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Erica Jong comes to Emory for Decatur Book Festival

Novelist Erica Jong, known for her ground-breaking book "Fear of Flying," appears Sept. 4 at Emory's Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Photo by Mary Ann Halpin.

Novelist Erica Jong, whose ground-breaking book “Fear of Flying” challenged conventional attitudes surrounding women, marriage and sexuality in the 1970s, will present the opening keynote at the 2015 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival on Friday, Sept. 4, from 8-10 p.m. in Emory’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

Free tickets for the event will be available starting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Limited to two per person, they may be obtained by visiting the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, calling the Arts at Emory Box Office at 404-727-5050, or visiting A $4 processing fee will be applied for phone and online orders.

A limited number of tickets are also available at A Cappella Books, Charis Books & More, Eagle Eye Books, Tall Tales Books and Little Shop of Stories.

Jong is an award-winning poet and the author of more than 22 published books. Her most popular novel, “Fear of Flying,” has sold over 27 million copies and celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013. Her latest book, “Fear of Dying” — a novel of sexuality and satire that examines accepting mortality with humor and ferocity — is set for release in September.

During her opening keynote, Jong will appear in conversation on stage with author, essayist and commentator Roxane Gay, associate professor of English at Purdue University. Gay has won acclaim for her short story collection “Ayiti” (2011), the novel “An Untamed State” (2014) and the essay collection “Bad Feminist (2014).

Following Friday’s keynote at Emory, the festival will continue with events and author presentations scheduled throughout Saturday and Sunday in downtown Decatur.

Emory is a major sponsor of the AJC Decatur Book Festival, considered the largest community-based independent book festival in the country. The weekend event features lectures and book signings from more than 600 national and local authors, who range from award-winners and best-sellers to new emerging authors.

This year’s festival will also feature the following Emory-related events:

Saturday, Sept. 5:

  • “Bringing Civil Rights Cold Cases to Life in Fact and Fiction” — Greg Iles and Stanley Nelson, moderated by Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism, and Brett Gadsden, associate professor of history and African American studies, with The Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University, First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage, 11:15 a.m to noon.
  • “Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic” — Ebola survivor Kent Brantly, the first person to be treated for the disease in the U.S. at Emory University Hospital, and his wife, Amber Brantly, First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage, 12:30-1:15 p.m.
  • “Women After All: Sex, Evolution, and the End of Male Supremacy” — Melvin Konner, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Program in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory, Marriott Conference Center Ballroom, 3-3:45 p.m.
  • “Reconciling Racism from a Sixties Childhood” — Former AJC reporter Jim Auchmutey and Jim Grimsley, professor of practice in English/creative writing at Emory, Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage, 3-3:45 p.m.
  • “Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization” — Elena Conis, assistant professor of history at Emory, Marriott Conference Center Ballroom, 4:15-5 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 6

  • “Best American Poetry 2015” — Jericho Brown, award-winning poet and assistant professor of English and creative writing at Emory, and other regional poets, First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary Stage, 3:45-4:30 p.m.
  • “My Father’s Guitar and Other Imaginary Things” — Joseph Skibell, professor of English and creative writing at Emory, Old Courthouse Stage, 5-5:45 p.m.

View the full Decatur Book Festival schedule.

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