Atlanta History Center's Author Program Series Brings Distinguished Authors to Town to Discuss and Sign Their Newest Books

Each Program Joins Authors and Audiences in an Intimate Setting for Enlightening Insights, Discussions, and Book Signings

ATLANTA, GA – Join the Atlanta History Center this winter/spring for another full series of literary programs designed to deliver the most varied and distinguished lineup of current, award-winning, and bestselling authors of fiction and nonfiction. These programs join authors and audiences in an intimate setting complete with author presentations filled with enlightening insights, audience discussions, on-site book discounts, and book signings with the author.

Past guest lecturers have included such acclaimed authors as James McPherson, Garrison Keilor, Kelly Corrigan, David Laskin, Jodi Picoult, and Alice Hoffman.

The Atlanta History Center’s new lineup continues to offer audiences a wide variety of subject matter from bestselling biographies of Bob Hope and Frederick Douglass, thought provoking Civil War and World War II books, and some of the biggest names in fiction.

The winter series kicks off with New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison Allen’s new book First Frost, followed by Tess Gerritsen’s new heart-pounding thriller Die Again, and continues through May featuring historians Louis Masur, Tom Chaffin, and John Ferling, and New York Times bestselling authors Gabrielle Zevin, Lisa See, Sara Gruen, and Elizabeth Berg.

Lectures are held at either the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead or at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown. At each lecture, guests receive a 25% discount on the featured author’s book. Admission to all lectures is $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers, and free to AHC Insiders unless noted otherwise. Reservations are required; please call 404.814.4150 or purchase advance tickets online at  

January 2015                                                                                                                                       

Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

Sarah Addison Allen, beloved author of Garden Spells, returns with a luminous story of the trouble with hanging on too long, and the magic that happens when you finally let go.

Autumn has finally arrived in the small town of Bascom, North Carolina, heralded by a strange old man appearing with a beat-up suitcase. He has stories to tell, stories that could change the lives of the Waverley women forever.  But the Waverleys have enough trouble on their hands. Quiet Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies, but it’s nothing like she thought it would be, and it’s slowly taking over her life. Claire’s wild sister Sydney, still trying to leave her past behind, is about to combust with her desire for another new beginning. And Sydney’s fifteen-year-old daughter Bay has given her heart away to the wrong boy and can’t get it back.

Sarah Addison Allen is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper, and Lost Lake. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.

Celebrate the launch of First Frost with a complimentary champagne and desserts reception.

Tess Gerritsen, Die Again

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are back—and they’re going into the wild to find a killer. Die Again is the latest heart-pounding thriller in Tess Gerritsen’s New York Times bestselling series, the inspiration behind TNT’s hit show Rizzoli & Isles.

When Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles are summoned to a crime scene, they find a killing worthy of the most ferocious beast—right down to the claw marks on the corpse. But only the most sinister human hands could have left renowned big-game hunter and taxidermist Leon Gott gruesomely displayed like the once-proud animals whose heads adorn his walls. Did Gott unwittingly awaken a predator more dangerous than any he’s ever hunted?

Tess Gerritsen is a physician and an internationally bestselling author. She gained nationwide acclaim for her first novel of medical suspense, the New York Times bestseller Harvest. She is also the author of the bestsellers The Keepsake, The Bone Garden, The Mephisto Club, Vanish, Body Double, The Sinner, The Apprentice, The Surgeon, Life Support, Bloodstream, and Gravity. Tess Gerritsen lives in Maine.

February 2015

Héctor Fernández L'Hoeste, Ph.D., Cumbia!: Scenes of a Migrant Latin American Music Genre

Thursday, February 5, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

Cumbia is a musical form that originated in northern Colombia and then spread throughout Latin America and wherever Latin Americans travel and settle. It has become one of the most popular musical genres in the Americas. Its popularity is largely due to its stylistic flexibility as it absorbs and mixes with the local musical styles it encounters. Known for its appeal to workers, the music takes on different styles and meanings from place to place, and even, as the contributors to this collection show, from person to person. Cumbia is a different music among the working classes of northern Mexico, Latin American immigrants in New York City, Andean migrants to Lima, and upper-class Colombians, who now see the music that they once disdained as a source of national prestige.

The contributors to this collection look at particular manifestations of cumbia through their disciplinary lenses of musicology, sociology, history, anthropology, linguistics, and literary criticism. Taken together, their essays highlight how intersecting forms of identity – such as nation, region, class, race, ethnicity, and gender – are negotiated through interaction with the music.

Héctor Fernández L'Hoeste is Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Director of the Center for Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Georgia State University. He is coeditor, with Deborah Pacini Hernandez, and Eric Zolov, of Rockin' Las Américas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America.

This program is held in conjunction with the American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music exhibition.

Richard Zoglin, Hope

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

Born in 1903, and until his death in 2003, Bob Hope was the only entertainer to achieve top-rated success in every major mass-entertainment medium, from vaudeville to television and everything in between. He virtually invented modern stand-up comedy. His tours to entertain US troops and patriotic radio broadcasts, along with his all-American, brash-but-cowardly movie character, helped to ease the nation’s jitters during the stressful days of World War II. But he became a polarizing figure during the Vietnam War, and this book sheds new light on his close relationship with President Richard Nixon during those embattled years.Hope is both a celebration of an entertainer whose vast contribution has never been properly appreciated, and a complex portrait of a gifted but flawed man, who, unlike many Hollywood stars, truly loved being famous, appreciated its responsibilities, and handled celebrity with extraordinary grace.

Richard Zoglin has spent more than thirty years as a writer and editor for Time and is currently the magazine’s theater critic. His book Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America is considered the definitive history of that seminal era in stand-up comedy. Zoglin is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and currently lives in New York City.

Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Thursday, February 12, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession – a rare edition of Poe poems – has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Then an unexpected delivery arrives at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in impact, and it gives A.J. a second chance at life and love.

Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books – an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love. Zevin is the author of eight novels, including Elsewhere and, most recently, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which is a New York Times Best Seller,  a #1 Indie Next Pick, and a #1 LibraryReads Selection.

Alan Lightman, The Screening Room

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

From the acclaimed author of the international best seller Einstein’s Dreams, here is a stunning, lyrical memoir of Memphis from the 1930s through the 1960s that includes the early days of the movies and a powerful grandfather whose ghost remains an ever-present force in the lives of his descendants. Alan Lightman’s grandfather M.A. Lightman was the family’s undisputed patriarch: it was his movie theater empire that catapulted the Lightmans to prominence in the South, his fearless success that both galvanized and paralyzed his children and grandchildren. In this moving, impressionistic memoir, the author chronicles his return to Memphis in an attempt to understand the origins he so eagerly left behind forty years earlier.

Alan Lightman is the author of six novels, including the international best seller Einstein’s Dreams and The Diagnosis, which was a National Book Award finalist. He is also the author of two collections of essays and several books on science. A theoretical physicist as well as a writer, he has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities. He lives in the Boston area.

This is a free event in partnership with The Bitter Southerner and A Cappella Books, as part of The Bitter Southerner’s Read Well Book Club. Reservations are recommended. Please call 404.814.4150 or reserve seats online at

Aiken Lecture: Tom Chaffin, Giant’s Causeway: Frederick Douglass’s Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

In 1845, seven years after fleeing bondage in Maryland, Frederick Douglass was in his late twenties and already a celebrated lecturer across the northern United States. The recent publication of his groundbreaking Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave had incited threats to his life, however, and to place himself out of harm's way he embarked on a lecture tour of the British Isles, a journey that would span seventeen months and change him as a man and a leader in the struggle for equality.

In the first major narrative account of a transformational episode in the life of this extraordinary American, Tom Chaffin chronicles Douglass’s 1845-47 lecture tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England.  Drawn from hundreds of letters, diaries, and other primary-source documents – many heretofore unpublished – this far-reaching tale includes vivid portraits of personages who shaped Douglass and his world.

Tom Chaffin is Research Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for which he directs the multi-volume series Correspondence of James K. Polk. He lives in Atlanta and is the author of, among other books, Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah and Pathfinder: John Charles Frémont and the Course of American Empire.

Support: The Aiken Lecture Series is supported by the Lucy Rucker Aiken Foundation.

Kate Alcott, A Touch of Stardust

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job she's able to find is one in the studio publicity department of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick – who is busy burning through directors, writers, and money as he begins filming Gone With the Wind.  Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone With the Wind come to life. Her access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world she shares with Clark Gable – who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

In the ever-widening scope of this story, Julie is given a front-row seat to not one, but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and, off-screen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark.

Kate Alcott is the author of The Dressmaker and The Daring Ladies of Lowell.

March 2015

New Voices Series: Jamie Kornegay with special guest Susan Rebecca White, Soil

Monday, March 16, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

Join the Margaret Mitchell House for the first in a series of free events designed to showcase new voices in fiction. Jamie Kornegay is an independent bookseller and debut novelist, his first book, Soil, is a darkly comic novel about an idealistic young farmer who moves his family to a Mississippi flood basin, suffers financial ruin, and becomes increasingly paranoid he’s being framed for murder.

Drawing on elements of classic Southern noir, dark comedy, and modern dysfunction, Soil is about the gravitational pull of one man’s apocalypse and the hope that maybe, just maybe, he can be reeled in from the brink.

Jamie Kornegay lives in the Mississippi Delta, where he moved in 2006 to establish an independent bookstore, Turnrow Book Co. Before that he was a bookseller, events coordinator, and radio show producer at the famous Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. He studied creative fiction under Barry Hannah at the University of Mississippi.

This program is free and open to the public, though reservations are recommended. Please call 404.814.4150 or reserve seats online at

Frye Gaillard, Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters

Thursday, March 19, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

In Journey Into the Wilderness award-winning author Frye Gaillard reflects on the Civil War and the way we remember it, through the lens of letters written by his family members, including great-great grandfather, Thomas Gaillard, and Thomas’s sons, Franklin and Richebourg, both of whom were Confederate officers. As Gaillard explains in his deeply felt introductory essay to the book, he came of age in a Southern generation that viewed the war as a glorious lost cause. But as he read through family letters collected and handed down, he confronted a far more sobering truth.

Frye Gaillard is writer in residence at the University of South Alabama and the award-winning author of more than twenty books, including Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America, winner of the Lillian Smith Award,  Watermelon Wine, and The Books That Mattered: A Reader's Memoir.

Lisa See, China Dolls

Sunday, March 22, 2015

4:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

Lisa See has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. In her new novel, China Dolls See turns her attention to San Francisco.

The year is 1938 and a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Three young women from very different backgrounds meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Dreams of Joy, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Flower Net (an Edgar Award nominee), The Interior, and Dragon Bones, as well as the critically acclaimed memoir On Gold Mountain. The Organization of Chinese American Women named her the 2001 National Woman of the Year. She lives in Los Angeles.

Ticket includes program admission and a paperback copy of China Dolls. Tickets are $20 members; $25 nonmembers. Reservations are required, please call 404.814.4150 or reserve tickets online at

April 2015

An Evening with Sara Gruen, At the Water’s Edge

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

In this new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s personal awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in a Scottish Highlands village.

Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of a mythical monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. What Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities.

Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Water for ElephantsApe HouseRiding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Her works have been translated into forty-three languages and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. She lives in western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world’s fussiest goat.

Tickets are $30 members; $35 nonmembers. Ticket includes program admission, light refreshments, and a copy of At the Water’s Edge. Reservations are required, please call 404.814.4150 or reserve tickets online at

A Cappella Books is the official bookseller for this program, and will have additional Sara Gruen books available for purchase at the event.

Elson Lecture: Louis Masur, Lincoln’s Last Speech: Wartime Reconstruction and the Crisis of Reunion

Thursday, April 9, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

What did Abraham Lincoln envision when he talked about "reconstruction?" Assassinated in 1865, the president did not have a chance to begin the work of reconciling the North and South, nor to oversee Reconstruction as an official postwar strategy. Yet his final speech, given to thousands gathered in the rain outside the White House on April 11, 1865, gives a clear indication of what Lincoln's postwar policy might have looked like – one that differed starkly from what would emerge in the tumultuous decade that followed.

Louis P. Masur is Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, The Civil War: A Concise History and Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union.

Support: The Elson Lectures feature scholarly addresses by our nation’s prominent historians and are made possible with generous funding from Ambassador and Mrs. Edward Elson.

Livingston Lecture: Jonathan Schneer, Ministers at War: Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

In May 1940, with France on the verge of defeat, Britain alone stood in the path of the Nazi military juggernaut. Survival seemed to hinge on the leadership of Winston Churchill, whom the King reluctantly appointed Prime Minister as Germany invaded France. Churchill's reputation as one of the great twentieth-century leaders would be forged during the coming months and years, as he worked tirelessly first to rally his country and then to defeat Hitler. But Churchill, regarded as the savior of his nation, and of the entire continent, could not have done it alone.

As prize-winning historian Jonathan Schneer reveals in Ministers at War, Churchill depended on a team of powerful ministers to manage the war effort as he rallied a beleaguered nation. Selecting men from across the political spectrum – from fellow Conservative Anthony Eden to leader of the opposing socialist Labor Party Clement Attlee – Churchill assembled a War Cabinet that balanced competing interests and bolstered support for his national coalition government. The group possessed a potent blend of talent, ambition, and egotism.

Jonathan Schneer is a professor of history at Georgia Tech. The author of The Balfour Declaration, which won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award, Schneer lives in Decatur, Georgia.

Support: The Livingston Lectures are made possible with generous funding from the Livingston Foundation of Atlanta.

May 2015

Elson Lecture: John Ferling, Whirlwind: A History of the American Revolution

Monday, May 4, 2015

8:00 pm

Location: Atlanta History Center

Whirlwind is a fast-paced and scrupulously told one-volume history of the American Revolution. Balancing social and political concerns of the period and perspectives of the average American revolutionary with a careful examination of the war itself, Ferling has crafted the ideal book for armchair military history buffs, a book about the causes of the American Revolution, the war that won it, and the meaning of the Revolution overall. Combining careful scholarship, arresting detail, and illustrative storytelling, Whirlwind is a unique and compelling addition to any collection of books on the American Revolution.

John Ferling is professor emeritus of history at the University of West Georgia. He is the author of many books on American Revolutionary history, including The Ascent of George WashingtonAlmost a Miracle, an acclaimed military history of the War of Independence; and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark. His most recent book on American history is Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation.

Support: The Elson Lectures feature scholarly addresses by our nation’s prominent historians and are made possible with generous funding from Ambassador and Mrs. Edward Elson.

Elizabeth Berg, The Dream Lover

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

7:00 pm

Location: Margaret Mitchell House

In The Dream Lover we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside, to start a new life in Paris. There, she renames herself George Sand and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.  

Illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society, The Dream Lover, features many of Sand’s famous lovers and friends, including Frederic Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, Alfred de Musset, and more.  Considered one of the most gifted geniuses of her time, Sand welcomes fame as she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, the pain of her childhood, and the disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter.

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, Talk Before Sleep, The Pull of the Moon, Tapestry of Fortunes, The Last Time I Saw You, Home Safe, The Year of Pleasures, and Dream When You’re Feeling Blue.  Her novels Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She divides her time between Chicago and San Francisco.


About Us

The Atlanta History Center is an all-inclusive destination featuring the Atlanta History Museum; two historic houses, 1928 Swan House and 1860 Smith Family Farm; the Centennial Olympic Games Museum; Kenan Research Center; Grand Overlook event space; Chick-Fil-A at the Coca-Cola Café, a museum shop, and the Goizueta Gardens, featuring 22 acres of gardens, walkways, paths and trails. In addition, the History Center operates the Margaret Mitchell House located in Midtown Atlanta.