Daren Wang, executive director of the festival, said he was excited to work with Rafshoon in a statement released earlier today.
“I’ve known Philip for more than 15 years, and have admired his work in the book industry and in the community,” Wang said. “He has been a lynchpin in the Atlanta book landscape for two decades. I went to Philip in the earliest days of DBF planning for advice, and I feel I still can learn a lot from him. I think he’ll help grow this festival in fresh new ways.”
Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse was a mainstay in Midtown’s 10th and Piedmont intersection for nearly two decades. The LGBT bookstore closed Jan. 26 of this year and the business filed for bankruptcy.
Rafshoon told GA Voice he has spent time traveling since Outwrite closed earlier this year. He’s been to Israel with his partner, Robert Gaul, and has spent time with family.
“I wasn’t tired of books,” Rafshoon said about his life after Outwrite’s closure. “In fact, I’ve followed the book industry closely. I looked at a lot of different opportunities and wanted to make sure the next spot I worked was a good opportunity. I looked at a lot of things. I’m surprised that my next step is involved with books but I’m very happy that it is. I love books. I love authors. I love the reading and writing community.”
Rafshoon will be responsible for the festival’s programming, he said.
“They have a planning committee that does the logistics and have a fantastic team of volunteers,” he said. “I’ll be responsible for putting together the program, the panels at the festival.”
The Decatur Book Festival is one of the largest such festivals in the country. Some 80,000 people attended last year, Rafshoon said.
“It’s sort of hard to believe how quickly it’s grown into a festival that size. We always knew there was a good literary community here but there wasn’t a festival here that celebrated it. I’m really looking forward to working the readers, writers and organizations that make up the Decatur book community,” Rafshoon addded. “It’s going to be a big challenge to make this festival a continued success and I’m thankful to continue working in the literary scene.”
The festival will take place over Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 30 – Sept. 1, 2013) in historic downtown Decatur. For more information, please visit www.decaturbookfestival.com.
Top photo: AJC Decatur Book Festival’s new Program Director Philip Rafshoon (courtesy photo)