If you haven't read "When the Finch Rises," you still have time to do so and participate in the Duluth Fine Arts League's community reading project.
The Duluth Fine Arts League selected “When the Finch Rises” by southern writer Jack Riggs for this year’s Duluth Reads project. DFAL encourages residents to engage in the shared experience of simultaneously reading the same book and attending related events.
DFAL has scheduled a book talk with Riggs attending for March 13 at the Strickland House in Duluth. The Duluth Historical Society will host the talk. A wine and cheese reception honoring the author including a book signing is planned for March 16 at the Festival Center on Duluth’s Town Green. Both events begin at 7 p.m.
"When the Finch Rises" tells the story of two 12-year-old boys Raybert Williams and Palmer Conroy coming of age in the late 1960s against the background of the civil rights movement.
Riggs' hometown of Lexington, NC, inspired the North Carolina mill town of Ellenton that serves as the setting for the book. “When the Finch Rises” is sometimes compared to “A Separate Peace” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Duluth Reads is co-chaired this year by Peggy Smith and Dianne Loring.
"I enjoyed the novel so much because of the realistic portrayal by Riggs of characters who have to deal with the harsh realities of growing up in an unstable environment in an uncertain time in America's history," said Co-chair Smith. "The main characters were so endearing to me because Riggs creates so much pathos for these characters. I think qnyone who has grown up in the South would appreciate this novel."
"When the Finch Rises" was published in 2003, and Riggs was named Georgia Author of the Year-First Book. His second book “The Fireman’s Wife” was published in 2008. He was honored as Georgia Author of the Year-Fiction in 2009.
"Finch" is included on the Georgia Center for Books 2010 list of “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.”
Riggs is the writer in residence at the Writer’s Institute of Georgia Perimeter College. He and his family live in Decatur.
"I think bringing an author to Duluth is exciting because the readers have an opportunity to find out what the thoughts of the author were as he put his words on paper," Co-chair Loring added.