New York, NY, January 26, 2016…..Villarosa Media, founded by a family with over 50 years of combined journalism and literary experience, is poised to become a new player in the publishing business, a boutique publishing company of quality fiction and nonfiction books primarily by and about African Americans and the African diaspora.
Their inaugural book, The Wind is Spirit, was born from an interview conducted by groundbreaking author and activist Dr. Gloria Joseph, Audre Lorde's partner in the latter years of her life. A few months prior to Lorde's death, they discussed a comprehensive biography that would tell her story in full, revealing her tenacity, complexity and passion as well as her flaws and quirks. With that mandate, Joseph created The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde. Told griot style ( an African oral tradition of storytelling to maintain historical ties to the past ), this combination anthology and biography brings together a wide range of prominent authors and activists, who submitted essays, reflections, stories, poems, memoirs and photos that illuminate how Lorde's literary vision and her turbulent and triumphant life inspired so many. The book, a kind of call-and-response biography, also contains conversations with Lorde, Joseph's personal photos and travelogs, and remembrances from her three memorials, in New York, Berlin and St. Croix.
Villarosa Media began their launch of The Wind is Spirit with a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign, held in September, raised funds for production costs and featured exclusive premiums including signed posters, digital downloads and a literary scrapbook.
There will be several events to launch the company and celebrate the release of their first book. See below for more information.
Villarosa Media was established by Clara Villarosa, founder of Hue-Man Bookstore in Denver and Harlem, and her two daughters, Linda and Alicia. Linda is a former executive editor of Essence Magazine and award winning New York Times Health Editor, and Alicia is freelance writer and blogger, both with wide name recognition in writing and publishing. Together they have over 50 years of expertise in book selling, editing, promotion, journalism, novel writing and online media.
For Linda Villarosa, this first project is very close to her heart. "Audre Lorde's fearlessness has always been an inspiration, so working on this book is like being a part of literary history as well as my own," she said. "Even now I feel her presence, literally. While shooting video in St. Croix sometimes there would be a sudden gust of wind. Gloria would simply say, there's Audre again letting us know she's here," concluded Linda.
The Villarosa media catalog will be comprised of new books from established authors as well as classic books reissued in digital formats. Using a digital model and e files, physical books will be sent as ordered, print on demand ( P.O.D. ) thus eliminating overstock and remainders. The Villarosa's believe that this strategy will keep the company lean and flexible and allow them to capitalize on dynamic market opportunities.
They will also support emerging authors and publish new voices with an eye on stories from non-traditional genres. Marketing and branding will be a key part of the Villarosa Media business plan. They will work with individuals and organizations with established platforms and a large social media presence but may need a book to better establish their brands.
As a longtime bookseller and board member of American Book Association, Clara Villarosa is taking the long view. "I've experienced first hand the ups downs of publishing including the Black Book Renaissance, a time when Black authors were a hot commodity. Everybody on the subway had their nose buried in a Terry McMillan book. Then a tsunami hit the industry and mainstream publishers fled the black book market. Now the tide has turned and there's an opportunity. We're here to help fill the void and bridge the gap between readers and writers by providing readers access to excellent literature and an outlet and marketplace for authors to publish their works," said Clara Villarosa.
Discussion and book signing with author Gloria I. Joseph moderated by Sonia Sanchez. February 17, 2-4 Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture www.nypl.org/events/programs/2016/02/17/5-life-love-and-legacy-audre-lorde .
Audre Lorde Birthday Celebration and The Wind Is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy Of Audre Lorde book launch. February 18, 6:30-10:00. The Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College
Reading and book signing with author Gloria I. Joseph. February 23, Westchester Community College
Reading and book signing with author Gloria I. Joseph. February 29, Syracuse, NY
For more information go to www.villarosamedia.com,
on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VillarosaMedia/ on twitter @VillarosaMedia .
Advance Praise for The Wind Is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde
"The saying, 'our struggle is a struggle of memory against forgetting' remains a clarion call for those of us working to keep alive the legacy of visionary Black women writers and thinkers. Among those, Audre Lorde deserves our constant remembrance, study, and critical attention. This anthology is awesome because unlike other biographical reminiscences, it offers a candid and holistic portrait of Audre Lorde. An amazing group of writers and thinkers have come together to speak in diverse voices about Lorde's wisdom and magic. Prophetically, she called us all to break silences and to speak and so we lift our voices to honor, praise and remember."
"This incredible bio/anthology written by Gloria I. Joseph masterfully encompasses a wide range of diverse known and unknown voices spanning gender, age, ethnicity/culture, national origin, socio-economics, and sexuality that sing a song in the key of Audre Lorde. The Wind Is Spirit explores and celebrates the ways in which Audre Lorde consistently engaged in multiple movements, including African-American Civil Rights movement, Aboriginal/Maori Rights, U.S. imperialism, international feminism and women's rights movements, international LGBT rights, the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa, the Black German movement, and global human rights in general. Dr. Joseph provides the reader with first-hand accounts of how Lorde's courageous and ground breaking work directly and indirectly ignited and inspired countless individuals throughout this world to dedicate their lives to make this world a more humane place for all."
—Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Curator and Lead Editor, The Feminist Wire's "Global Online Forum on Audre Lorde's Life and Living Legacy"
"The Wind Is Spirit, edited by Gloria I. Joseph, is an extraordinary, provocative, informative, soul-stirring bio/anthology of Audre Lorde, perhaps the most influential feminist intellectual/activist that the African diaspora has produced during our lifetime. I am not aware of another life story that is as multifaceted, boundary-crossing, pioneering as this text, which includes essays, remembrances, poetry, photographs, testimonies, and a remarkable glimpse into her 1992 homegoing service in New York City at the legendary Cathedral of St. John the Divine. A must-read for scholars, students, organizers, movement-builders and anyone committed to positive social change."
—Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women's Studies and Founding Director of the Women's Research & Resource Center at Spelman College
"This amazing, intimate, inspiring, and entirely fitting bio/anthology pays homage to the revolutionary spirit and profound legacy of Audre Lorde. The call and response technique, poetic reflections, and engaging storytelling by multiple generations of feminist warriors, thinkers, and poets creates an unusual, collaborative and communal space for crafting Audre's life and impact. A unique, deeply moving text, unlike any other biography or anthology, The Wind Is Spirit is true to the complex, playful, stubborn, challenging, and profound thinker and poet that Audre Lorde was in her lifetime. A book that belongs on the shelf of everyone engaged in feminist struggle across the globe."
—Chandra Talpade Mohanty
Distinguished Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, Syracuse University;
Author of Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity ( 2003 )