About Us

Willow Books, founded in 2007, is the flagship imprint of the award-winning Aquarius Press. Program collaborations include the Smithsonian Institution; Library of Congress; Lincoln Center; University of Michigan Special Collection; Poets House New York; Guild Literary Complex; African Libraries Collective; PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools; University of New Haven, Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.; Harlem Arts Salon; Thurgood Marshall Center; Carr Center; Idlewild Writers Conference; Pratt Women Writers of Color Showcase; Split This Rock; Furious Flower; Weeksville Heritage Center; Busboys & Poets and numerous other universities and cultural institutions.

In addition to publishing and providing professional development opportunities, Willow has created a platform for its authors to engage with the public through workshops, conferences, digital streaming broadcasts, and public readings in the U.S. and abroad. Several of its authors are national fellows. Signature events include the national LitFest, an All-Star national broadcast of poets and writers. The Willow Arts Alliance sponsors fellowships for emerging talent. The imprint has published hundreds of poets and writers in anthologies and journals, including Cave Canem. An industry leader, the press is known for its excellence in design, content, technological prowess and diverse selection of award-winning titles.

We are pleased to have a multitude of talented and dedicated poets and writers who not only share their gifts with the world, but serve their communities tirelessly.

Signature Willow Programs

Willow Books LitFest

Annual All-Star reading by Willow’s poets and writers, often hosted in AWP cities.

Willow Arts Alliance

A national network of culturally and historically significant artistic hubs for artists of color to hone their talents.

Featured Programs

San Francisco Public Library–Readings from Black Fire–This Time at the SFPL. Summer and Fall 2022.

Museum of the African Diaspora–Readings from Black Fire–This Time. Fall 2022/Winter 2023

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., NYC, longstanding partnership that published the Foundation’s biennial anthology, XII-XIV

Carr Center, Detroit. Ten-year partnership of readings, National Poetry Month events and the Writers @The Carr Residency

African Libraries Collective—Assistance with building up libraries throughout Africa with Willow titles

Busboys & Poets/Teaching for Change, Washington, D.C.—Author events for the D.C. community

Poets House, NYC—Annual selection of Willow poets

University of New Haven—Annual reading series

Signature Appearances

Smithsonian Institution

Lincoln Center

BookExpo America


Chicago’s Printers Row Book Festival

Furious Flower

Small Press Book Festival

AWP (Association of Writing Programs)

SSML (Society for the Study of Midwest Literature)

Marquee Achievements

Lupe Mendez, Texas Poet Laureate (2022); Texas Institute of Letters John A. Robertson Award (2020)

Rich Villar, BRIO Award for Poetry from the Bronx Council on the Arts (2022)

Louise Waakaa’igan, Minnesota Reads Poetry (2021); first place winner of Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop’s Broadside Competition (2016) and publication in PEN America

devorah major, 3rd Poet Laureate, San Francisco

Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Induction into National Library of Jamaica (2020); Artist-in-Residence, Brooklyn Public Library (2018)

Rachelle Escamilla, Philip Glass Days & Nights Festival (2020)

Angela Narciso Torres, W.B. Yeats Society (2019)

Cindy Williams-Gutierrez, Finalist, International Latino Book Awards (2019)

Cedric Tillman, PEN/Faulkner Writers in Schools (2019)

Rachelle Linda Escamilla, Fellow, Library of Congress (2018)

Rich Villar, Featured Poet, Lincoln Center (2018)

Naoko Fujimoto, Featured Poet & Artist, Notre Dame (2018)

Sokunthary Svay, Fellow, American Opera Projects’ Composer & the Voice (2017-2019)

Derrick Harriell, Award, Excellence in Promoting Inclusiveness in Graduate Education, University of Mississippi and Fellow, Mississippi Arts Commission (2018)

Elmaz Abinader, Honoree, RAWI Arab Writers Organization (2018)

Angela Narciso Torres, Featured Author, Women’s Museum of California (2018)

Sokunthary Svay, Poets House Feature (2018)

Vanessa Hua, Winner, Adult Fiction, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) (2017)

Vanessa Hua, Finalist, California Book Awards (2017)

Vanessa Hua, Official Selection, One Book, One City Program, Dacosta County, CA (2017)

Lucinda Roy, Zenobia Lawrence Hikes Faculty Woman of Color Award (2017)

Ethelbert Miller, Featured Reading at the Smithsonian (2017)

Gustavo Adolfo Aybar, Feature at the Miami Book Fair (2017)

Lucinda Roy, Featured Reading at the Smithsonian (2017)

Lucinda Roy, Featured at Caribbean Arts & Culture, Oglethorpe University (2017)

Mahogany L. Browne, Finalist, NAACP Image Awards (2016)

Mahogany L. Browne & Yesenia Montilla, Shortlist, Open Book Awards (2016)

Derrick Harriell, Grand Prize, Poetry, Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters (2015)

Angie Chuang, Bronze Medal, Independent Publishers Association (2015)

Angie Chuang, Feature, George Mason University Book Festival

Curtis L. Crisler, Fellow, City of Asylum Pittsburgh (2015)

Furious Flower Decennial Poets feature of multiple Willow poets at James Madison University (2014)

Alan King, PEN Faulkner Fellow, 2012-present

About the Co-Founders, Heather Buchanan & Randall Horton

Heather Buchanan is the owner of Aquarius Press (founded 1999), for which Willow Books is its flagship imprint. A University of Michigan Difference-Maker Alumnus of the Year, Buchanan is a lecturer on the university circuit and a three-time fellow. She is the director of the LitFest national festivals. An Arts & Humanities consultant, Buchanan was a Poet-in-Residence for the Detroit Public Library, COO of the Wayne County Council for Arts, History & Humanities and received a Proclamation for her work in the arts. She was the 2019 Michigan Humanities Champion of the Year nominee and currently serves on the board of LATITUDE Chicago. A 2020 Career Pathways committee member for the Society for American Music, Buchanan is a violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Community Ensemble. She is the founder of AUXmedia, a Detroit-based studio.

Randall Horton, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, is a professor of Creative Writing at University of New Haven and the author of several books, most recently Hook: A Memoir. Featured on outlets such as C-Span’s BookTV, Horton is a past NEA Creative Writing Fellow and a Great Lakes Association Fellow.