Expect great books from queer authors in 2011, including the recently announced second novel from out performance poet and writer Sapphire. Sapphire is best known for Push, published in 1996, which was the basis for the stunning and Acadmey Award nominated film Precious.
Her first novel in more than a decade, The Kid, is a sort of sequel to Push, telling the story of Precious’ son Abdul Jones. The story is being describe as a portrait of Abdul as he “approaches manhood — alone, brutalized and with the soul of an artist.”
No stranger to telling the stories of the most harrowing human circumstances — Push tackled issues like abuse, incest, rape, poverty, internal racism, and illiteracy with grace and empathy — Sapphire’s second novel is sure to be a powerful narrative.
Ann Godoff, who acquired the novel for Penguin, is also the editor and publisher of the lesbian novel Among Other Things I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney. Of Sapphire’s talent, Godoff says:
Sapphire never fails to render the hardest material comprehensible by coming from a place of love … In her second novel, she fearlessly explores the young life of an African American boy as he approaches manhood; alone, brutalized and with the soul of an artist. It is an honor for The Penguin Press to have the opportunity to publish this extraordinary book.
A poet by trade — Sapphire received her MFA from Brooklyn College in Poetry and was a staple of the early New York slam poetry scene — she has also published three collections of poetry, but it was Push that put her on the mainstream literary map. Random House acquired Push in an auction in 1995, paying $500,000 for the controversial manuscript.
The Kid is slated for release in summer 2011.