In conversation with Sapphire
The National Poet Laureate of Scotland from 2016 to 2021, Jackie Kay is the author of the celebrated poetry collections Life Mask, Off Colour, and The Adoption Papers, winner of the Scottish Arts Council Book Award. She is also the author of Red Dust Road, a coming-of-age memoir of being a mixed race adopted daughter of communists in 1970s Scotland, as well as several plays, children’s books, and the novel Trumpet, winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize. A fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, she is the chancellor of the University of Salford in Manchester, England. In her latest book, Kay combines history with personal narrative to offer a layered account of the life of the “Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith.
Sapphire is the author of the acclaimed novel Push, which was adapted into the Academy Award–winning film Precious. She is also the author of the novel The Kid and three collections of poetry.