Dahlonega Literary Festival

DLF logo square justThe Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of books. The next festival will take place March 25-26, 2017. Situated in Historic Downtown Dahlonega, the festival continues to grow and become more and more entertaining as the years go on. We promise it will delight anyone who is a lover of books and reading. All festival events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Each year the festival presents a slate of invited authors representing a variety of genres sharing their ideas and experiences in various programs. In addition, a number of regional authors (ranging from local to other areas of the Southeast) have the opportunity to purchase a table to both interact with festival attendees and sell their books.

The Dahlonega Literary Festival is supported by donations and grants from Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Council for the Arts, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.

2017 Festival Authors include:

Jacob Appel (Saturday only)
Buzz Bernard
Valerie Boyd
Mark Braught
Rita Mae Brown
Jackie Cooper
Ann Hite
Cassandra King
Erika Marks
June Hall McCash
Maggie Mitchell
William Rawlings
Linda Sands
Susan Sands
George Weinstein
Kim Wright

with Special Appearances by:
The Book Widows
Ambassador Jonathan Addleton
Nick Kastner


Check out the blog roll below for the latest news and updates from the festival committee.

2017 Featured Author: Susan Sands



Featured Author Susan Sands’ newest novel, Forever, Alabama, is set for publication on March 20, 2017.  In this third book in her fun, romantic women’s fiction Alabama Series, Sabine seeks peace and hopes to escape her painful past by moving to a small, southern town. Enter the town’s gorgeous favorite son who presents a complication she can’t afford, but also can’t resist.  

susan-sands-1Sands’ book, as well as books by all the Featured Authors, will be available to purchase in the mini-bookstore FoxTale Book Shoppe is setting up in the Community House during the Festival, March 25-26. 

DLF Awarded 2 Grants


Dahlonega Literary Festival Receives Grants for Lumpkin Teen Writing Program

DAHLONEGA, GA – January 25, 2017 – Dahlonega Literary Festival (DLF) announced today that the non-profit organization had received two state-funded grants to support a program to encourage writing among Lumpkin middle and high school students.

The matching grants were awarded by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Council for the Arts.

Money from the grants will go toward funding a four-part DLF writing program aimed at young writers. The program includes a short story contest, an Open Mic session, an Adopt-an-Author reading program, and a presentation by a noted Atlanta writer to Lumpkin County students. The DLF program runs through February and March, culminating March 25-26 with the thirteenth annual Dahlonega Literary Festival.

The DFL Teen Short Story Contest is open to Lumpkin middle and high school students in public, private, and home-schools. The winning high school writer receives $300 and the middle school winner gets $200. The Dahlonega Woman’s Club donated $500 for prize money as part of the matching grants, according to Trish Hawkins, DLF coordinator for the student writing program.

Contest winners will be announced March 25 at the Literary Festival, and The Dahlonega Nugget will publish both winning stories on the Nugget’s web site. Deadline to enter is March 1. Entry applications are available at the Lumpkin County Library and at the Lumpkin County Middle and High Schools.

The Spoken Word Open Mic is set for 7 p.m., March 8, at Lumpkin County Library. Budding authors, including teen writers, are encouraged to read excerpts from their works.

Also planned by DLF is Steve Allen’s Adopt-an-Author program where Lumpkin County High School students read a specific author’s book and then that author visits the school to discuss the book. At Lumpkin County Middle School, well known screenplay writer and choreographer Sandra Hughes will either perform or teach a workshop to Language Arts classes on writing.

Contest rules are available for download here. For more information about the program, contact Hawkins at 954-383-5717 or email trishhawkins@yahoo.com. For details about the festival, visit www.literaryfestival.org.

This project is supported by Georgia Humanities, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the Georgia Council for the Arts through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.


2017 Festival Special Appearance: Nick Kastner

nick-kastnerNick Kastner serves as marketing manager and adjunct instructor for the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG). Prior to joining UNG in 2013, he served as an account director at Red Clay Interactive, a leading web design and marketing company based just outside of Atlanta. He has worked with a number of high-profile clients and has substantial experience in the financial industry. He has served as faculty for the American Bankers Association (ABA) School of Bank Marketing and Management since 2011 and was the first instructor for the School on the topic of digital marketing. 

He is an honors graduate of the ABA School of Bank Marketing and Management where he was awarded the coveted ABA James H. Donnelly Award of Excellence. In addition to his formal education, Kastner is a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Certified Agile Marketing Specialist (CAMS).

Kastner will be doing an individual presentation at the Dahlonega Literary Festival on how writers can best use social media to promote themselves and their works.

2017 Featured Author: Kim Wright


Kim Wright is the author of Last Ride to Graceland, Love in Mid Air, The Unexpected Waltz, and The Canterbury Sisters. A two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing, she has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for magazines such as Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue. She also ballroom dances competitively. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

2017 Featured Author: Maggie Mitchell


Maggie Mitchell has published short fiction in a number of literary magazines, including the New Ohio Review, American Literary Review, and Green Mountains Review. Her story “It Would Be Different If” is included in the Bedford Introduction to Literature. She teaches English and creative writing at the University of West Georgia. Pretty Is is her first novel.

(Bio and image from macmillan.com)



Workshop: So You Want to Be a Published Novelist

All writers want to publish. What is the secret to publication? Which directions should a writer take? Should you get an agent? How?

In this two-hour workshop award-winning author Ann Hite will cover the route to publishing your finished work.

  1. Ann will tell her story of how she came into publication.
  2. Preparing your manuscript.
  3. The dreaded query letter.
  4. Publication venues.
  5. What happens when you get a book deal?

There will also be plenty of time dedicated to Q&A, so come with questions!

Tickets are available! Click here to purchase

All proceeds for this event support the 13th Annual Dahlonega Literary Festival – March 25th and 26th, 2017.

AhiteAnn Hite is the author of The Storycatcher, Lowcountry Spirit, and Where The Souls Go.  Her debut novel, Ghost On Black Mountain, became a Townsend Prize Finalist and won Georgia Author of the Year in 2012. Her newest Black Mountain novel, Sleeping Above Chaos, will be released by Mercer University Press in September, 2016. Ann lives in Marietta, Georgia, where she writes her heart out with her husband and daughter nearby.


2017 Feature Author: Linda Sands


Linda Sands is a well-traveled Yankee transplanted to Atlanta via California. Her internationally published legal thriller, Simple Intent, is based on a true story in 1970’s Philadelphia. Linda earned a Kirkus Starred Review for the Southern Gothic novel, Not Waving, Drowning. Her most recent book,  3 Women Walk into a Bar is a 2015 Kindle Scout Winner, Winner of the 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for Best P.I., Winner of the 2016 Silver Falchion Judges’ Choice Award for  Neo-Noir, and earned her the title, 2016 Georgia Author of the Year for Mystery.

Her award-winning short stories and essays can be found in Skirt! Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily Post, The Walton Sun, Dana Literary Society, New Works Review, Byline, The Duck & Herring Company Pocket Field Guide, venuszine, zygote in my coffee, BigCityLit, oculartravel, espressofiction, Divine Caroline, NPR’s I Believe, Europe From a Backpack, The Signature Series, Golden Short Stories, O’Georgia! A Collection of Georgia’s Newest and Most Promising Writers, Big Water, Moronic Ox, Weird Year, DogPlotz, and various anthologies. Many of her short works can be found on Amazon and are available for most e-readers through Smashwords.

Agented by Josh Getzler of HSG Agency, Linda’s Cargo crime series introducing badass long-haul trucker Jojo Boudreaux will debut in spring 2017 with Grand Theft Cargo.

(Images and bio from author’s website)



2017 Featured Author: Erika Marks


Erika Marks is a native New Englander, raised in Maine, who went to New Orleans to study architectural preservation and promptly fell in love with a man named Ian when they were each walking our dogs on the levee in the rain. They now live in North Carolina with their two children. Marks has worked as a carpenter, an illustrator, an art director for a woodworking magazine, and a cake decorator, and after many years of marriage to a native New Orleanian she is proud to say that she can make a mean gumbo and a praline that peels cleanly off a sheet of waxed paper.

(Images and bio adapted from author’s website)



2017 Featured Author: Valerie Boyd


Valerie Boyd is the author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston and the forthcoming Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood.

She is an Associate Professor and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia, where she teaches magazine writing, arts reviewing and narrative nonfiction. She also has taught creative nonfiction in the graduate writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Valerie earned a bachelor’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1985 and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Goucher College in 1999.

An accomplished journalist and cultural critic, Valerie is the former arts editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and she has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and newspapers. Her articles, essays and reviews have appeared in Step Into a World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature, Ms. magazine,Paste, The Oxford American, Book magazine, Essence,The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Creative Nonfiction, African American Review, The Scholar and Feminist Online and other publications.

She founded EightRock, a cutting-edge journal of black arts and culture, in 1990. In 1992, she co-founded HealthQuest, the first nationally distributed magazine focusing on African-American health.

Wrapped in Rainbows—the first biography of Zora Neale Hurston in 25 years—was published to wide critical acclaim. It was hailed by Alice Walker as “magnificent” and “extraordinary”; by The Washington Post as  “definitive”; by the Boston Globe as “elegant and exhilarating”; and by the Denver Post as “a rich, rich read.”

For her work on Wrapped in Rainbows, Valerie received the Georgia Author of the Year Award in nonfiction as well as an American Library Association Notable Book Award. The Georgia Center for the Book named Wrapped in Rainbows one of the “25 Books That All Georgians Should Read,” and the Southern Book Critics Circle honored it with the 2003 Southern Book Award for best nonfiction of the year.

Valerie is currently finishing her next book, Spirits in the Dark: The Untold Story of Black Women in Hollywood, which will be published by Knopf. She lives in Atlanta.

(Bio and images from author’s website)