Sapphire is an American poet, essayist, novelist, and performance poet.
Her works include two best-selling novels, Push and The Kid.
The New York Times best-seller, Push—about an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager—won the Book-of-the-Month Club 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.
Additionally, Push was named by the Village Voice as one of the top 25 books of 1996 and by Timeout New York as one of the top 10 books of 1996. Push was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction.
The book was made into the Academy Award-winning major motion film, Precious, and the film adaptation received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.
In her second novel, The Kid, Sapphire gives voice to Precious's son, telling the electrifying story of Abdul Jones.
Sapphire is also the author of two collections of poetry, American Dreams and Black Wings & Blind Angels. Library Journal calls Sapphire’s poetry “spiky and uncompromising” and describes her as a “poet of slick-talking, nearly hallucinatory riffs on growing up poor, tough, and black in America.”
Sapphire's work has been translated into 13 languages and has been adapted for stage in the United States and Europe. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in The Black Scholar, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, The Teacher's Voice, The New Yorker, Spin, and Bomb.
She has performed her work at the legendary Nuyorican Poet's Café, Franklin Furnace, the Bowery Poetry Club, Literaturwerkstadt in Berlin, and Apples & Snakes in London.
Sapphire was the 1994 recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Scholarship in Poetry and the first place winner in Downtown magazine’s Year of the Poet III Award for 1994.