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  • First slide is Thelonious Rising

    Thelonious Rising

    by Judith Richards

    Nine–year-old Thelonious Monk DeCay is a tapdancer and harmonica player in Jackson Square, New Orleans. With taps made from Coca Cola bottle caps and his natural charisma, Monk earns money and delights tourists. Secretly, he is saving for the day when he will go in search of his father, a brilliant jazz pianist who has been missing since Monk was three. Thelonious Rising is the uplifting story of a family’s struggle to find one another in the chaos of a national disaster and ordinary life interrupted. 

  • Second slide is The shoe Burning

    The Shoe Burnin'

    by 24 Contributors

    The first Shoe Burnin’ occurred on a cold winter’s night some years ago in Alabama; when the firewood ran out, a box of old shoes provided the assembled group of friends and artists with the fuel they needed to stock the hearth and share stories and songs late into the night. The bond forged that night began a tradition of fireside Shoe Burnin’s, and in remembrance, many stories and songs shared since have involved shoes — all the places they trod and the myriad experiences of those who wore them. The Shoe Burnin'; Stories of Southern Soul is a collection of those works.

  • The third slide is Waffle House Rules

    Waffle House Rules

    by Joe Formichella

    The “Last Best Class” of Fish River Community School had lost one of its members every year since the second grade. Waffle Houses were popping up throughout small-town Alabama with one corporate rule: "Good Food Fast." Struggling to cope with the tragedy that shadowed him most of his life, Dr. Jimmy Ryan dedicated himself to bringing people back from the brink, driven by his own guiding principle: "Ain't Dead Yet." Not until Jimmy's own death did the folks at the Waffle House in Penelope, Alabama, learn the full extent of the secrets buried with the dead — secrets resurrected over hot coffee refills at the Waffle House. 

  • The shoe Burning Story

    The Shoe Burnin' Story

    Hear the stories firsthand from the contributors

Featured Author

Judith Richards

Before becoming a writer, Judith Richards was an actress, an animal trainer, and a carny hauling pig-iron, managing big rides on America's midways. Thelonious Rising, her sixth novel, reflects her lifelong love of music and fascination with the city of New Orleans. A Midwesterner gone South, Judith's marriage to author C. Terry Cline, Jr. first piqued her interest in writing. Since then, two of her six novels won the Alabama Library Association award for fiction, and Too Blue to Fly was nominated for the Lillian Smith Award. Her novel, Summer Lightning, has been in print since 1978, and has been read in 17 languages.


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