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Sapphire

Fiction, Poetry

Interviewed by: Angela Elam

Catalog Number: 20120817, 20111111

Born Ramon Lofton, the poet and fiction writer took the name “Sapphire” because of its folkloric associations with beautiful, sexually empowered African-American women in literature, but also to challenge perceptions of the sassy archetype. Best-known for her 1996 novel Push, which became the award-winning 2009 film, Precious, Sapphire has also written books of poetry and prose, including American Dreams and Black Wings and Blind Angels: Poems. Sapphire's 2011 novel, The Kid, follows the son of Clarice “Precious” Jones. She reads from the book and discusses why she takes on the gritty subject matter of violence, racism, and poverty, and how language and literacy have been redemptive in her own life and the lives of her characters.

| Subject Matter: African-American Women, Violence, Racism, Poverty | Interview Year: 2011 | Genre: Fiction, Poetry |

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New Letters is pleased to announce the 2018 winners of the $2,500 Conger Beasley Jr. Prize for Nonfiction, the $1,500 New Letters Prize for Fiction, and the $1,500 Prize for Poetry. See the winners, judges, and finalists here.

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