year!