Julie Wilson, program director at the AJC Decatur Book Festival, has been named the interim executive director for 2018. She replaces founder Daren Wang, who left the festival this summer. Photo: courtesy AJC Decatur Book Festival.

AJC Decatur Book Fest names Julie Wilson interim exec director

The AJC Decatur Book Festival has named Julie Wilson interim executive director for 2018, replacing founding executive director Daren Wang.

In August Wang announced he would leave his post. Wang nurtured a festival that, over 12 years, grew to attract 80,000 visitors each Labor Day weekend.

Wilson was appointed program director in 2015, replacing Phillip Rafshoon.

She worked previously for the American Cancer Society and Ketchum Public Relations, and is a Decatur resident.

“I’m passionate about the festival, Decatur, and learning new things,” said Wilson. “I’m curious by nature, so I hope to channel that innate desire to discover new things as a guiding notion to develop new ideas for the festival.”

Among the activities each year at the AJC Decatur Book Festival is the parade, which this year featured children’s author and Grand Marshal Carmen Agra Deedy, left. BRANDEN CAMP/SPECIAL
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The event, with support from more than 1,000 volunteers, has become the largest independent book festival in the country. It features hundreds of authors from around the country who are presented at book signings, lectures, workshops and panels.

Recent festivals have offered appearances from such authors as Joyce Carol Oates, Erica Jong and the late Pat Conroy.

Wilson, 51, said her first goal is to expand the festival’s reach to parts of Atlanta that haven’t been courted vigorously.

“I want us to continue to focus on being a metro Atlanta and regional event,” she said. “We market well to intown Atlanta and Decatur, but I don’t think the people in Acworth or Duluth or Fayetteville see us or know us. That’s one of my goals.”

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