The Decatur Book Festival is held over a weekend every September in downtown Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta, and brings in the country’s best authors for a celebration of the written word. The ten-year-old free event has lots to offer families and bibliophiles, including panels and lectures from guest authors, book signings, and stalls of books and book lover’s gear for sale. There’s also a play area for the kids and storytelling sessions, all set around the historic square.
Tips for Attending the Decatur Book Festival
1. Scout out the authors. There’s always at least one big name for the festival, including Joyce Carol Oates, Pat Conroy, Mary Kay Andrews, and Carmen Agra Deedy. The festival is a popular time to promote new books, so you can hear authors read selections from what’s coming out soon and talking about their inspiration for your favorite novel. Look up the schedule before you go to make sure you don’t miss anything.
2. Take MARTA whenever possible. Decatur doesn’t have plentiful parking apart from one deck and street spots, so take public transportation if you can. The Decatur MARTA station is right along the main square, where all of the action takes place.
3. Buy local. Shopping online may save you money, but this unique festival is the best chance to support your local bookstores, like Decatur’s Little Shop of Stories and the other stores with stalls. You may pay a little more for it, but the small businesses will thank you. Most stalls will take both cash and cards, but there is an ATM next to Starbucks.
4. Find your niche. No matter what genre of books you enjoy reading, whether it be science fiction, Civil War history or young adult, you can find something at the Decatur Book Festival. The event is popular with self-published authors and smaller publishing houses, so it’s not uncommon to find selections you’ve never heard of.
5. Eat while you’re there. While there are also stalls selling food, it’s also a good chance to try out one of the area’s amazing restaurants. Many will even offer discounts or specials for book fair attendees. Farm Burger, Brick Store Pub, and Victory Sandwich Bar are reasonably priced and delicious.
Where to Stay for the Decatur Book Festival
The Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Decatur is the closest hotel to the Decatur Book Festival and where the authors usually stay. It has a restaurant and an indoor pool along with free WiFi. The Hampton Inn & Suites Atlanta Decatur/Emory is right across the street and has larger rooms, a pool, and free breakfast. Airbnb has a number of rentals as well.