Daren Wang 

AJC Decatur Book Festival co-founder and director

As the publisher and editor of Verb: An Audioquarterly -- a literary journal on CD with authors reading poetry and fiction often accompanied by original music -- as well as creator of WABE-FM's (90.1) "Art Voice" and producer of NPR's "Circle of Friends," Daren Wang crusades for the entire literary experience. His latest effort to improve Atlanta's art and literary scene is the second annual AJC Decatur Book Festival. Co-founded and directed by Wang, the festival brings more than 200 authors to the Decatur Square Friday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, with an expected attendance of around 50,000.

What first inspired you to create the Decatur Book Festival? Driving back from South Carolina, I thought, "Why does Columbia, S.C., have a perfectly respectable festival, and Atlanta, Ga., does not?" ... Obviously, there was an untapped need in Atlanta.

Logistically speaking, what does it take to organize, direct and produce the Decatur Book Festival, and how are you preparing for all the attendees you expect this year? A cast of thousands. We have to coordinate with authors, publishers, vendors, venues, city government, press, designers, sponsors, booksellers, media, caterers, local businesses, taxi drivers, actors, police, fire, programming partners, and hundreds of volunteers. ... We're open-handed and reach out to everyone in the community. ... We want to show off those local businesses.

In what ways does the Decatur Book Festival incorporate other artistic media, and how does this add to the book-fair atmosphere? Musicians are writers. Or we at least use that excuse to invite our favorite musicians out for the festival. Having musicians at the festival makes the event more dynamic, more fun, less stuffy.

How is the Decatur Book Festival different from other book fairs? The DBF has a better overall venue than just about any other festival in the country. We have a literary party right in the midst of great local restaurants, bars and shops. ... You can have a world-class meal as part of your book-festival experience.


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