Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Festival Director Rallies to Save Atlanta Writing Programs

By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 1/26/2009 2:31:00 PM

When the Atlanta History Center, parent organization that runs the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, let go of 15 of their 74 staff, including 7 of the 8 staff of the Mitchell House, it effectively ended the institution’s creative writing programs, among the most prominent in the city, and put in doubt the future of its popular author reading series. But all was not lost: within three days the writing programs were reinstituted, this time under the auspices of Agnes Scott College. Dubbed Agnes Writes, classes begin in February and will be taught by novelist David Fulmer and memoirist Hollis Gillespie, among others. Summer writing camps for children and young adults are also on the schedule, with Julie Bookman, former director of the writing programs at the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, planned to direct.

Darren Wang, executive director, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, organized the transition. “With everything that’s been happening with the writing community in Atlanta, there’s a real need to make this happen,” Wang told PW. “We were in a position to make this happen, so we did.”

"Agnes Scott College has a tremendous literary history," said Wang. "The college's annual Writers' Festival is nationally admired and has brought the likes of Julia Alvarez, John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates to speak to metropolitan Atlanta's writers. I also knew, through working with Agnes Scott as a partner to the Decatur Book Festival, that the college moved nimbly and was quick to embrace new opportunities."

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