Philip Rafshoon, former owner of Midtown’s Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, will become the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival’s programming director.
Effective Jan. 1, he will replace Terra Elan McVoy, the young adult author who for two years has served as chief programmer of the country’s largest independent book festival.
McVoy announced her resignation in an email to supporters Thursday, explaining that she needed to focus on her own literary career.
“After seven years of working with the festival, I feel it’s time to concentrate similar energy on my writing and career as an author,” she wrote.
McVoy’s fourth young adult novel, “Being Friends With Boys,” was published by Simon Pulse in May, during crunch time for DBF planning that left little time for book promotion. She will have a new book, “Criminal,” out next May.
Well regarded in Atlanta’s literary community and active in gay and broader human rights issues, Rafshoon owned and operated Outwrite from 1993 until it went out of business in January.
“I went to Philip in the earliest days of DBF planning for advice,” festival executive director Daren Wang said in a statement, “and I feel I still can learn a lot from him.”
McVoy worked at the Decatur children’s bookstore Little Shop of Stories when she became involved in plans for the festival, which launched in 2006. It quickly grew into one of the country’s largest literary gatherings, attracting more than 70,000 over Labor Day weekend this year.
She rose from assistant programming director to programming director in 2011, replacing festival co-founder and longtime friend Tom Bell, who remains with the DBF as a consultant.
Children’s programming, always popular at the DBF, grew under McVoy’s watch, as symbolized by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis, author and illustrator of the young adult novel “Wildwood,” serving as keynote speakers in 2011.
In his new role, Rafshoon, who has served on the American Booksellers Association’s advisory committee, said he will seek to “showcase the diverse literature and culture we provide to an ever-expanding audience.”