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The 2009 Festival

Cloudy, chilly weather didn’t keep several thousand people away from the 11th annual Georgia Literary Festival on Rome Saturday, October 17. The well-organized event in downtown Rome welcomed nearly 40 authors for a day-long series of lectures, panel discussions, workshops, storytelling and book signings. More than 50 vendors added to the festivities. “A very fine event, I was honored to be there,” said author Anthony Grooms, one of the participants. And another author, Lauretta Hannon, wrote, “It was great fun all day for all of us.”

Congratulations to planning committee chairman Ray Atkins and his hard-working committee. We’ll soon have information on the amount of money from the festival that will be donated to adult literacy programs in the Rome area. And thanks to all of you who took part in this year’s festival.

Tony Grooms

Author Tony Grooms at the 2009 festival

Terry Kay

Terry Kay chats with visitors at the 2009 festival

Ray Atkins

Literary festival chairman Ray Atkins enjoys a small bit of sunshine at the 2009 event

Proudly Sponsored by the Georgia Humanities Council

The 11th annual Georgia Literary Festival was held in Rome on Saturday, October 17. It marked the first time the festival, a “moveable feast” of Georgia’s literary heritage, has been hosted in Northwest Georgia.

The 2009 event in Rome was sponsored by Georgia Power Company with additional funding support from the Rome Rotary Club, Northwest Georgia Technical College, and SCANA Energy. Also contributing to the festival were Keep Rome/Floyd Beautiful and the Sara Hightower Regional Library.

Download the 2009 Georgia Literary Festival Schedule.

Ray Atkins

The chair of the committee to plan for the festival is the Rome-based writer Raymond L. Atkins, author of the novels Sorrow Wood The Front Porch Prophet, and a well-known contributor to magazines and newspapers. Among the groups represented on the committee are the Sara Hightower Regional Library, the Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Rome Area Writers and the Rome Area Council for the Arts.

Four Georgia writers, all with connections to the Rome area, were honored at this year’s festival. They are:

Calder WillinghamCalder Willingham (1922-1995), the late novelist and screenwriter, who was born in Atlanta but grew up in Rome. He wrote 11 novels and story collections including End as a Man and Gates of Hell; and wrote or co-wrote many screenplays including “The Graduate,” “Rambling Rose” and “Paths of Glory.”
Jeanne BraseltonJeanne Braselton (1962-2003) won the Georgia Author of the Year Award for her first novel, A False Sense of Well Being (2001). She died in Rome in 2003, and her posthumous second novel, The Other Side of Air (2006), was completed by her close friend,. novelist Kaye Gibbons.
Tony GroomsAnthony Grooms is a native of Virginia who has taught for many years at Kennesaw State University. His prize-winning books include novels (Bombingham), stories (Trouble No More) and poetry (Ice Poems). His books have been included on the Georgia Center for the Book “Top 25 List of Books all Georgians should Read.”

Melanie Summer

Melanie Sumner, who grew up in Rome, was named one of “America’s Best Young Novelists” in 1995 when her first book, Polite Society, appeared. Her stories have been widely published, and her second novel, The School of Beauty and Charm, was published in 2001 to acclaim.

Among the featured writers invited to participate in the Rome festival are:

Terry Kay, prize-winning Georgia Hall of Fame author of more than a dozen books including To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie;
Lloyd Arneach, master Cherokee storyteller and author of several books including Long-Ago Stories of the Eastern Cherokees and Can You hear the Smoke?;
Raymond L. Atkins, short stories and novels (The Front Porch Prophet);
Tersi Bendiburg
, bilingual storyteller from Tucker who tells stories gathered from her native Cuba;  
Earl Braggs, acclaimed poet (Hat Dancer Blue, Walking Back from Woodstock)
Carmen Acevedo Butcher, nonfiction author (Incandescence: 365 Readings with Women Mystics);
Vincent Coppola, former Newsweek correspondent and author of the new nonfiction book, The Sicilian Judge.
Lynn Coulter, essayist and gardening expert (Mustard Seeds, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds);
Elizabeth Dulemba, children’s author and illustrator (Paco and the Giant Chili plant);
Hollis Gillespie, essayist (Trailer Trash, Confessions of a Recovering Slut);
Lauretta Hannon, popular NPR commentator and Atlanta-based author of The Cracker Queen, a powerful memoir of a strong, resourceful woman raised in the South;
Eric Haney, founding member of Delta Force and author of Inside Delta Force: the Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit.
Alta Ifland, poet and short story writer, Elegy for a Fabulous World, Voices of Ice;
Akbar Imhotep, Atlanta-based storyteller and puppeteer of stories;
Natalie Jones, from Acworth, motivates youngsters to read and act out their own stories;
Mike Lester, children’s author and illustrator (A is for Salad);
Joshilyn Jackson, novelist (Gods in Alabama, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming);
Greg Johnson, short story writer and poet (Women I've Known: New and Selected Stories);
Cathy Kaemmerlen, Marietta storyteller and author of General Sherman and the Georgia Belles: Tales from Women Left Behind;
Man Martin, Southern humorist (Days of Endless Corvette);
Sandra Meek, poet (Biogeography, Burn);
Robert J. Norrell, historian, nonfiction (Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington);
Helen Ruchti, Rome author of La Bella Vita: Daily Inspiration from Italy;
Kim Siegelson, prize-winning Atlanta author of books for young adults including Honey Bea and Trembling Earth;
Patricia Sprinkle, popular Atlanta mystery author whose bestsellers include Death on the Family Tree, Daughters of Deceit and When Will the Dead Lady Sing?;
Zack Waters, author of the new book for young adults, Blood Moon Ride.
Virginia Willis, cookbooks (Bon Apetit Y’All: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking).
John Yow, writer and editor from Acworth, whose new book is The Armchair Birder: Discovering the Secret Lives of Familiar Birds.