AJC Decatur Book Festival returns with an LGBT flair

The largest independent book festival in the nation is back Labor Day Weekend as the AJC Decatur Book Festival celebrates 10 years of author readings, book signings, panel discussions and more. Revolutionary...

Annual Decatur Book Fest features plenty of LGBT fare

The annual AJC Decatur Book Festival attracts thousands of bibliophiles each year to metro Atlanta to partake in a vast vendor market as well as dozens of author events and seminars to listen to and learn from ...
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Former Outwrite owner speaks out on new gig with AJC Decatur Book Fest

Philip Rafshoon

Philip Rafshoon, the former owner of the now shuttered Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, has been named the new program director for the AJC Decatur Book Festival.

“I'm studying right now and trying to figure out what exactly has been done at the festival in the previous years and talking to people about what they want to see changed and what will work,” Rafshoon told GA Voice today. “I'm celebrating right now that I have this great position but the work begins right away.”

Rafshoon will officially take up the position Jan. 1 and will replace outgoing program director Terra Elan McVoy.

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‘Once upon a time we were there and fabulous’

The closing of Outwrite Bookstore & More should serve as a clarion call to LGBT shoppers who like the idea of having their own spaces, but still don’t shop locally because it isn’t as easy as buying online.

That’s the hope of Sara Luce Look, lesbian co-owner of feminist bookstore Charis Books & More, which opened in Atlanta in 1974, some 19 years before Outwrite’s debut.

“We want people to shop here because they value independent thought and voices,” Look said. “We are all really sad about Outwrite and feel it as a huge loss for our community. It really hits home for us.”

Outwrite closed and declared bankruptcy on Jan. 26 after years of financial struggle. Founded in 1993, the store moved to the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in 1995 and become known as an unofficial LGBT community center, hosting frequent author readings.

“In the past nine months, as we first started talking about our financial problems, we have heard from so many people who talked about how important the store has been to them. That was the reason why they come to Atlanta, or moved to Atlanta,” said Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon.

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‘Save Outwrite’ donations returned to benefactors

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse owner Philip Rafshoon, who closed his iconic Atlanta LGBT bookstore on Jan. 26 and filed bankruptcy the same day, said today donations to the Save Outwrite campaign are being returned to donors. He also said all employees were paid.

Rafshoon announced in November that Outwrite would have to move from its home at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue because its rent was too high. He told the public that the plan was to find a location with cheaper rent and started a “Save Outwrite Books” campaign soliciting donations for moving costs.

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Outwrite owes more than $500,000 to creditors, bankruptcy filing shows

Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse owes $184,000 in state sales taxes from the past four years and has more than $500,000 in total debts owed, according to court documents filed in U.S. bankruptcy court. The store listed more than $78,000 in total assets, records show.

Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon announced Jan. 26 the independent LGBT bookstore was closing permanently. Founded in 1993 and located at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue for the past 15 years, Outwrite was an iconic Midtown landmark. The bankruptcy filing was made early Thursday morning, about the same time a press release went out stating the store would not relocate as previously said.

Rafshoon announced in November that Outwrite would have to move because its rent was too high. He told the public that the plan was to find a location with cheaper rent and even started  a campaign soliciting donations for moving costs, launched with a $1,000 donation from the Lloyd E. Russell Foundation. The store held a “Last Tango” event on Tuesday with numerous author readings.