Thu., February 4, 2010 1:17pm (EST)

Savannah Book Festival 2010
By Orlando Montoya
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Updated: 4 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
For the story on race and identifications, these two mug shots and the composite sketch might help you better understand Jennifer Thompson's position. After she was attacked, she misidentified Ronald Cotton as the man who raped her. Bobby Poole was the real attacker. In the last photo, Cotton and Thompson are seen at a rally for Troy Anthony Davis. (photos Burlington Police Dept. / Erin Torneo / St. Martin's Press)
This year's Savannah Book Festival picks up where the last one left off and shows how much the city has to offer in terms of literary talent.

This is, after all, the city that produced Flannery O'Connor, Conrad Aiken and John Berendt's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

Savannahian James McPherson was the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Ogden Nash grew up here. I could go on.

So, it's with pleasure every year that I look forward to talking with authors appearing at this relatively new festival. It's just two years old.

This year, I talked with four authors. And you'll find their stories below.

First, there's Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton's book, "Picking Cotton." It's a tale that involves injustice, mistaken identity, racism and, ultimately, friendship and forgiveness.

Next, there's George Dawes Green's book, "Ravens." Green is either known to you as an author or the founder of public radio's "The Moth," depending on how you first discovered him.

I first heard about him through "The Moth," which is a live storytelling community, something everyone had ages ago. "Ravens" made me think even more about what motivates Green. It is, he says, the ideal life, an idea that, I think, goes through both "The Moth" and "Ravens."

Finally, there's David Kirby's book on the everlasting Little Richard. We didn't feature this book on the radio, so it's an exclusive for all you webbies.

Of course, Little Richard has a special connection to Macon, but Kirby also posits that the musician started rock and roll. He says, it was a Little Richard song that kicked the whole thing off.

And you might or might not be surprised to learn a little more about his relationship with his father, who rejected his son's sexuality and music until just before he was killed. Sexuality and rock-and-roll. What a combination. So, that was an interesting bit.

The festival runs this weekend. And if you want a full line-up of speakers, go this the website below. Many of you might be interested in the Friday night concert, which is a folk music tribute to Eudora Welty.

And, from Savannah, happy reading!

Savannah Book Festival Website


About 20 years ago, Ronald Cotton was standing in a police line-up. On the other side of the glass, Jennifer Thompson picked him as the man who raped her. From that moment on, their lives were linked. Years later, when DNA evidence proved Cotton innocent, Thompson and Cotton embarked on a journey of friendship and forgiveness. Click for more:
Little Richard is the beginning of Rock and Roll. That's the conclusion of David Kirby, who's written a book about one of Georgia's musical ambassadors, a Macon native, who is now 77 years old. Kirby also explores Richard's role in changing attitudes about sexuality, his hard relationship with his father and his attidues about his boyhood home. Click for more:

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George Dawes Green had a big, early success in his writing Career: The Juror, a New York Times best-setlling thriller-turned-movie. But he always wanted to write about his hometown, Brunswick. Now his gritty Ravens probably won't make him a fan of the city's Chamber of Commerce. That is, unless it turns out to be Brunswick's version of Savannah's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He'll appear at the Savannah Book Festival. Click for more:

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