Kenny Leon, (center), is the keynote speaker at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival. He is seen here with actress Kristin Chenoweth (left) and singer/actress Ariana Grande who worked with Leon in 2016 on a live television presentation of the musical “Hairspray.”  The musical aired in 2016.  RYON HORNE/RHORNE@AJC.COM

Kenny Leon to give keynote at AJC Decatur Book Fest 2018

The AJC Decatur Book Festival announced Monday that Atlanta theater legend Kenny Leon will serve as the keynote speaker during the kickoff ceremonies for the festival this Labor Day weekend.

The Tony Award-winning Leon, former artistic director of the Alliance Theatre, will speak at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. He is the author of a new memoir, “Take You Wherever You Go.”  

Leon will speak at Emory University’s Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. 

Kenny Leon is the former artistic director of the Alliance Theatre and a Tony Award winning director of such Broadway productions as “Fences” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” Noam Galai/Getty Images

Leon’s Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” starring Denzel Washington and the premiere of “Holler if You Hear Me,” a musical created using the music of Tupac Shakur.

He is currently serving as the Denzel Washington Chair at Fordham University and as the artistic director of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre in Atlanta.

The keynote speech is free and open to the public, but requires a ticket. The distribution of free tickets will be announced later.

This is the festival’s 13th year. Held every Labor Day weekend, the festival this year will bring more than 300 well-known authors and illustrators and tens of thousands of readers together for three days of events.

Among the authors who will be featured are:

- Journalist Beth Macy, and her account “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” which charts the opioid crisis in America.

- Novelist Karin Slaughter, and her crime thriller “Pieces of Her.” 

- “Visible Empire,” from Hannah Pittard, a novel that uses the historical events of the Orly Air Crash of 1962 to explore the promise and hope that remains in the wake of crisis.

For more information:

RELATED: Atlanta festivals calendar from AJC

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