Wilderness Children Re-Imagines Wrightsville Holocaust Fifty Years Later

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F.L. Wright's new novel, inspired by one of the worst fires in Arkansas' state history, brings to life in stunning detail the children incarcerated in Negro Boys Industrial School.

I started this novel long ago and was recently inspired to complete the book.

Wilderness Children, the page-turning brand new novel from F.L. Wright inspired by the 1959 fire at Negro Boys Industrial School in Wrightsville, Arkansas, reinvigorates a tragic tale from state history. Twenty-one children died in their dilapidated quarters as iron escape-proof bars made them prisoners to a raging fire

"I grew up with this story and writing this book has weighed on my heart for more than 25 years," said Wright. "I started this novel long ago and was recently inspired to complete the book."

Wilderness Children is the quintessential human-interest story. Focusing on the aftermath of a fire the Arkansas Gazette called the Wrightsville Holocaust, Wright's novel is inspired by this heartbreaking episode and attempts to draw moral lessons from the senseless calamity. Abandoned by the school's leaders and trapped by the bars, the boys were left to the mercy of the inferno. By the time fire trucks arrived on scene, 21 boys were dead.

Centered on nine-year-old Jewel, a young runaway, Wilderness Children follows the young boy's journey to learn the maturity and strength he will need to draw upon to achieve unimagined success. His close friends, who make up the Cobra Gang, escaped from the fire only to suffer through heinous crimes, including a botched robbery, do not fare as well.

"In many ways, this incident proved to be a precursor to the modern civil rights movement," said Wright. "Although Governor Faubus launched an investigation into the fire, blame for the fire was never assigned."

Wright's childhood in Wrightsville was informed by the Negro Boys Industrial School fire. Some of his closest friends related stories of the terrible scene - boys huddled up at the exit, blocking escape, other boys creating an escape hatch with pure brute strength and determination. Wilderness Children is informed by a deep sense of history and a special local knowledge. It is a book only Wright could have written and after 25 years, he finally did.

For more information, visit http://www.wildernesschildren.net

F.L. Wright
909 382-1075


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