Life Traces at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival

This Sunday (September 1), from 3:00-3:30 p.m., I’ll be speaking about my book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast, at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia. The festival is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S., with more than 75,000 people estimated to have attended last year. I am extremely lucky to have this festival in my neighborhood, and must restrain myself from self-pinching (more so) given that all of the venues are only 15-20 minute walks from where I live.

So with just a short stroll here and there, I can listen to world-class authors and poets speak about their works, meet a few of them, gaze at thousands of books on display by hundreds of different vendors, and talk about books with fellow book lovers. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Decatur is also recognized as the informal “craft beer capital of Georgia,” meaning there are plenty of fine libations to be had while enjoying all of the literary and cerebral stimulation.

Ichnologist-on-Board-AJC-DBFMe (minus the big floppy field hat) participating in a panel discussion sponsored by the Atlanta Science Tavern at the AJC-Decatur Book Fesitval in 2011; the discussion was with Maryn McKenna and Holly Tucker on the topic of science writers working with online media. Note my Twitter handle  (@Ichnologist), which I still have. If you follow me there, I promise to never give updates on what I had for breakfast, lunch dinner, snacks, or any other food items. (Photograph by Ruth Schowalter.)

In fact, one of my dreams when writing Life Traces of the Georgia Coast was that I would be able to speak about it in the book festival, giving back to my local community at a nationally prominent literary event. After all, with so many friends, acquaintances, fans, and possible stalkers in the Atlanta area, there might be plenty of people interested in hearing from a “local boy done good.” The book also describes plant and animal traces of all types from the world-famous Georgia barrier islands, which many people in the Atlanta area have visited for their natural wonders. So several months ago, I applied for a speaking slot in the Atlanta Writers’ Showcase Stage, and was lucky enough to be one of the few (of only about 15-20 authors) selected.

What will I talk about during my 30-minutes of fame there? I’ll have to be disciplined and focused, as a 700-page book certainly can’t be (nor should it be) expressed in any comprehensive way during such a short amount of time. So for those of you who will be there, this is not a spoiler alert, but more like a teaser:

  • What is the book about?
  • Where does its action take place?
  • Who makes up the cast of characters (tracemakers)?
  • What is the connection between these modern traces of the Georgia barrier islands and trace fossils in the rest of the world?
  • A brief (3-5-minute) reading from the first third of the book.
  • A brief reading from the middle of the book.
  • A brief reading from toward the end of the book.
  • A take-home message, about why reading this book will change your perspective, causing you to see life traces wherever you go, and not just on the Georgia coast.

So I hope to see some of you there, but if you’re not in the Atlanta area or otherwise can’t make it, I’ll be sure to tell you about it and other experiences with the festival here.

Anthony (Tony) J. Martin will be making two appearances at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival this weekend. The first will be to introduce Brian Switek, author of My Beloved Brontosaurus and Written in Stone, at 12:00 noon on Sunday, September 1, at the Marriott Conference Center Ballroom B in downtown Decatur. The second will be to talk about his book, Life Traces of the Georgia Coast, at 3:00 p.m. on the same day, and at the Atlanta Writer’s Showcase, which is all located in the Marriott Hotel in downtown Decatur. Full information can be found at this link, with more links to other authors, genres, and events there.

Bookzilla-AJC-DBFWill there be interesting tracemakers at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival? Yes, indeed. For example, here’s Bookzilla. As is traditional for photographs taken of cryptids, it is blurry, but as is also typical of cryptids, all you need are Bookzilla’s footprints to prove it exists.

Godzilla-Downtown-DecaturPresiding over book-related activities at the AJC-Decatur Book Festival will be this tracemaker, which is very likely a close relative of T. rex, but with possible shared ancestry with Bookzilla. What’s with the wires? Don’t ask.

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