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Archive for October, 2011

Welcoming The Chattahoochee Review

Monday, October 17th, 2011

It’s a good time to welcome an old friend who’s now sporting some new duds. It’s The Chattahoochee Review, a literary friend that has been around these parts for the last 30 or so years. Only now it has a new look and a new editor while continuing to pursue its mission of offering Georgians some high quality writing from a diverse group of talented writers.

The Review has been fortunate to have been overseen by some very good folks, most recently Marc Fitten, an accomplished novelist who has that career to pursue after his success as editor for much of the first decade of the 21st century.  His successor is Anna Schachner, who has come aboard with an entire new editorial staff. Such a complete overhaul suggests trouble, but honestly there’s so much good work to be found in their first issue that I don’t think there’s any cause for worry.

There’s some outstanding poetry in this issue, and why not with contributions from the likes of Fred Chappell and Natasha Trethewey? The fiction pages include strong contributions from Anthony Varallo, Timothy Schaffert and Kevin Wilson, among others. And there’s a generous selection of reviews, nonfiction pieces and even a bit of art. Altogether, it’s an eclectic package that satisfies as it points to more to come.

The Review is funded again by and produced through Georgia Perimeter College. Academic support can be a very tricky business — politics is hardly a stranger in the halls of ivy, you know — so let’s cross our fingers that this will mean longevity and opportunities for growth. There are a number of outstanding small literary journals around Atlanta and Georgia — The Georgia Review enjoys a richly deserved national reputation, for instance — and it’s a good feeling to know that one of their number is ready to hold its own. Congratulations to Anna and her staff and best wishes!

Celebrating Georgia’s literary life

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

It’s become one of the most anticipated literary events in a state now bursting with them. It’s the annual Georgia Literary Festival — the 13th version — coming up Saturday, October 15th at the lovely Northeast Georgia community of Sautee Nacoochee. Don’t know where that is? You’re not alone, but it’s well worth discovering. If you’ve heard of Helen, Ga. — the faux-Bavarian town in the Appalachian foothills — then you’re just about there; Sautee Nacoochee is only five miles south of Helen, or no more than 90 minutes from Atlanta.

There are lots of reasons to savor that little journey. Of course it’s fall, so you can enjoy the cooler weather and changing leaf colors. And you can most definitely take part in Helen’s annual Octoberfest. But the literary festival offers something unique: a dip into the rich and exciting literary life of this part of our state. It’s a free, one-day event that brings together more than a dozen authors, storytellers (and even musicians) for a celebration of the connection between writers and readers. It’s similar to but much smaller scaled than the Decatur Book Festival, but it offers most of the same pleasures with a cast of characters that is all-Georgia. And honestly, that adds up to a fun day!

You can find the details elsewhere at this site by clicking on “Literary Festival.” But you’ll want to know right away that the festival’s keynote opening talk will come from one of this state’s most inspiring and acclaimed authors, Barbara Brown Taylor. A former Episcopal priest in Atlanta, she is the author of a pair of deeply thoughtful books about faith and living and is, not surprisingly, one of the finest speakers you’ll ever hear. Her program begins at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Throughout the day there will be a wealth of writers — poets, artists, historians, novelists, essayists — talking about their work, signing books and chatting with festival-goers. It’s all very informal and low-key, whether you’re there to hear about the remarkable Foxfire program, meet the noted poet Mildred Greear, learn about the life of the late Lillian Smith or discover insights into pottery making from a master, John Burrison. There will be lots of vendors, lots of food, and lots of time to get books signed. And it’s free — except for the books and food, of course.

The festival is one of the major annual projects of the Georgia Center for the Book, and its funding comes in large part through the Georgia Humanities Council. It’s an event designed by and for Georgians, and we hope you’ll want to come enjoy it. The festival moves to a different cite around the state each year. In 2010 it was held in Statesboro, and next year’s festival will shift all the way down to Jekyll Island. But no matter where it lands, we can just about guarantee you’ll quickly find there’s no more rewarding way to celebrate the literary richness and diversity of the state of Georgia. So c’mon up and join us for the fun!