Sapphire is the author of the best-selling novel Push, adapted and renamed to become the blockbuster movie Precious in 2009. Having encountered girls like Precious as a remedial reading teacher in Harlem, Sapphire said about Push in an NPR interview, "I had the intense feeling that if I didn't write this book no one else would. . . . I wanted to show that this girl is locked out through literacy. She's locked out by her physical appearance. She's locked out by her class, and she's locked out by her color."
The 1996 novel tells the story of Precious Jones, an illiterate 16-year-old, raped and impregnated by her father, battered by her mother, ignored by the authorities, and saved by a determined and radical teacher. The novel follows her journey of education and enlightenment as she learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it truly her own.
Sapphire will introduce ALA Annual attendees to her recent novel, The Kid (2011), which brings readers deep into the interior life of Abdul Jones, son of Precious. The Kid delivers a generational story that moves with the speed of thought from a Mississippi dirt farm to Harlem in its heyday; from a troubled Catholic orphanage to downtown artists’ lofts, as it tells of a 21st-century young man’s fight to find the path to his future. A testament to the ferocity of the human spirit, the nourishing power of love and of art, The Kid becomes a young man about to take flight.
Sapphire is also the author of two collections of poetry and a 2009 recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship. Precious received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance.
The author appears courtesy of the Penguin Group.
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