Lisa Wingate, “Before We Were Yours.” Wingate’s new novel, about five children who end up in a Tennessee orphanage, is based on a real-life scandal in which the head of a Tennessee adoption agency kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country. 6 p.m. Aug. 29. Reading, talk, signing. Free. Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Road, Milton, 404-613-4402, www.afpls.org
Christopher Swann, “Shadow of the Lions.” A frustrated writer whose long-ago roommate vanished from their elite Southern boarding school returns to take a job there, only to find himself embroiled in the old case. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 29. Signing. Free. FoxTale Book Shoppe, 105 E. Main St., Woodstock, 770-516-9989, www.foxtalebookshoppe.com
Lawrence P. Jackson, “Chester B. Himes: A Biography.” Emory University professor Jackson (“Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius”) uses exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes’ full archives to portray one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition. 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Discussion, signing. Free. Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Ave. NE., Atlanta, 404-730-4001, ext. 100, www.afpls.org
Camille Dungy. The author of four collections of poetry and an essay collection, “Guidebook to Relative Strangers,” Dungy is also the editor of “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry.” 6 p.m. Aug. 31. Reading, reception. Free. Luchsinger Fireplace Lounge, Alston Center, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur, 404 471-6000, calendar.agnesscott.edu
Mark Pendergrast, “City on the Verge: Atlanta and the Fight for America’s Urban Future.” Pendergrast (“For God, County & Coca-Cola”) uses the Atlanta Beltline saga to explore issues of race, education, public health, transportation, business, philanthropy, urban planning, religion, politics, and community. Jim Langford will moderate a discussion that includes Ryan Gravel and Alexander Garvin. 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Talk, signing. $10. Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW., Atlanta, 404-814-4150, www.atlantahistorycenter.com
Wallace Shawn, “Night Thoughts.” The Obie Award–winning playwright, noted stage and screen actor, and co-writer of the film “My Dinner with Andre,” reflects on civilization and its discontents, and shares his hopes for the future in this book-length essay. 7 p.m. Aug. 31. Talk, signing. $22.09 includes signed copy of book. Ticketed event. Horizon Theatre, 1083 Austin Ave. NE., Atlanta, 404-681-5128, www.acappellabooks.com
Tom Perotta, “Mrs. Fletcher.” From the author of “The Leftovers” comes a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong. 12:30 Sept. 1. Talk, signing. Free. First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary, 308 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, decaturbookfestival.com
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