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.

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