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Decatur Book Festival

Decatur Book Festival

Aug. 30 - Sept. 1, 2019

Spelman faculty and student poets will read from their works at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival's College Day on Sunday, Sept. 1. The four-day event, which begins Thursday, Aug. 29, is the nation’s largest independent book festival. The fact that students at the College are able to share their work on such a grand stage alongside professional poets speaks volumes about their skill and the active-learning opportunities faculty make available to individuals on campus.

The festival’s College Day on Sept. 1 will run from noon to 6 p.m., and will feature poetry readings from faculty, students and alumni from eight metro Atlanta area colleges and universities.

Spelman’s Poets

Award-winning poet Sharan Strange, M.F.A., senior lecturer of English at Spelman and a board member of Poetry Atlanta, has coordinated the College Day Program at the Festival since 2012.

The following students and faculty will begin reading at 3:30 p.m. on the Local Poetry Stage located at Ammazza, 314 E Howard Ave, Decatur, GA 30030.
Spelman Student Cylantra Dees
Cylantra Dees, born in Tampa, Florida, is an editor of "Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor" at Spelman. She is a senior Comparative Women's Studies major who intends to pursue a career in writing and editing through feminist studies.
Spelman Professor Wandeka Gayle
Wandeka Gayle, Ph.D., is a Jamaican writer, visual artist, and assistant professor of creative writing at Spelman. She has a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and has been awarded writing fellowships from Kimbilio Fiction, Callaloo, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in "Interviewing the Caribbean," "Rigorous," "Transition," and other places. Her collection of short stories, "Motherland and Other Stories," will be published by Peepal Tree Press in 2020.
Spelman Poet Tangela Mitchell
Tangela Mitchell, a senior political science major and Spanish and writing double minor at Spelman, is a published poet, journalist, and performer. Mitchell is spending her time working on a new collection of poetry, writing articles for "Black College Today" magazine, and attending poetry performances. She is a founding member of The Resurgence Collective, an Atlanta University Center-based poetry and performance organization committed to creating artistic spaces for students across Atlanta.
Pushpa N. Parekh, Ph.D.
Pushpa Parekh, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the African Diaspora and the World Program at Spelman, is an award-winning poet and scholar. She is the recipient of the 2019 Gerard Manley Hopkins Award, an annual recognition by the International Hopkins Society, Ireland. In summer 2016, her poem, "Peace," received the West Coast Tagore Festival Prize at the international contest held by the Vancouver Tagore Society. She has published three scholarly books, as well as poetry and short stories in anthologies and journals in the U.S and India. Recent publications include poems in "Celebrate Canada 150" and "Culture Days: Multicultural Creative Writing";
Spelman Poet Jasmine Tabor
Jasmine Tabor, from Charleston, South Carolina., is a double major in American History and English in the Honors Program at Spelman. Her penchant for creative writing and her love of history often results in hybrid works that focus on the horror of being marginalized, particularly as a Black queer nonbinary woman. With a passion for restorative justice, she hopes to enact social change with both her writing and community-based work in whatever career she dedicates herself to in the future.
Spelman Student Atiya Ziyad
Atiya Ziyad, an introspective writer, is a senior studying English at Spelman. Her writing spans through poetry, song lyrics, and short stories, and she plans to expand into novels and screenwriting. She has read her work at The Athenian School, and at the Decatur Book Festival for the past two years. She hopes to spread her voice through more performances in the coming year, as well as by publishing some of her work for public consumption.

About the Festival

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square to enjoy book signings, author readings, panel discussions, an interactive children's area, live music, parades, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, and more.The event is free and open to the public.