In her 1996 novel Push
, Sapphire ventured into the profoundly dark territory of a young black girl's experience growing up in late-'80s Harlem. The book dealt with the difficult topics of incest, rape, AIDS, illiteracy, poverty and violence toward infants, yet none of this prevented the 2009 film adaptation, Precious
(produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry), from becoming an award-winning smash. Last summer, fifteen years after Push
was published, Sapphire released her follow-up novel, The Kid
, a similarly disturbing look into the dark worlds of abuse and torment, this time following Precious's son, Abdul, after Precious has died of AIDS.
Sapphire will be at the Tattered Cover on Tuesday, June 26, to read from the new paperback edition of The Kid; we caught up with her to discuss the book and ventured into such topics as Hollywood, J.T. Leroy and why readers don't empathize with male characters.