SMALL Great Things, the radical new novel from Jodi Picoult tackling prejudice and power, brings the best-selling author to the Festival Theatre, on Saturday.
When a new-born baby dies in hospital, there is no doubt who will be held responsible: Ruth, the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
Kennedy McQuarrie is a lawyer who defends those who would otherwise be helpless. When a white supremacist accuses Ruth of a crime that leads to the death of his new-born baby, Kennedy knows it is the kind of case she became a lawyer to win.
“This was a hard book to write,” says the New Yorker writer, when asked what inspired the novel.
“Racism is a topic that weighs heavily on the hearts of people in my country, and heavily on my heart. But most white people have no idea how to talk about it.
“It’s very easy to make a mistake when we talk about racism, or to unintentionally offend someone. And so, as a result, white people often don’t talk about it at all.
“The answer came in realising who my audience was. Yes, I hope people of colour read the book and find it resonant. But I really am reaching out to white people who, like me, like many of my friends, would never think of themselves as racists, but need to think a little harder.
“I was pretty blissfully ignorant about racism before I began this book, because I had the luxury of being ignorant. Now I can’t NOT see race, and I can’t stop discussing it.
Picoult, the author of 21 internationally bestselling novels, can’t wait to discuss it in the Capital.
“I just love coming here. My fans are the greatest, most responsive people and I have such fun meeting them.
“I just wish my publisher gave me more time to see the sights.”
Jodi Picoult, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Saturday, 7.30pm, £21 (includes book), 0131-529 6000