2017 Writers’ Festival Events

We are very excited about this year’s distinguished guests, and we hope that you join us for one or more of the public events listed below.
Please note that each of these events are free and open to the public, with no ticket required.

Reading by Agnes Scott Student Finalists in the Writers’ Festival Contest
Tuesday, April 4, 5 p.m.
Luchsinger Lounge, Alston Campus Center

Q&A With Claudia Rankine, Patrick Phillips, and Kayla Miller `11
Thursday, April 6, 1 p.m.
Luchsinger Lounge, Alston Campus Center

Reading by Patrick Phillips
Reception and book signing to follow
Thursday, April 6, 4 p.m.
Winter Theater, Dana Fine Arts

Reading by Claudia Rankine 
Reception and book signing to follow
Thursday, April 6, 8 p.m.
Winter Theater, Dana Fine Arts

Reading by Kayla Miller ’11
Reception and book signing to follow
Friday, April 7, 2 p.m.
Winter Theater, Dana Fine Arts



Letters About Literature at the Decatur Library

Letters About Literature is a annual nation-wide competition that asks “students in grades 4-12 … to write a letter to the author — living or dead — whose work has had the most impact on their lives or influenced their view of the world.” Tonight, the Decatur Library will be hosting an awards ceremony for Georgia participants at 2 PM in the Decatur Library Auditorium. They’ll read from their work, and there’ll be a surprise local author making an appearance. Check out some of last year’s winners!

Sheri Joseph at the Decatur Library

Sheri Joseph, a creative writing professor at Georgia State, will be hosting a launch party for her new novel, Where You Can Find Me, tonight at 7:15 PM at the Decatur Library Auditorium. The event is totally free! Here’s the book’s summary, via Amazon:

A searing exploration of a family’s struggle to heal in the wake of unthinkable tragedy

A week after his eleventh birthday, Caleb Vincent vanishes with hardly a trace. After a three-year search, he is found living a seemingly normal life under a new name with a man he calls his father.

While outwardly stunned with joy at his safe recovery, Caleb’s parents and sister are privately scrambling to gather together the pieces of a shattered family. To escape the relentless media attention surrounding her son’s return, Caleb’s mother, Marlene, decides to flee the country and seek refuge in Costa Rica with Caleb and his younger sister, against her estranged husband’s wishes. There Marlene forms a makeshift household with her husband’s expat mother and his charming, aimless older brother, all residing in a broken-down hotel perched at the blustery apex of the continental divide. In the clouds of their new home, the mystery of Caleb’s time gone unfolds while new dangers threaten to pull him back toward his former life.

Where You Can Find Me, a darkly incandescent novel that progresses with page-turning suspense, is sure to establish award-winning author Sheri Joseph as a household name.

Creative Loafing recently named Joseph one of twenty people to watch in 2013, so come out and support a local author!

Jamie Quatro at the Decatur Library

Jamie Quatro will be reading from her debut collection of short stories, I Want To Show You More, at 7:15 PM tonight at the Decatur Library Auditorium. This is a great opportunity to hear from and support a new Georgia author! Here’s the book’s summary, via Amazon:

“A brilliant new voice in American fiction has arrived. Bright, sharp, startling, utterly distinctive, passionate, and secretive, Quatro’s stories are missives from deep within the landscape of American womanhood. . . . She has earned a place alongside Amy Hempel, Lydia Davis, and Alice Munro.”—David Means

“Fasten your seat belt: Jamie Quatro is a writer of great talent who knows how to take a dark turn without ever tapping the brakes and then bring you back into daylight with breathtaking precision. These amazing stories explore the human boundaries between the physical world and the spiritual—lust, betrayal, and loss in perfect balance with love, redemption, and grace.”—Jill McCorkle

Sharp-edged and fearless, mixing white-hot yearning with daring humor, Jamie Quatro’s debut collection is a beautiful and disquieting portrait of infidelity, faith, and family.

The hypnotically intimate, urgent stories in I Want to Show You More are about lives stretched between spirituality and sexuality in the New American South. In narrative modes ranging from the traditional to the fabulist, these stories are interconnected explorations of God, illicit sex, raising children—and running. Jamie Quatro’s stories confront us with dark theological complexities, fractured marriages, and mercurial temptations: a wife comes home with her husband to find her lover’s corpse in their bed; a teenager attends a Bible Camp where he seduces a young cancer survivor with hopes of curing his own rare condition; marathon runners on a Civil War battlefield must carry phallic statues and are punished if they choose to unload their burdens; a girl’s embarrassment over attending a pool party with her quadriplegic mother turns to fierce devotion under the pitying gaze of other guests; and a husband asks his wife to show him how she would make love to another man.

I Want to Show You More unleashes Quatro’s exhilarating talent for exposing the quiet terrors of modern life with stunning and subversive energy.

Check out The New York Times’ review of the collection here.


Ayana Mathis at the Decatur Library

Ayana Mathis will be reading from her debut novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattietonight at the Decatur Library Auditorium (bottom-most level!) at 7:15 PM. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is the first selection by Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The event is completely free! Here’s the novel’s summary, via Amazon:

The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection

The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family.


In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented.  Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.  She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last—glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.


Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.

Tara Conklin at Eagle Eye Bookshop

Tara Conklin will be signing copies of her new book, The House Girl, at Eagle Eye Bookshop (drive up Clairemont, it’s on the left once you see the Publix on your right) tonight at 7 PM. The event is free. Here’s the novel’s summary, via Amazon:

Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, whose lives unexpectedly intertwine . . .

2004: Lina Sparrow is an ambitious young lawyer working on a historic class-action lawsuit seeking reparations for the descendants of American slaves.

1852: Josephine is a seventeen-year-old house slave who tends to the mistress of a Virginia tobacco farm—an aspiring artist named Lu Anne Bell.

It is through her father, renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers a controversy rocking the art world: art historians now suspect that the revered paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves who worked her Virginia tobacco farm, were actually the work of her house slave, Josephine.

A descendant of Josephine’s would be the per-fect face for the lawsuit—if Lina can find one. But nothing is known about Josephine’s fate following Lu Anne Bell’s death in 1852. In piecing together Josephine’s story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother’s mysterious death twenty years before.

Alternating between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing tale of art and history, love and secrets explores what it means to repair a wrong, and asks whether truth can be more important than justice.

Maureen Johnson at Little Shop of Stories

Little Shop of Stories will be hosting young adult author Maureen Johnson today at 2 PM to celebrate the release of her new novel, The Madness Underneath. The book is the second in her Shades of London series, which started with last year’s In the Name of the Star. Here’s the summary, via Amazon:

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Brandon Sanderson at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center

Author Brandon Sanderson will be signing copies of The Memory of Light, the final book in The Wheel of Time series, at the Norcross Cultural Arts and Community Center tonight at 7:15 PM. Accompanying Sanderson will be series editor Harriet McDougal. Limited edition leatherbound copies of the book will be available. It’s only a twenty-minute drive (here are some directions!) and it’s free.