Archive for the 'NewSouth Books News' Category

Inspiring story of Benjamin Sterling Turner shared in new children’s book embraced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by Matthew Byrne

Neither Congresswoman Terri Sewell nor Benjamin Sterling Turner were born in Dallas County, Alabama, but both came to IMG_1175represent the 7th District of Alabama with fervor and dedication. Turner was born a slave and rose to be Alabama’s first African American representative in Congress. 140 years after Turner took office, Terri Sewell was put in charge of the 7th district, the first African American woman to do so. After the recent publication of The Slave Who Went to Congress—an illustrated children’s book detailing Turner’s early life and political career—Congresswoman Sewell visited Clark Elementary in Selma with authors Frye Gaillard and Marti Rosner and gifted students there fifty copies of the book. Sewell movingly told the schoolchildren attending her program that she “stands on the shoulders of Benjamin Sterling Turner,” who paved the way for her civil service with his bold
FrontCover choice to run for office. This incredible intersection of history reminds us of how important historymakers like Turner and Sewell are; the effects of their leadership can be felt in Dallas County today. The Slave Who Went to Congress—which the Midwest Book Review calls “a choice pick for personal, school, and library collections”—is a powerful account of an impactful life and, importantly, introduces Turner’s remarkable story of bravery and leadership to children around the world.

Publishers Weekly profiles NewSouth Books on tenth anniversary

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 by Brian Seidman

Publishers Weekly recognized NewSouth Books’ tenth anniversary this week in a feature article by Rachel Deahl, noting that despite the tough publishing climate, NewSouth is “quietly thriving.”

With all the exciting things going on at NewSouth Books — the release of Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s new memoir Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming, and great titles on the way like Wade Hall’s Interview with Abraham Lincoln, Ted Dunagan’s Secret of the Satilfa, and David Rigsbee’s The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems — we’ve barely had time to stop and celebrate the ten year mark. But as Publishers Weekly notes, evidence of this landmark can be seen in NewSouth’s increasing larger print runs and stronger submissions, and in events like NewSouth publishing the Alabama Big Read edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in conjunction with the National Endowment of the Arts.

“Every book we publish has to count,” NewSouth publisher Suzanne La Rosa told Publishers Weekly. “Our feeling is, if every book sells where we think it will … this company will be viable.”

“And NewSouth,” Publishers Weekly notes, “is certainly viable.”

Read the full article at the Publishers Weekly website.

Hats Off to Alabama Public Libraries

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Not enough gets said about the good job many public libraries do in serving their communities with events programming. Alabama has quite a few that deserve recognition, many of which have hosted programs featuring NewSouth Books authors in the last few years. To name just a few who’ve partnered with us recently: the B.B. Comer Memorial Public Library in Sylacauga; the Ashland City Public Library; the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library; the Pell City Public Library; the Adelia McConnell Russell Library in Alex City; the Birmingham Public Library; the Selma-Dallas County Public Library; and the Mobile Public Library.

Our new favorite library is the Bradshaw Public Library in Valley, Alabama. Several NewSouth authors have enjoyed good audiences there as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. On November 21, Peter Huggins spoke about his new young adult novel In the Company of Owls and talked about the process of creating a book. Adult Programs Coordinator John Tidwell said of Huggins’s presentation, “In the Company of Owls, a very exciting book for all family members, was excellent! We will probably ask you to schedule Peter for a return engagement.”

On December 4, former Alabama governor John Patterson and historian Warren Trest discussed Nobody But the People, a biography offering new insights and rich details into the life of this significant Southern politician. The crowd of almost a hundred people greatly enjoyed meeting Gov. Patterson and hearing his personal story. Mr. Tidwell observed, “The presentations by Governor Patterson and Warren Trest fascinated our Lunch and Learn group. So much so that they kept them answering questions twenty minutes after the program was scheduled to end! This was indeed a rarity! We were well-pleased.” This must be true, because a reprise program featuring Governor Patterson and Warren Trest is being planned for March or April of next year.

About his experiences, NewSouth author Warren Trest had this to say: “The Valley librarians were fantastic hosts — and top of the mark in every way.”  We couldn’t agree more.

The fruitful partnership between NewSouth and the Bradshaw Library will continue when Ted Dunagan speaks about his young adult novel A Yellow Watermelon on February 20, and when Rev. Robert Graetz discusses his memoir A White Preacher’s Message On Race and Reconciliation on February 27. These noontime programs will be highlights of the library’s Black History Month observation.

In the Company of Owls, Nobody But the People, A Yellow Watermelon, and A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation are available directly from NewSouth Books, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Fall NewSouth Books Receive Publishers Weekly, Library Journal Starred Reviews

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal for upcoming Fall 2008 titles do NewSouth Books proud. Publishers Weekly (August 18, 2008) featured The Yazoo Blues, a sequel to John Pritchard’s Junior Ray, one of Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten Sensational Debut Novels of 2005. Library Journal (August 15, 2008) featured The Wrong Side of Murder Creek by Bob Zellner with Constance Curry, a compelling memoir about Zellner’s role in the civil rights movement.

From the Publishers Weekly review:

In this insightful, laugh-out-loud follow-up to his debut novella, Junior Ray, Pritchard again indulges the profanely backwoods, occasionally backwards, voice of Mississippi “good ol’ boy” Junior Ray Loveblood. 

Between expletives and misanthropic digressions, Junior Ray reveals a lifetime of deep, unlikely friendships, even getting at an occasional truth in a humble manner that’s–as Junior Ray might put it–“as soft as a quail’s fart.”

Read the full review at the Publishers Weekly website.

From the Library Journal review:

Zellner’s memoir focuses on his experiences as a civil rights activist from 1960 to 1967. He tells a story that is sometimes horrific, always interesting, and ultimately inspirational about a white Southerner’s commitment to racial justice. 

Read the full review at the Library Journal website.

The Yazoo Blues and The Wrong Side of Murder Creek are both available at their respective links, or from your favorite local or online book retailer.

Randall Williams Featured on APTV’s Face to Face Sunday, August 24

Friday, August 22nd, 2008 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth editor-in-chief Randall Williams speaks with host Lori Cummings on Alabama Public Television’s Face to Face show on Sunday, August 24. The show will air at 2 pm and 11 pm.

In the conversation, Randall and Lori talk about the nature of independent publishing, and about NewSouth’s mission in publishing books that inform our audience about the Southern region. Lori asks about the publishing process from an author’s point of view, and Randall gives tips about how an author can prepare their manuscript for submission.

Learn more about Face to Face at the show’s website.

NewSouth Books Shown at Poets House Showcase

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 by Mary Katherine

The 16th Annual Poets House Showcase recently featured all of the new poetry books published in the United States this year, including books by NewSouth authors. More than 2,000 titles were on display from April 12-19 at the historic Jefferson Market Library.

NewSouth books on display at Poets House Showcase

According to Poets House website, “The Showcase provides writers, readers, and publishers with a fascinating vantage point from which to assess publishing and design trends and linguistic, aesthetic, and philosophical shifts … the Showcase reflects Poets House’s mission to make the range of modern poetry available to the public and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of poetry and culture.” All the poetry book titles can be found in the fully-searchable online Directory of American Poetry Books featuring over 20,000 poetry titles published between 1990 and 2006.

NewSouth poetry books present in the directory and at the showcase include:

The World According to Whiskey: Tom House’s poems are tough and graphic, and they bear witness to the underbelly of a Southern culture with no room for the disenfranchised—the poor, the weird, and the broke.

And All the Layered Light: Using the settings and imagery of his native rural Kentucky, Charles Semones creates a collection of poems that transcend time and place. It’s Southern Gothic writing at its finest.

Century of the Death of the Rose: The works of the late Ecuadorian poet Jorge Carrera Andrade are presented in English and the original Spanish in this volume of his poetry, selected and translated by Steven Ford Brown.

February Mission: Jim Harrell’s volume of poetry and plays ranges back in time over his own rich history, visiting places he’s been and wars he’s experienced, friendships shared and loves lost, and life on the littoral coast, which inspires much of his work and describes his emotional home.

Straying Toward Home: The poems, like the title of this book, are delicious paradoxes. James Mersmann’s vivid images and beneficent intelligence are a continuous pleasure. 

It’s Good Weather for Fudge: Conversing with Carson McCullers: Sue Walker imagines a friendship and conversation with McCullers as they share memories of two women growing up in the Deep South, McCullers in Georgia and Walker in Alabama.

One More River to Cross: The late John Beecher’s powerful, spare verse is brought together in this collection, compiled and edited by Steven Ford Brown.

To learn more or to search the Directory of American Poetry Books, check out the Poets House website. Find all the above titles and more at NewSouth Books, Amazon. com, or your favorite local or online retailer. 

Learn More about NewSouth Books’ Internship Program

Friday, April 4th, 2008 by Brian Seidman

Congratulations to former NewSouth intern Matthew Nelson, who will be working in Santa Monica, California, this semester as a script-reading intern for Lions Gate Entertainment.

Matt was an intern for NewSouth in summer 2007 while at student at Sewanee: The University of the South. Matt’s duties at NewSouth included assisting with editorial projects, filling sales orders, and considering and advising on incoming manuscripts.

NewSouth offers a limited number of internships each semester. Because of our small staff and collaborative atmosphere, NewSouth interns get a hands-on chance to work in many aspects of the publishing industry, and learn in detail how a book moves from the proposal stage to the finished product. For internship inquiries, please call Managing Editor Brian Seidman at 334-834-3556.

Obama Philadelphia speech offered as free ebook

Thursday, March 20th, 2008 by Randall Williams

Senator Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday in Philadelphia has been widely quoted and discussed. Historian John Hope Franklin called it one of the most candid and significant public statements on race in American political history. NewSouth Books—which publishes widely on civil rights and racial and political issues—agrees and has formatted Obama’s complete text (which was released to the news media) into an easy to download and print ebook package. It is available for free download here.

NewSouth Books Profiled for Publishing With a Purpose

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth Books and publisher Suzanne La Rosa have been profiled in the Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky, where La Rosa is based. In the article “Publishing with a Purpose” by Tamara Ikenberg, Publishers Weekly correspondent Edward Nawotka praises NewSouth as “a good example of a small, niche publisher, and they make a go of it in a publishing scene that is dominated by three or four national conglomerates.” From the article:

The house is doing well in a time when people are reading less for leisure, and major publishing houses are only interested in tried-and-true mega-selling scribes, such as Danielle Steele, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling or the newest wunderkind like Myla Goldberg.

“New York City publishers are taking the safer course,” La Rosa said. “It’s been hard for them too. What that means for us, is all the people who used to be published by major New York houses are looking for new publishers. I view that as an opportunity. We can acquire writers who formerly would’ve been published by Simon & Schuster. Now, if an NYC house can’t sell 50,000 copies of a book, they won’t be considered. There are a lot of extremely gifted authors who will sell 42,000 copies, and that’s where we come in.”

Publishers Weekly‘s Nawotka also praises NewSouth’s eclectic collection of titles. Most contain civil-rights or cultural-awareness angles, but they take very different forms.

The 2004 release Where We Stand: Voices of Southern Dissent approaches civil-rights issues through a series of essays by such respected writers as Kentucky native and social historian John Egerton and civil-liberties attorney John Pollitt. [Note: A second volume, American Crisis, Southern Solutions: From Where We Stand, Peril and Promise, will be released this month from NewSouth Books.]

A more recent release, the 2006 novel Grievances, is based on a true story and was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning former Charlotte Observer reporter Mark Ethridge. It addresses Southern equality issues through the suspenseful tale of a newspaper reporter who sets out to find the truth behind the shooting of a 13-year-old African-American boy in fictional Hirtsboro, S.C. Ethridge, grandson of former Courier-Journal publisher Mark F. Ethridge, brings to the book an inside-newspaper humor and deft sense of the South …

“We want books that open a window on to a culture,” La Rosa said. “I love stories about communities, especially when you don’t know much about them.”

A NewSouth book that beautifully fits that bill is the Jewish-themed children’s book Shlemiel Crooks, written by Anna Olswanger and illustrated by Paula Goodman Koz. A clever twist on the Passover tale, Crooks was inspired by a 1919 newspaper article from The St. Louis Jewish Record, and uncovers St. Louis’ Jewish community in the early 1900s.

The new release Poor Man’s Provence by beloved Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson uncovers Cajun Louisiana and, as Johnson notes, is in the tradition of Peter Mayle’s 1991 best-seller A Year in Provence. That book is a true story portraying Mayle as a fish out of water in the south of France …

NewSouth also isn’t afraid to create political waves.

its 2006 book Ali Dubyiah and the Forty Thieves, by [John] Egerton, with its swirling gilded edges, looks like an ancient relic, save for the familiar, caricatured faces on the cover. It’s George W. Bush leading his insane-looking pals down a desert road. The doomsday fable is as creative as it is controversial. The “Bush King’s” cronies have menacingly funny monikers like Dick Chaingang and Donald Rumsfailed. Ali Dubyiah is not entirely kind to the Dems either. President Clinton is lasciviously labeled “King Zip.”

“I’ve known Randall Williams for a great many years, and when I decided to write that book — more or less in the heat of passion — I called Randall because he was the only publisher I knew who could possibly turn something around as quickly as that,” said Egerton, uncle of Courier-Journal theater critic Judith Egerton.

Read the full article from The Courier-Journal.

The full line of NewSouth Books titles are available from your favorite local book retailer, online, or at

An Alabama Christmas Features Stories from Charlotte Miller, Billie Jean Young

Thursday, November 1st, 2007 by Brian Seidman

NewSouth authors Charlotte Miller and Billie Jean Young have both contributed to a new anthology, An Alabama Christmas, from Cliff Road Books.

Miller’s story, also called “An Alabama Christmas,” is the story of a young girl’s Christmas in the Depression-era South, and her father’s struggle to make her Christmas dreams come true. Young’s story is entitled “Fireplace Dolls.” Learn more about the anthology at the Cliff Road Books website,

Charlotte Miller is the author of Behold, This Dreamer, There is a River, and Through a Glass, Darkly from NewSouth Books. Billie Jean Young is the author of Fear Not the Fall from NewSouth Books. All of these titles are available from your favorite local or online retailer, or at the links above.