ESSENCE Announces ESSENCE Book Club Recommended Read Program and Launches National Reading Campaign

Feb 07, 2006, 00:00 ET from ESSENCE magazine

    NEW YORK, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- ESSENCE magazine will launch The ESSENCE
 Book Club Recommended Read program and a national reading campaign. It was
 announced today by Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of the preeminent
 magazine for more than seven million African Americans. The far-reaching
 campaign is designed to inspire adults, teens and children to read more,
 underscore the importance of parents reading to their children, and to
 stimulate public support for libraries that are sorely lacking resources in
 urban areas.
     "Reading strengthens education," said Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief
 of ESSENCE magazine, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for more than seven
 million African-Americans. "Education increases achievement and impacts social
 change. This important campaign is an opportunity to affect large-scale
     The main element of the campaign is The ESSENCE Book Club Recommended Read
 program, one of the largest book clubs of its kind. Throughout the year,
 ESSENCE will select a recently released, classic fiction or non-fiction title
 by an African-American author to be highlighted. Book Club members will
 receive a monthly e-mail containing details of the most recent book selection,
 links to exclusive author forums, interactive internet chats, chapter
 previews, upcoming book news and prizes. ESSENCE editors will also provide
 online discussion questions and reader guidelines about the featured book. In
 addition, each selected title will feature The ESSENCE Book Club Recommended
 Read logo on the book's cover, which will be sold in bookstores throughout the
 country. Individuals can sign-up by logging on to
     The first selection is New York Times best-selling author Pearl Cleage's
 newest book, Baby Brother's Blues (One World/Ballantine Books, $24.95). Cleage
 is also the lead author profile in ESSENCE's upcoming March 2006 issue, which
 goes on sale February 7.
     ESSENCE is the authority on African American literature. Since its
 inception, ESSENCE has been the leading portal of introduction for emerging
 African American literary talent, celebrating established authors and
 reflecting publishing trends within the African American community. The
 Essence Best-Sellers List, which appears each month in the magazine and
 on-line, is the foremost measure of book sales within the African American
 community. Terry McMillan, Gloria Naylor and Edward P. Jones are among the
 dozens of authors who launched their writing careers in the pages of the
 magazine. Also, the recently announced ESSENCE Short Fiction Contest received
 more than 2,000 entries from regions as far as Africa and Japan.
     Patrik Henry Bass, books editor for ESSENCE magazine, has been an integral
 part of this evolution and thus has become the voice of African American
 literature. He is an award-winning writer and editor, with an extensive
 background in publishing covering books, lifestyle and popular culture. He has
 also written and edited for a number of publications including The New York
 Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Publisher's Weekly, The Washington Post, Time
 Out New York, Brooklyn Bridge, Entertainment Weekly and BET Weekend, where he
 was a founding editor. Bass and photographer and artist Karen Pugh coauthored
 In Our Own Image: Treasured African-American Traditions, Journeys and Icons
 (Running Press, 2001). He is also the author of Like A Mighty Stream, The
 March on Washington, August 28, 1963 (Running Press, 2002).
     "We are thrilled that Pearl Cleage's newest book is the first selection of
 The ESSENCE Book Club Recommended Read program," said Bass. "The Book Club
 provides a key place for the African American community to share its thoughts
 about the books that inspire them the most."
     Details about other components of the yearlong campaign, including a
 parent's challenge to read to their children and ways to support public
 libraries, will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information about
 The ESSENCE Book Club Recommended Read program, see the upcoming March 2006
 issue of ESSENCE magazine or visit
     With more than seven million readers, ESSENCE is the preeminent lifestyle
 magazine for African American women. Published by Essence Communications Inc.,
 it is the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of
 African American women's lives. For more than 35 years, ESSENCE has celebrated
 personal achievement, chronicled social movement, documented struggles,
 showcased beauty, defined and set trends.