MCD, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, announces the launch of AUWA Books, an imprint directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the celebrated Academy Award‒winning filmmaker, musician, DJ, producer, director, culinary entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author.
As an artist and enthusiast, a historian and curator, Questlove has spent decades both contributing to culture and exploring its rich and complex history. AUWA Books seeks to connect the two. The imprint will publish both nonfiction and fiction on a wide range of topics. Questlove’s interests are rooted in music and its history, of course, but the tree’s branches expand outward from there to cover nearly every topic under the sun.
A literary imprint devoted to finding inspiring new stories and connecting readers to lost voices, AUWA Books’ name is inspired by the bird-call noise that was popularized by Prince (you can hear it in songs such as “Baby I’m a Star” and “Eye No”).
Questlove has always felt a deep kinship with Prince, not just musically but personally, and in that spirit the imprint seeks to strengthen the connection between creators and audience.
AUWA is more than just a sound. It is the call going out and the call being answered, a community being identified and nourished. Every book must find its audience, but every publisher must help audiences find their way to books that matter to them.
Mitzi Angel, President and Publisher of FSG, says: “We are embarking on this new imprint with Questlove with great excitement. Questlove’s vision and many talents will add tremendously to our list, and we can’t wait to publish our first book on the AUWA imprint with Questlove this fall, Sly Stone’s much-anticipated memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”
Sean McDonald, SVP and Publisher of MCD, says: “I am thrilled MCD is embarking on this imprint with Questlove and the AUWA team. There is no better, more exciting, more mind-expanding intelligence to guide a new publishing venture that can push the boundaries of what we might think to expect from a literary imprint, and I think the roster we’ve begun to assemble for AUWA—starting with the memoir of the elusive, iconic Sly Stone this October—already shows how thrilling this is going to be.”
“I have been writing books for over a decade,” says Questlove, “so it seemed like a natural step to publish them too. I’m very excited about AUWA Books, from the books we have lined up to the books we haven’t discovered yet. Let’s take it to the page.”
AUWA Books will publish its first book on October 17, 2023: Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) by the legendary Sly Stone.
One of the few indisputable geniuses of pop music, Sly Stone is a trailblazer who created a new kind of music, mixing Black and white, male and female, funk and rock; penned some of the most iconic anthems of the 1960s and ’70s, from “Everyday People” to “Family Affair”; and electrified audiences with a persona and stage presence that set a lasting standard for pop culture performance. Yet he has also been a cautionary tale, known as much for how he dropped out of sight as for what put him in the spotlight in the first place. As much as people know the music, the man remains a mystery. In Thank You, he’s finally ready to share his story—a story that many thought he’d never have the chance to tell. Written with Ben Greenman, who has written memoirs with George Clinton and Brian Wilson, among others, Thank You will include a foreword by Questlove. The book was created in collaboration with Sly Stone’s manager Arlene Hirschkowitz.
“For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story,” says Stone.
“I wasn’t ready. I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too.”
AUWA Books, a division of AUWA Content, is led by Questlove as Publisher and Editor in Chief and Alexis Rosenzweig as SVP and Editorial Director, along with Executive Editors Malaika Adero and Ben Greenman.
An Academy Award‒winning filmmaker, drummer, DJ, producer, director, culinary entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and member of The Roots, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is the unmistakable heartbeat of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group. He is the Musical Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. Beyond that, this 6-time GRAMMY Award‒winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions for everyone from D’Angelo to Jay-Z. Questlove made his directorial debut with the Academy Award‒winning feature documentary Summer of Soul. The movie broke the record for the highest-selling documentary to come out of Sundance, and it has since gone on to win Best Feature Documentary at the 2022 Academy Awards, Best Documentary at the 2022 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), and Best Music Film at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, as well as a Peabody Award. In addition, Summer of Soul was crowned the Best Movie of 2021 by The New York Times and was included among the best of the year by the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, The Washington Post, TIME magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone, and more. Outside of Summer of Soul, Questlove partnered with Black Thought of The Roots to launch a production company, Two One Five Entertainment. Together, the pair announced a first-look deal with Universal Television to develop scripted and non-scripted programming. In 2022, the company executive produced the acclaimed feature documentary Descendant, about the historic discovery of the Clotilda—the last known slave ship to arrive in America illegally transporting enslaved Africans. The documentary, which made its world premiere at Sundance in 2022, was acquired by Netflix and Higher Ground—President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company. The film earned an impressive three nominations, for Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, and Best Historical Documentary, and took home the award for Best Historical Documentary at the 2022 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. It also received a nomination for Outstanding Documentary at the 2023 NAACP Image Awards and was named one of the Top 5 Documentaries of 2022 by the National Board of Review. Questlove has written multiple books, including the New York Times bestsellers Mo’ Meta Blues, Creative Quest, and Music Is History, as well as the GRAMMY nominated audio books Music Is History and Creative Quest. He is set to publish his first children’s book, The Rhythm of Time, on April 18, 2023.
MCD/FSG is an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux committed to publishing the unexpected—surprising stories, unusual authors, innovative formats—with the creativity and energy it deserves. Publishing since 2017, its notable authors include such bestselling and award-winning writers as Kobe Bryant, Dan Charnas, Sloane Crosley, John Darnielle, Jonathan Escoffery, Aleksandar Hemon, Bobby Hundreds, Chris Pavone, Ivy Pochoda, Brontez Purnell, Robin Sloan, Héctor Tobar, Ellen Ullman, Jeff VanderMeer, and Anna Wiener.
About Farrar, Straus and Giroux:
Farrar, Straus and Company was founded in 1946 by Roger W. Straus and John C. Farrar. In 1964, Robert Giroux’s name was added to the roster and the company became Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The firm is renowned for its international list of literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books. Farrar, Straus and Giroux authors have won extraordinary acclaim over the years, including numerous National Book Awards and Pulitzer Prizes, and twenty-four Nobel Prizes in Literature.
Macmillan Publishers is the U.S. trade division of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, a large family-owned media company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its publishing companies include prominent imprints around the world that publish a broad range of award-winning books for children and adults in all categories and formats. U.S. publishers include Celadon Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Flatiron Books, Henry Holt & Company, Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, The St. Martin’s Publishing Group, and Tor Publishing Group. In the UK, Australia, India, and South Africa, Macmillan publishes under the Pan Macmillan name. The German company, Holtzbrinck Deutsche Buchverlage, includes among its imprints S. Fischer, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Rowohlt, and Droemer Knaur.