Opus Exclusive: Sue Monk Kidd

We’re so thrilled that Sue Monk Kidd will join us for this year’s virtual Opus & Olives gala. In preparation for the big event, we asked Sue a few questions to help you get to know her better.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.
Here are four somethings that most people don’t know about me:      

  1. I received my first writing award at 15 when I placed 3rd in a high school essay contest on the topic, “The History of Electricity.” My entry was written from the perspective of a light bulb named Edison.
  2. Drawing has been my hobby since childhood. It helps me to see the world more clearly. I rarely, if ever, show anyone my sketches, but here goes.
From my Sketchbook

3. Though I have no musical talent, I regularly serenade my husband and our dog with my Bluetooth karaoke microphone. My standby song: Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.”                 

4. I’m a boxer. I box twice a week in red boxing gloves. I have a decent right hook.

What do you want people to know about this book?
The Book of Longings is a reimagining of historical tradition in which 20-year-old Jesus marries a young woman named Ana. While Jesus is a significant character, he’s not the main character. The story in the novel belongs to Ana. Intellectually gifted, daring, and about two millennia ahead of her time, she longs to become a scribe and write the lost, forgotten stories of women. She longs to have a voice. The novel unfolds the story of both her marriage and her struggle to realize the passion and “largeness” inside herself.

Tell us what you love about libraries.
I still think of libraries as the real keepers of the world’s knowledge, stories and information. Yes, I’ve heard of the internet. The internet, though, is more like a vast, endless maze of storage units full of stuff, some of which is sublime or highly useful and some of which is stupefying refuse. And then, of course, you have to ask yourself: can the internet lend you a fishing pole? What about art? Musical instruments? There are libraries that do that. I read about one library in which you can check out 30 minute sessions with a certified therapy dog and another that allows you check out ‘human books’ with whom you can sit down and converse about a person’s culture and life experiences. Libraries are also gathering places, vibrant hubs where people connect. My local public library in Chapel Hill, NC has a coffee bar with caramel macchiatos. Yes, I’ve also heard of Starbucks. I suppose Starbucks could host author talks, lectures, and exhibits just as libraries do, but I’m unaware of any of them doing so. Libraries are one-of-a-kind places, uniquely magical realms that feed the human mind and the human spirit. The author Joe Klein said, libraries are place where readers are born and where writers (if they live good lives and read a lot) go after they die. What I mean to say is this: libraries are thoroughly irreplaceable.