Sue Monk Kidd spoke in Wichita Thursday night. She was at Watermark to promote her new book, “The Invention of Wings.” It is a story of the “Struggle in the human spirit for freedom,” she says. It is historical fiction based on Sarah Grimké, an abolitionist who was born into a slave-owning family in the 1830s.
Kidd says she has always been interested in these topics. “Gender and race matter deeply to me,” she says. She is a product of the south of the 1950s and 60s and says she graduated in the first integrated class at her high school. “I feel a responsibility to be a witness to it,” she said.
She said her hope is that the reader will feel this story, to feel enslaved and to feel women with very few rights. Her favorite line in the novel is, “Press on, my sisters.” She said she was reminded of the Julius Lester quote, “History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”
Asked about the conversation she has had about slavery while on tour, she said it was still a very difficult topic. “Slavery is ground zero for racism,” she says. And it’s hard for people to discuss it, to accept what it means in our history. “Slavery is America’s original sin,” she said. “It is an American wound.”