This week's literary events

James McBride and the Good Lord Bird Band. 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Reading and music. Free. First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairmont Ave., Decatur. 404-373-1653, www.georgiacenterforthebook.org. McBride's novel about American abolitionist John Brown, "The Good Lord Bird," is a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award. An accomplished saxophonist, McBride brings his gospel quintet for a performance that will combine readings from the book with music inspired by folk songs and legends about Brown.

Bill Cotterman, "Improbable Women: Five Who Explored the Middle East." 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Reading and signing. Free. Carter Presidential Library & Museum Theater, 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. 404-865-7100, www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov. Georgia State University Professor Cotterman explores the lives of five female writers who explored the Middle East: Hester Stanhope, Jane Digby, Isabel Burton, Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark.

Garrison Keillor, "O What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound." 7 p.m. Oct. 29. Reading and signing. Free. Presser Hall, Agnes Scott College, 141 E. College Ave., Decatur. 404 471-6000, http://calendar.agnesscott.edu. The celebrated host of "A Prairie Home Companion" forges a new path as a poet, writing about love, nostalgia, politics, religion and other facets of daily life.

Jeffrey Stepakoff, "Melody of Secrets." 7 p.m. Oct. 29. Signing. Free. Barnes & Noble Buckhead, 2900 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-261-7747, http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/1907. The U.S. space program in Huntsville, Ala., in the 1950s frames Stepakoff's latest novel, about a young woman who had a brief affair with a downed fighter pilot in the last days of WWII.

Joshua DuBois, "The President's Devotional." 7 p.m. Oct. 29. Talk and signing. Free. Carter Presidential Library & Museum Theater, 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. 404-865-7100, www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov. During Barack Obama's first presidential campaign, staff member DuBois sent the future president a daily inspirational message in the form of Scripture, stories, quotes and prayers — the best of which are collected in this book.

Danny Ellis, "The Boy at the Gate." 7 p.m. Oct. 29. Talk, reading and signing. Free. Tall Tales Book Shop, Toco Hill Shopping Center, 2105 LaVista Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-636-2498, www.talltalesatlanta.com. Irish singer-songwriter Ellis came out of the 1950s Dublin slums and the notorious Artane Industrial School, a Catholic orphanage that housed thousands of children until reports of abuse forced it to close in 1969. Ellis' memoir recounts the musical journey that enabled him to survive and heal.

Marian Meyers, "African American Women in the News: Gender, Race and Class in Journalism." 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29. Talk and signing. Suggested donation $5. Charis Books & More, 1189 Euclid Ave N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-0304, www.charisbooksandmore.com. Through detailed studies of national and local news, Meyers offers an in-depth examination of the varied representations of black women in American journalism.

Lee Smith, "Guests on Earth." 7:15 p.m. Oct. 30. Talk, reading and signing. Free. Decatur Library Auditorium, 215 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-370-8450, Ext. 2225; www.georgiacenterforthebook.org. An orphaned girl admitted to Highland Hospital in Asheville, N.C., becomes close to the mental institution's most notable patient, Zelda Fitzgerald.

Scott Turow, "Identical." 8:15 p.m. Nov. 2. Keynote address. $18-$24. Ticketed event. Marcus Jewish Community Center, Zaban Park, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4000, www.atlantajcc.org. Turow's ninth novel tells the story of identical twins — one running for mayor, and the other newly released from jail after serving 25 years for murder, a crime now being reinvestigated.