Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sapphire Comes to Spartanburg


They call Spartanburg the Sparkle City. Sapphire brought some of it there on Thursday (December 8).

The author, best known for her book Push, visited the Spartanburg County Public Library's Headquarters location December 8 as a part of library's Fall Into Reading Series. Sapphire also talked about her latest book, The Kid, which follows the life of Precious Jones' son, Abdul.

The first part of the event was a discussion with WSPA's Amy Wood (thanks for the shout-out, Amy!). Sapphire said that she wanted to highlight child abuse in both of her books and used the Penn State and Syracuse as current examples.

"A book has a long life," she said. "There were people fifteen years ago who couldn't read Push. Now it has a common place. There are generations and generations that go through it (child abuse) and they don't deal with it because we don't rip it open and look at it."
Sapphire talking to Amy Wood

As many of us know, Push was made into the movie Precious, which won 2 Oscars. Sapphire said it took 15 years for the book to become a movie. She said the people who approached her were either not in the Hollywood scene or had "no conception" of what the movie was about. One person wanted Brandy to play Precious. She gave credit to director Lee Daniels for the success of the movie.
"He really wanted to know," she said. "He really wanted to be true to the task. He wanted it to be authentic."
Sapphire said that both Precious and Abdul wanted to be accepted, but in different ways.
"Abdul was trying to get his power back, but Precious was trying to be loved," she said.
After the discussion, people had a chance to ask questions, which varied from how to get published to how to inspired kids. One doctor who recently graduated from medical school asked about child abuse.
Sapphire is working on another novel about women who deal with the healthcare system and poverty. She is also working on a poetry book and plans to write another novel about Abdul. She says that her books can be an inspiration to other on the will to survive.
"It's the little things that allow us to survive," she said. "We have to grab the little rays of hope."

ETA 10/4/12: The Spartanburg County Public Library finally uploaded the full interview with Sapphire. You can watch it here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sapphire Coming to Spartanburg


Sapphire, author of the best-selling novel Push, will be at the Spartanburg County Public Library on Thursday, December 8.

This event will be a part of the library's first Fall For Reading series, where readings will have coffee and conversations with the author.

Sapphire will not only be promoting Push (which was the basis of the movie Precious), but her new novel The Kid, which follows the life of Precious' son, Abdul.

Yours truly will be making the three-hour drive up I-26 to Spartanburg to attend this event. I will be posting and writing about the experience next week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Reading Diva is in Living Roots!

Ten years ago, I started on my journey on becoming a newspaper reporter. With a brand new college degree in Print Journalism, I went out to work for a newspaper in Upstate South Carolina. If you know my full name, Google it and you may find a few of my articles still out there from that time.

Let's just say my career in newspapers lasted shorter than the time it took for me to get that degree.

It took me a long time to get the courage to write again. One of the reasons I started this blog was to get my writing mojo back.

So when a new magazine started in my area, I decided to take a chance and start writing for a publication again.

A year and some bumps in the road later, I finally got to see my byline in Living Roots Magazine yesterday!

In every issue, which is bimonthly, I will be writing about books (duh!). I will be writing about authors, book events in South Carolina (including an event I will be traveling to Spartanburg for next week) and book reviews.

My first story features Azuree Fulmore, an author based in the Charleston area. I met her though one of my friends and got a chance to talk to her about her two books, in which one of them will be released in the new year.

If you live in the Charleston area, you can get Living Roots for free at area Barnes and Noble and Piggly Wiggly stores. If you don't live in the area, you can check out their Website (and even get a subscription).

Thanks to the staff at Living Roots for giving me a chance!

ETA 11/30/11: If you want to read the magazine, here it is! My story is on pages 18 and 19.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts at Avery


Author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts visited the College of Charleston's Avery Research Center November 10 to discuss her book, Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America.

This was Rhodes-Pitts' second stop while visiting Charleston. She spoke to the Charleston Library Society earlier in the day as a part of their Wide Angle Lunches series.

After reading a section from her book, Rhodes-Pitts took questions from the audience. She said that book is not necessary a memoir, but a book in which the residents of Harlem discuss and encounter the past. She found out while living there that she enjoyed the stories of the residents.

"When I got there and talked to the elders and looking at pictures, I got an obsession with the past," Rhodes-Pitts said. "I wanted to know the back story of the story."

Rhodes-Pitts, a Harvard grad and Fullbright scholar, is currently living in New Orleans but will be leaving for Haiti soon. She will be writing a book about the county, as well as the book about the South.

I really glad that I found out about this event. I wanted to go to the luncheon she was at earlier in the day, but I would have to leave work (and pay $25). It was by Twitter that I found out that she was also going to be at Avery. And it was free!

The audience got to interact with Rhodes-Pitts and she was very nice. She was able to answer one-on-one questions and was interested to hear about the history of Charleston from several people. This was her first trip to Charleston and hopes to come back soon.

ETA 11/23/11: Rhodes-Pitts talks to Tavis Smiley about her book here.