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 progress." 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 http://www.essence.com. 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 http://www.essence.com. ABOUT ESSENCE: 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.
SOURCE ESSENCE magazine