REYNOLDSVILLE — This year’s Reynoldsville Author Luncheon will feature award-winning author A.S. King and her book “Dig,” which tackles topics of race and racism through the eyes of five young adults.
“‘Dig’ is a book very close to my heart, as it explores the lives of white families and how they move through the world. I have been fascinated by whiteness, my own included, and how it presents itself in a country like America, since I was a child and saw the differences between my experience and the experience of those who are raised in homes where racist ideals were taught,” King said.
King is the recipient of the Printz Honor in 2011 and the Printz award in 2020, and the Los Angeles Times Best Young Adult Book Winner in 2012. Her book “Dig” is the book that was awarded the Printz Award in 2020.
The Printz Award, or the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, honors the best books written for teens based on literary merit each year. The Printz Committee names up to four honor books, which also represent the best writing in YA literature, and the awards are announced at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting.
King was the first woman to win both Printz gold and honors. This is something she herself said she didn’t believe would ever happen.
“As with all my novels, I hope a reader gets from it what they need. The letters I’ve gotten about ‘Dig’ have been beautiful and from a wide age range. Almost all of the letters, whether from a 75-year-old or a 15-year-old, have asked ‘How did you know so much about my family?’ This indicates to me that the work has hit the target,” King said.
King was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and following a period of living in Ireland, she moved back to Pennsylvania. She said her books often take place in Pennsylvania because of this.
Some readers and reviewers have shared they found “Dig” to be a difficult read because of the heavy topics covered. Reynoldsville Librarian Karl Rebon said once you get to a certain point in the book, “you go wow, OK.” He said it’s like peeling the layers of an onion.
“I do not think the book is a difficult read, but I do think the subject matter of race and racism can make some people uncomfortable. I think the best way to learn and grow is to be uncomfortable. If anyone is truly ‘struggling’ to finish any book, I would urge them to stop reading and move to another book,” King said.
King’s writing style takes on a surrealist approach, which focuses more on the characters to get readers to “dig” more into the story and analyze what they read. She said she often gets interested in an idea then “the characters lead the way,” which is the surrealist method.
King will not only be talking about and answering questions about “Dig” but will also be offering stories about her life experiences and lessons she has learned as well. More information about King and her body of work can be found at: as-king.com.
The luncheon is set for Aug. 19 at noon in the St. Mary’s Catholic Church social hall. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the Reynoldsville Public Library.