About Us

Willow Books, founded in 2007, is the flagship imprint of the award-winning Aquarius Press. The mission of Willow is to develop, publish and promote writers of color. Collaborations include the University of Michigan Special Collection, Poets House in New York, the African Libraries Collective, PEN/Faulkner, University of New Haven, Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., Harlem Arts Salon, Thurgood Marshall 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 readings and its Literature Awards, which sponsors cash prizes and publication. The Willow Arts Alliance sponsors fellowships for talented multidisciplinary artists. The press maintains an active annual roster of over 40 single-title authors and has published over 300 writers in anthologies and journals. An industry leader, the press is known for its excellence in design, content, 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 Literature Awards

Willow Books is the proud sponsor of the Willow Books Literature Awards, which to date has awarded several deserving writers with full publishing contracts. Recent Grand Prize winners:


Sahar Mustafah, Prose, Code of the West (formerly Life, Move Leisurely)

Gustavo Adolfo Aybar, Poetry, We Seek Asylum


Vanessa Hua, Prose, Deceit & Other Possibilities


Rachelle Linda Escamilla, Poetry, Imaginary Animal

David Garvin, Prose, White Sun: Stories from Hispanoamerica


Angela Narciso Torres, Poetry, Blood Orange

Angie Chuang, Prose, The Four Words for Home

Willow Books Emerging Authors Fund

Recognizing the considerable resources required for an emerging writer to achieve success, both financially and professionally, the Emerging Authors Fund assists one Willow writer per year with one signature goal.

Willow Arts Alliance

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

Key Partnerships

Cave Canem Foundation, Inc., NYC, longstanding partnership that publishes the Foundation’s biennial anthology.

Carr Center, Detroit, nearly decade-long 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

BookExpo America


Chicago Book Fair

Frankfurt Book Fair

AWP (Association of Writing Programs)

SSML (Society for the Study of Midwest Literature)

Marquee Achievements

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

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

Alan King, PEN Faulkner Fellow, 2012-present