The Duluth Fine Arts League has selected “When the Finch Rises” by southern writer Jack Riggs for this year’s Duluth Reads activity. DFAL encourages residents to engage in the shared experience of simultaneously reading the same book and attending related events.
His first book tells the story of two 12-year-old boys Raybert Williams and Palmer Conroy coming in 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.”
After “Finch” was published by Ballantine Books in 2003, Riggs was named Georgia Author of the Year-First Novel. The American Library Association recognized the book as a “Top Ten First Novel," and it is included on the Georgia Center for Books 2010 list of “25 Books All Georgians Should Read.”
“I enjoyed this book,” said Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris, founder and president of DFAL. “He is a local author and teaches at Perimeter College. Duluth READS will always choose a local author, meaning within Georgia and hopefully, Gwinnett, and better yet, Duluth.” Riggs, who lives with his family in Decatur, is the writer in residence at the Writer’s Institute of Georgia Perimeter College. His second book “The Fireman’s Wife” was published in 2008.
DFAL has scheduled a book talk with Riggs attending for March 13 at the in Duluth. A reception honoring the author is planned for March 16 at the . Times will be announced later.
Athens author Terry Kay and his book “To Dance With the White Dog" were featured at the first Duluth Reads program in 2011.