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Sapphire to Headline City Tech’s 2011 Literary Arts Festival on April 12

Photo credit: Nikibi

Bestselling author and poet Sapphire, whose novel Push  became the Oscar-winning 2009 film Precious, will read from her work at City Tech’s 30th Annual Literary Arts Festival, to be held in the College’s 900-seat Klitgord Center Auditorium, 285 Jay Street (at Tillary), Downtown Brooklyn, on Tuesday, April 12, 2011. The festival begins at 5:45 p.m., with Sapphire scheduled to read at 6:45 p.m. Admission is free and the festival is open to the public. For more information, contact Prof. George Guida, festival coordinator and host, at

Sapphire will be introduced by Michael Cirelli, director of the high school poetry program Urban Word NYC, and will share the stage with the Norwegian jazz/poetry ensemble The Science Fair, and with City Tech’s own award-winning student and faculty writers.

Her long-awaited second novel, The Kid, will be published by Penguin in April.

Sapphire’s novel Push (1996) won the Book-of-the-Month Club’s Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s First Novelist Award, and in Great Britain, the Mind Book of the Year Award. Precious received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, in addition to the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Awards in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at Sundance.

Sapphire is author of two collections of poetry. The first, American Dreams, was cited by Publisher’s Weekly as “One of the strongest debut collections of the nineties.” About her latest book of poetry, Poets & Writers Magazine wrote, “With her soul on the line in each verse, her latest collection, Black Wings & Blind Angels, retains Sapphire’s incendiary power to win hearts and singe minds.”

Sapphire’s work has been translated into more than 15 languages and has been adapted for stage in the United States, South Africa and Europe. She has performed her work at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Franklin Furnace, the Bowery Poetry Club, Literaurwerkstadt in Berlin and Apples & Snakes in London.

Her poetry, fiction and commentary have appeared in The Black Scholar, Bomb, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review.

Sapphire has taught literature, fiction and poetry workshops at SUNY Purchase, Trinity College and the Writer’s Voice in New York City. She has taught graduate writing workshops in MFA programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research. In 1990, she received an Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Award from Joyce Dinkins, then First Lady of New York City, for her work with literacy students in Harlem and the Bronx.

In 2010 she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Brooklyn College and she was a recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship in 2009. She lives in New York City.

This year’s festival is sponsored by City Tech’s Departments of English and African American Studies and generous grants from Poets and Writers, Inc., and the New York City College of Technology Foundation. Light refreshments will be served.


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