search image
Joshilyn Jackson Summer Reading Series: Louis Bayard & Piper Huguley
Thursday, June 23
7:00 - 8:00pm

Joshilyn Jackson Reads Summer Reading Series is back for 2022! This series is part of the Decatur Book Festival. Join us for the third night featuring Louis Bayard (Jackie & Me) and Piper Huguley (By Her Own Design) in conversation with author and journalist (and returning co-moderator) Nicki Salcedo. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. COVID-19 safety protocols are in place for the in-person event; masking and vaccination required. Scroll for details. This series is a partnership between the Decatur Book Festival and the Georgia Center for the Book. We hope you’ll purchase copies of these books from Eagle Eye Book Shop, our bookstore partner for this event. Links below, and they’ll be available at the event as well.


The 2022 Joshilyn Jackson Reads Summer Reading Series, featuring Nicki Salcedo and Carmen Tanner Slaughter, is part of the Decatur Book Festival, brought to you in partnership with the Georgia Center for the Book. The Decatur Book Festival will be back in person for October 2022 at First Baptist Church Decatur! Visit to keep up-to-date with all festival news, or follow them on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Jackie & Me:

Bestselling author Louis Bayard is back with a brilliantly wrought, witty, and sensitive novel about the young Jacqueline Bouvier before she became that Jackie–and about a marriage that almost never happened.

In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working as the Inquiring Photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming Congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in Washington, DC. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician, and soon she and Jack are bantering over secret dinner dates and short work phone calls. Jack, busy with House duties during the week and Senate campaigning on the weekend (as well as his other now-well-known extracurricular activities) convinces his best friend and fixer, Lem Billings, to court Jackie on his behalf. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife, whether Jack is interested in settling down or not.

Taking place mostly during the spring and summer before Jack and Jackie’s wedding, and narrated by an older Lem as he looks back at his own relationship with the Kennedys and his role in this complicated marriage, Jackie & Me is a searching story about a young woman of a certain class with narrow options, two people who loved each other, and two people who realized too late that they devoted their lives to Jack at their own expense.

Sharply written, steeped in the era and with witty appearances by members of the extended Kennedy clan, this is Jackie as never before seen, in a story about love, sacrifice, friendship, and betrayal.

About By Her Own Design:

The incredible untold story of how Ann Lowe, a Black woman and granddaughter of slaves, rose above personal struggles and racial prejudice to design and create one of America's most famous wedding dresses of all time for Jackie Kennedy.

1953, New York City

Less than a week before the society wedding of the year where Jacqueline Bouvier will marry John F. Kennedy, a pipe bursts at Ann Lowe’s dress shop and ruins eleven dresses, including the expensive wedding dress, a dress that will be judged by thousands. A Black designer who has fought every step of the way, Ann knows this is only one struggle after a lifetime of them. She and her seamstresses will find the way to re-create the dresses. It may take all day and all night for the next week to accomplish the task, but they will do it.

1918, Tampa

Raised in Jim Crow Alabama, Ann learned the art of sewing from her mother and her grandmother, a former slave, who are the most talented seamstresses in the state. After Ann elopes at twelve with an older man who soon proves himself to be an abusive alcoholic, her dreams of becoming a celebrated designer seem to be put on hold. But then a wealthy Tampa socialite sees Ann’s talent and offers her an amazing opportunity—the chance to sew and design clothing for Florida’s society elite. Taking her young son in the middle of the night, Ann escapes her husband and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

Based on the true story of one of the most famous designers of the twenties through the sixties who has since been unjustly forgotten, By Her Own Design is an unforgettable novel of determination despite countless obstacles and a triumph celebrated by the world.

Event Location

First Baptist Church Decatur

By Design: The Story of Ann Lowe, Society's Best Kept Secret (Paperback )

  • By Piper Huguley
  • Price: $16.99
  • ISBN: 9780063059740
  • Published: William Morrow & Company

Jackie and Me (Hardcover )

  • By Louis Bayard
  • Price: $28.00
  • ISBN: 9781643750354
  • Published: Algonquin Books