This week, the Georgia Center for the Book announced the very first list of “25 books young Georgians should read.” And guess what? ANY WHICH WALL was on the list!
I’m hugely honored of course, and it was super fun to get together with a great group of writers for the reception. But perhaps the best part of the experience for me was that for the first time, standing in a room full of friends, I really did feel like an actual “Georgia writer.”
For the last 6 years I’ve expended a lot of energy thinking about whether my family was going to stay in Atlanta, or move (likely back to the Midwest or the Mid Atlantic). All along, it felt a little odd to become too involved locally if I was going to uproot the minute I got settled.
But then, this spring, we bought a new house, and moved into a neighborhood that makes us really happy, and my husband found a new job that he really likes. And for the first time– Atlanta fit us. In a way that felt fully sustainable. Each week, for the last few months, as I’ve wandered around the Farmer’s Market, or grabbed a bite to eat near my house, I have felt like I’m right where I should be. Funny.
So in a way, the reception he other night felt like a physical celebration of that for me. It felt like I was graduating to being a Georgian or something. I looked around at so many friends and thought to myself–why would I leave this world of writers, of friends?
Lately, it feels like there’s a rising tide here. I meet more and more writers in Atlanta. In the oddest places. And though Atlanta can be a hard place to build a community–because it is just so big and sprawly and decentralized–it does seem like something is happening. Folks I met when I moved here, who were struggling to publish, are suddenly selling books. Old writer-friends from elsewhere are suddenly relocating to Atlanta. And people like me who were planning to leave are staying. Then, between organizations like the Georgia Center for the Book and the Decatur Book Festival and a crop of new booktores, it feels like we have a structure too, a support system.
So here I am, an Atlanta writer, waiting to see what’s going to happen next. And thankful to be part of it all!
Thanks to the Georgia Center for the Book, and to Joe Davich and Bill Starr for all their hard work and vision. Thanks to Elizabeth Dulemba for being a tireless advocate for children’s literature. And thanks to the other writers who make Georgia someplace I want to call home.