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.

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 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.

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

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

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

Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Artist-in-Residence, Brooklyn Public Library (2018)

Rich Villar, Feature 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

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

Alan King, PEN Faulkner Fellow, 2012-present

About the Co-Founders, Heather Buchanan & Randall Horton

2019 University of Michigan Difference Maker Alumnus of the Year and Michigan Humanities Champion of the Year Nominee Heather Buchanan is the owner of Aquarius Press (founded 1999), of which Willow Books is its flagship imprint. Buchanan teaches at many universities and is a three-time fellow. She is the director of the LitFest national festivals. A consultant in the arts and humanities, Buchanan was a Poet-in-Residence for the Detroit Public Library and received a Proclamation from the city for her work in the arts. Buchanan is also a musician and founder of AUXmedia, an indie film production company.

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.