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Opinion: A Novel Idea for book lovers

Who remembers the monthly event, A Novel Idea? Several years ago, local author Kathy Florence brought it to Dunwoody, and many of us were regulars at the Monday night book talks at Crema. There, we enjoyed the coffee shop vibe, the food and drink selection, and the opportunity to hear local authors discuss their books.

The pandemic brought all that to a screeching halt, but it’s been revived for 2021. Because coordinating these events required a yeoman’s effort for one person, a team of local authors in Metro Atlanta has now come together to produce them. The group started small by holding virtual sessions in April, June and October. Going forward, they’ll collaborate to produce both virtual and in-person events, and the good news for Dunwoody and the surrounding area is that the first 2021 in-person event is scheduled for Dec. 7.

If you’re a fan from the old days, you know what it’s all about. If you weren’t with us then, but you love reading, this event is for you. A Novel Idea provides an opportunity for you to meet authors, hear about their books and their writing journeys, and ask questions. Attending these events enabled me to discover authors and books I never would have known about if not for these monthly sessions.

In its latest incarnation, the program will feature several authors making presentations, plus time for questions from the audience. All will discuss one or several of their books. The authors invited for December have written either children’s, family-friendl, or holiday-themed books. To me, that means their books are sure to make marvelous holiday gifts — but then I’m a reader and a shopper.

The earlier 2021 virtual sessions featured best-selling authors like Patti Callahan and authors Linda Sands and Brian Panowich, both Georgia Author of the Year award winners. Take a peek at the authors who will join us in December:

• Chris Negron — middle-grade fiction

• Susan Sands — Southern fiction

• Ain Drew/author and Shamar Knight-Justice/illustrator — children’s fiction

• Kathy Manos Penn — cozy mysteries

In more great news, the owner of the Bookmiser bookstore will be on hand so that you can easily purchase the books written by these authors. This truly is a community effort, supported not only by an independent local bookseller but also by the Atlanta Writers Club.

We hope you’ll come out to show your support for these local authors, Bookmiser and Vintage Pizza. That’s right, authors from around the Atlanta Metro area will be featured, but the event will be held in Dunwoody for the foreseeable future. This is a great opportunity to shop local and dine local. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza, sandwiches, or salads, or perhaps just liquid refreshment, you’ll find it at Vintage Pizza. Arrive by 6 p.m. to have a leisurely meal in the dining area or by 6:30 to order food and/or beverages at the bar to be served in the private room.

I will have more information about the featured December authors in an upcoming column. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Award-winning author Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her Dickens & Christie cozy mysteries locally at The Enchanted Forest and Robin Groomingdales and on Amazon. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook.