San Francisco Native Alretha Thomas Author Of Novel Daughter Denied Returns To Inspire The Next Generation Of Great Writers

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Alretha Thomas, the author of Daughter Denied, will revisit the projects in San Francisco where she grew up and inspire and motivate Elementary and Middle School children along the way. Thomas will speak to children at Bret Harte Elementary and Martin Luther King Academic Middle School about becoming writers. "We're excited that Alretha is coming to speak with our children," says Vidrale A. Franklin, principal of Bret Harte Elementary. "Our students need to know that accomplished people come from every neighborhood-including the one where they live." Gilbert Cho, principal of Martin Luther King Academic MIddle School mirrors those thoughts. "We need role models reflecting the aspirations of our diverse language and ethnic student body to contribute their time in encouraging our students to do their best!" he says.

"When I didn't have anything else as a child, I had my books. While other children were running after the ice cream truck, I was running after the neighborhood Book Mobile," says award-winning playwright-turned-novelist Alretha Thomas, author of the new novel, Daughter Denied. Thomas was born in Oakland and raised in San Francisco where she lived until the age of 14. The untimely death of her mother resulted in Thomas moving to Compton, California. At a very young age, Thomas was inspired by great writers like Gordon Parks, Charles Dickens and Zora Neale Hurston.

These are writers whose books she would read cover-to-cover, and then read again. Ironically it was Thomas' abusive stepfather that helped to inspire her love for books. "The books I read provided solace and served as a refuge from the verbal and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my stepfather," says Thomas. Unbeknownst to Thomas, her unquenchable appetite for reading would help develop her ability to write.

It was at Bret Harte Elementary, just a few blocks from The Alice Griffith Projects in San Francisco, notoriously known as "Double Rock", where Thomas' fifth grade teacher noticed her creative writing skills. Thomas was stunned when her teacher read a short story she had written aloud to the class and commented that she could have a future as a writer. "How can I be a writer? I live in the projects," Thomas thought.

Daughter Denied is the story of 7-year-old Tina and the surreal madness that is thrust upon her and has become her life. Her mother is hopelessly hooked on drugs and a bad man. Tina's nemesis is her ever loathsome stepfather Brother Floyd. Thomas says Daughter Denied is based on some experiences from her childhood, but mostly a combination of personal observations and fiction. Thomas graduated from USC with a journalism degree and went on to act then turned writer to pen such memorable stage plays as the NAACP Theatre Award winning play Civil Rites (2004) and the critically acclaimed Grandpa's Truth (2006) and Sacrificing Simone (2007).

Because Thomas remembers that teacher who inspired her, she's developed the "Let's Write a Novel Workshop" to teach people ages 12 to 112 that they can write a novel--and should. She uses her own novel Daughter Denied as proof that anyone can overcome the odds and tell a story. "Writing a novel was my choice," says Thomas. "My responsibility however is to make sure that another generation understands they can create great literature, too." On June 6, 2008, Thomas will visit her former schools in San Francisco: Bret Harte Elementary and Portola Junior High (renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School) to encourage students to become writers and will have a book signing at Marcus Books in San Francisco on June 7 from 6pm-8pm.

FYI: The exhilarating Alretha Thomas is warm and an inspiration to all. She's available for interview and to speak to groups of two dozen or more. Please call (626) 858-1907 to book Alretha.


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