Guterson pays tribute to “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Bainbridge author David Guterson will speak tonight at the Bainbridge Public Library about “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1960 novel on which Guterson loosely based his bestselling “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is Kitsap Regional Library’s featured title in its “One Book, One Community” program. KRL used a state grant to purchase more than 700 copies of the book to facilitate wide readership and discussion of the Pulitzer prize-winning novel.

Guterson will discuss why “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which deals with race issues in the American South, is still relevant and popular nearly 50 years after its publication.

“I owe a lot to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird,’ Guterson said during a 1995 reading, shortly after “Snow Falling on Cedars” was published. “I followed very much the same structure and addressed the same concerns. I’m glad that book was part of my life.”

Guterson kept “To Kill a Mockingbird” in heavy rotation at Bainbridge High School, where he taught English.

Similar to “Mockingbird,” Guterson’s “Snow” mixes racial tension with courtroom drama.

“No other book had such an enormous impact,” he said. “I read it 20 times in 10 years and it never got old, only richer, deeper and more interesting.”

Guterson’s lecture is at 7 p.m. tonight at the library’s meeting room.