Daren Wang, along with Tom Bell, founded the Decatur Book Festival in February 2005, convening booksellers, presenters, authors, arts advocates, and community leaders to start planning and fundraising.
Before that, he had worked in public radio for 15 years, specializing in programming focused on authors, literature, and the arts. Programs he has produced have featured such luminaries as Kurt Vonnegut, Sidney Poitier, Alice Walker, Charles Frazier, Barry Hannah, Philip Glass, Reynolds Price, and Jimmy Carter. He was the last person to interview James Dickey before his death in 1997.
Series which he has produced and or hosted include The Spoken Word, Porches: The South and Her Writers, Circle of Friends, Between the Lines, ArtVoice, and Atlanta Forum.
He is the Publisher and Editor of Verb: An Audioquarterly, a literary magazine published exclusively in audio, which was listed as one of Library Journal’s Top Ten Magazine’s of 2006. It is distributed by University of Georgia Press.
Wang is a graduate of Cornell University. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife Eva.
William W. Starr is the executive director of the Georgia Center for the Book. An Advisory Council of distinguished authors, librarians, publishers, scholars and journalists assist in designing programs and activities around the state.
Among the partners with the Center are the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Agnes Scott College in Decatur, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Little White House in Warm Springs, the University of Georgia, the DeKalb Historical Society, Chattahoochee Review and Spoken Word Productions.
The Center for the Book aims to be a focal point for promoting collaboration among those citizens and organizations interested in the state's historical and contemporary literary communities and in promoting the value of the book as a central element in American culture.
Linda Harris is a 18-year marketing and communications professional and serves as the Assistant Director of Community & Economic Development for the City of Decatur. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature/Creative Writing from Agnes Scott College and her masters in communication from Georgia State University. She is a former columnist and stringer for a weekly newspaper and has written features for variety of local newspapers and magazines.
She serves as President of the City County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA), a national organization of government communications and marketing professionals.
She is the immediate past chair of the Wrens Nest House Museum/Joel Chandler Harris Association Honorary Advisory Board. She is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and active in a variety of civic organizations including Decatur Rotary.
Linda oversees Decatur’s community development and quality of life programs including Volunteer! Decatur and Special Events. She works with existing Decatur businesses on marketing and advertising programs, business development, special promotions and events to enhance the business climate.
She coordinates the city’s marketing, communications, education and outreach efforts including the monthly newsletter, website, annual report, and Kids Activity Book, and directs the Decatur 101 public education program.
Alice Murray is Business Development Director for Lenz Marketing, Public Relations and Design. Alice joined Lenz in September 2007 after retiring from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution where she worked for 26 years.
In her years with the AJC, she worked throughout the company, starting as reporter for The Atlanta Constitution. Throughout the 1990s, she managed the company’s Special Sections and Advertising Creative departments. She joined the marketing department in 2000 and was Marketing Director for Administration, Marketing Director for the AJC’s Spanish-language publication, MundoHispánico, and Media Buyer.
Alice is originally from Cleveland, Tennessee, and is a journalism graduate of Auburn University.
She is a member of the board of directors of The Empty Stocking Fund and Georgia Shakespeare. She served as chair of the AJC United Way campaign in 2003 and has served on the boards of the DeKalb Council for the Arts and Our House, a daycare facility for homeless children and their families. She is a graduate of the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2006.
Alice is a resident of Decatur.
Richard J. Lenz is founder, president, and CEO of Lenz, Inc., a full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations firm based in Decatur, Georgia.
For the past 15 years, Lenz has brought effective integrated marketing to businesses and cause-oriented organizations primarily in the fields of medicine, conservation, and education. A recognized innovator in the marketing field, Lenz helps clients reach their goals with the skilled use of cutting edge marketing tools including creative design, public relations, advertising, promotions, multimedia, and events. His company has lobbied in Washington, D.C. and has brought fundraising expertise to a variety of causes.
Lenz, an award-winning writer who has studied with Allen Ginsberg, Peter Taylor, and Robert Dana, is the author of two books and co-author of eight others. He has written numerous magazine and newspaper articles on a wide variety of subjects in the areas of conservation, politics, education, and healthcare marketing. He has won awards for photography and design as well.
Because of his love for the written word and the City of Decatur, Lenz joined The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Board of Directors in 2005 to help steer Decatur's first literary festival with his expertise in branding, marketing communications, fundraising, and events. More information about his company can be found at www.lenzmarketing.com.
Lenz is a graduate of the University of Georgia, is married to Dr. Wendy Hawke Lenz, and has four children, Laura, Claire, Kristen, and Eric.
Thomas Bell is a co-founder of the Decatur Book Festival and serves as the festival's program director.
Bell is a writer of short fiction, creative nonfiction, arts criticism, humor, and features. He covers topics from books, dance, and opera to boxing. Formerly the book and dance critic for Creative Loafing, his work has also appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Paste, the English Journal, the Journal of General Education, Gambit Weekly, Atlanta-Intown, Skirt, and Break Magazine.
He is the production editor of The Duck & Herring Co.'s "Pocket Field Guides," seasonal literary field guides for the soul. (www.duckandherring.com)
A public speaker, Bell gives a popular series of pre-opera lectures before performances by the Atlanta Opera, and he is an occasional radio commentator. He is also a semi-professional dancer--having performed with Brooks & Company Dance and with Louise Runyon Performance Company--and studies multiple movement disciplines including contact improvisation and freestyle poling.
He lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Lilia.
For clips and more information, go to www.lexiconic.com.
A native of Decatur, Turner has been in banking in the Atlanta metro area for 40 years. She began her career in 1965 with the Citizens and Southern National Bank (now Bank of America). In 1993, she went to work for Bank South (now Bank of America). In 1996, after Bank South was acquired, she formed a group of local business leaders that raised $9.4 million in stock to start a bank for their community. She currently serves as President and CEO and is a member of the Honorary Advisory Board.
Her current community involvement includes Decatur Rotary, The Decatur Education Foundation, the DeKalb Housing Authority, Decatur Hospital, DeKalb Medical Center Foundation, DeKalb Historical Society, Leadership DeKalb, Pro-Active DeKalb and the DeKalb Development Authority, where she serves as Vice Chair. She is also an active member of the Georgia Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers Association and a director for the Community Bankers Association.
Turner has worked in the City of Decatur in banking for 19 years. She has always been very active in the community. She was the first woman to be President of the Decatur Rotary Club and the Decatur Business Association, has served as President of the Community Center of South Decatur and helped form the South Decatur Community Development Corporation where she served as Treasurer and Director. One of her more challenging community roles was serving as President and Acting Executive Director of the DeKalb Council for the Arts during some troubled years for this organization. Her most rewarding role was working with the South Decatur community through both the Community Center and the Community Development Corporation. Because of this involvement, she was invited to be part of The Atlanta Project where she worked closely with the Decatur Cluster Advisor, Mrs. Rosalynn Carter, and was later asked to be on The Atlanta Project Advisory Board at the Carter Center.
Turner lives in Decatur with her husband, Roy. They have a daughter, Sherry Storey and twin grandchildren, Lukas and Alyssa Storey.