Monday, August 29, 2011

Janisse Ray launches new book on Altamaha River

Nationally acclaimed Georgia author Janisse Ray will launch her new book at the Decatur Book Festival this weekend. DRIFTING INTO DARIEN explores Ray's lifelong relationship with the Altamaha River in southeast Georgia.

The first part of the book chronicles a paddling trip along the entire length of the Altamaha, from where it begins at the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers to where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean near the town of Darien.

Born in Baxley, Georgia, which sits about ten miles from the Altamaha, Ray once fell in the river as a baby and both her family’s history and her own repeatedly connect with the river.

In the second part of the book, Ray writes about many facets of the Altamaha’s ecological significance and some of the threats to its remarkable biodiversity. The Altamaha, which has been the focus of decades of conservation effort by the Nature Conservancy, is the largest free-flowing, intact water system on the Atlantic coast and is home to more than 120 rare and endangered species.

Ray is the author of four books of literary nonfiction and a collection of poetry. Her debut book Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was considered groundbreaking for environmental writing because it brought attention not to a pristine region, but to the heavily timbered landscape of southeast Georgia which had once been covered in longleaf pine forest.

Ray also wrote powerfully about her family’s connection to the land and included topics such as mental illness, poverty and fundamentalist religion which were unusual in the nature writing genre.

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood was a New York Times Notable Book and was chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read in 2002.

Ray has lectured and taught widely and is currently on faculty at Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program. She makes her home with her husband and son on a farm in southern Georgia where she attempts to live a simple, sustainable life.

As Georgia novelist Tina McElroy Ansa notes in praise for Drifting into Darien, “Janisse Ray is, and always has been, the real authentic deal.”

Selected event details -- for more visit

Saturday, September 3 @ 5:30 pm - Atlanta, GA
Decatur Book Festival (
Decatur Conference Stage (Ballroom B)
Free and open to the public

Saturday, September 26 @ 7:00 pm – Baxley, GA
Appling County Public Library, 300 City Hall Drive
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, October 11 @ 7:00 pm – Athens, GA
Seney-Stovall Chapel, 201 N. Milledge Ave.
Free and open to the public

Thursday, October 13 @ 6:00 pm – Darien, GA
Darien Waterfront Wine and Gourmet, 107 Broad St.
Book signing to benefit Altamaha Riverkeeper
$30 ticket includes wine and hors d’oeuvres

Tuesday, October 18 @ 7:15 pm – Atlanta, GA
Georgia Center for the Book
Reading with John Lane and Thomas Rain Crowe
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, October 25 @ 6 pm – Statesboro, GA
COBA (College of Business Administration) Room 1124, Forest Drive
Georgia Southern University
Free and open to the public

Thursday, November 3 @ 7 pm – Brunswick, GA
Brunswick-Glynn County Library, 208 Gloucester St.
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, November 8 @ 6:30 pm – Moultrie, GA
Moultrie-Colquitt County Library, 204 5th Street Southeast
Free and open to the public