Jodi Picoult is a No. 1 New York Times bestselling author. She’s released 25 novels, her latest titled “A Spark of Light.” In the novel, readers follow along through the eyes of complete strangers who are being held at gunpoint in an abortion clinic. You share the fear with them as you learn why each one is there.
Currently on a book tour, one of Picoult’s stops included SCAD Atlanta. Speaking at SCADshow, the 7 p.m. was flooded with fans by 6:30 p.m. The lobby was just as packed as the main stage area. Ticket holders were lined up passed the security checkpoint to purchase, or pick up, their signed copy of the novel. Once the crowd outside died down, seats began to fill.
After the doors closed, there were very few open seats available. The lights dimmed and the audience’s attention shifted to Professor Catherine Ramsdell as she introduced Picoult.
The Q&A session was moderated by fellow writer Emily Giffin. The two had amazing chemistry — it felt like they were having a conversation instead of an interview. For the first 15 minutes, Picoult and Giffin talked about the book and why it was written. Picoult made it clear that she wants to be a moderator for big social issues, like abortion.
Picoult explained that the book is written backwards, and from different points of view of each person in the abortion clinic. Once the reader finishes the book, they have a better understanding of the type of relationship each character has with abortion and why they were in the clinic at the time of the shooting. Through the characters, Picoult explores different viewpoints on abortion, not trying to persuade the reader of a specific stance, but rather allowing them to empathize which each perspective.
The discussion soon became political. Picoult tackled larger issues and began speaking about other things she has written and hopes to write in the future. The biggest topic was sexual assault. At one point, Picoult and Giffin included the audience and asked us a question.
“How many of you personally know someone who has been sexually assaulted?”
Almost every person, if not all, raised a hand. This book discussion had become a visual representation of how our world is today.
In the end, Picoult wrapped up by tying everything back into her novel. She answered audience questions and, once the event finished, took pictures with many of the attendees. That night, not only did she show us why she writes and why she discusses, but also why it’s important to do those things.