A southern metropolis of nearly six million people and home to the largest independent book festival in the country, AJC Decatur Book Festival, Atlanta is a major literary hub of the south. From novels set in the city and memoirs from residents to historical non-fiction about its racial and political history, take a journey into our literary guide to Atlanta.
Atlanta native and author, Mark Pendergrast gives us an up-to-the-minute history of the largest city in the Southeast. City on the Verge explores issues of income inequality, race, transportation and gentrification using various views on the city’s BeltLine, a long-term project that is cutting through forty-five neighborhoods of the city.
Authored by Douglas A. Blackmon, former Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta Bureau Chief, Slavery by Another Name is a historical account from original documents and personal stories of slaves and their descendants. The book chronicles slaves who were freed after the Emancipation Proclamation but then forced back into involuntary servitude shortly thereafter.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, Gone with the Wind is an antebellum novel that depicts the South before, during and after the devastating civil war. First published in 1936 and set in Atlanta, Georgia, Gone with the Wind is a love tale between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Authored by award-winning journalist and writer Margaret Mitchell, the novel is not without its criticism and controversy over its romanticized version of the Old South. Now a literary landmark in Atlanta, Margaret Mitchell’s home has been restored to a museum.
A novel by Anne Rivers Siddons, Peachtree Road tells a suspenseful story about genteel Atlantans as the the civil rights movement gets underway. Set in a home on Atlanta’s Peachtree Road, characters Lucy Bondurant Chastain Venable and her older cousin, Sheppard Gibbs Bondurant III, are united by a tainted love.
From stunning views of sculpted skylines to wooded drives and sprawling green spaces, Atlanta Then and Now is a chronicle of Atlanta’s ever-evolving landscape. It pairs century-old photographs with views of the same scene as it exists today. Currently the Director of Archives and Research Services at the Atlanta History Center’s archival facility, author Michael Rose has lived and worked in the city for over twenty years.
Named one of “14 Southern Books You Need to Read in 2016” by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Blue Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015 is a collection of poems written over the past 20 years in previously published books by Kevin Young. Former Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, Young is the author of twelve books of poetry and the editor of eight other collections.
The debut novel of Tayari Jones, Leaving Atlanta is a fictional story of three young black children set against the backdrop of the real-life “Atlanta Child Murders”, in which a series of murders were committed in Atlanta starting in 1979. The novel’s point of view is from the three young children and chronicles the neighborhood’s impact of the traumatic time.
Award-winning playwright and bestselling author, Pearl Cleage shares the struggles of her writing career amid personal and professional tumult is this very personal memoir. Raised in Detroit, the Atlanta resident worked with Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, and is a former professor at Spelman College in Atlanta. Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs follows her journey from a columnist to a playwright and Hollywood scriptwriter.