July 2008 – (National) Tony Rose, Publisher/CEO, Amber Communications Group, Inc. and Executive Director/Co-Founder of the African American Pavilion at BookExpo America has been selected to receive the prestigious Wheatley Book Award. Other 2008 honorees are Haki R. Madhubuti (Third World Press); W. Paul Coates (Black Classic Press); Kassahun Checole (Africa World Press) and Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson (Just Us Books).
Created by Harlem Book Fair founder Max Rodriguez, the Wheatley Book Awards recognizes literary achievement that transcends culture, boundary, and perception. Past honorees include Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe, Sonia Sanchez, Walter Mosley, Octavia Butler, Ishmael Reed, Ruby Dee, John A. Williams, Walter Dean Myers, Amiri Baraka, Eloise Greenfield, Omar Tyree and other notable authors.
Rose states, “I am very honored and proud to have been selected as a ‘Wheatley Book Award’ recipient, following in the footsteps of the many distinguished awardees who have vastly contributed to the literacy of all Americans, but particularly people of African descent. I applaud Max Rodriguez for creating such an important platform in recognition of the literary achievements of the men and women who had the foresight and fortitude to make a difference in our communities and the world.”
The 2008 awards foreshadow an expansion to honor more writers in various categories from African and the African Diaspora experience. Max Rodriguez said, “Through this year’s honorees, we acknowledge the diversity of our reading public; next, we will embrace those writers and publishers who contribute to our awareness as a global community.”
The Wheatley Book Awards celebrates 40 Years of Black Book Publishing, a red carpet, black tie dinner, award program, and reception for the founders of modern black publishing as the formal opening event of the 2008 10th Anniversary of the Harlem Book Fair. The event will be held on Friday, July 18, 2008, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, New York, with a reception starting at 6:30pm.
The Award program was named after Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American poet whose writings helped create the genre of African American literature. She was born in in 1753 in Gambia, Africa, became a slave at age seven and was purchased by the Boston Wheatley family, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry. The 1773 publication of Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, brought her fame, with dignitaries such as George Washington praising her work.
Tony Rose is the Founder, Publisher and CEO of Phoenix, AZ based, Amber Communications Group, Inc. (ACGI). Amber Books Publishing, the corporation’s first imprint, was founded in 1998 and soon became established as the nation’s largest African-American publisher of self-help, career-guide and commercial/pop book titles written by and for African Americans. During ACGI’s ten year history, five other imprints emerged: BUSTA BOOKS – Celebrity Bios; COLOSSUS BOOKS featuring world-renowned personalities and history-making topics, AMBER/WILEY BOOKS – self-help & financial books co-published with John Wiley & Sons, Inc., AMBROSIA BOOKS for non-fiction/fiction novels and docu-dramas, and AMBER BOOKS2 for in-general specialty books.
Tony Rose is noted as the first African American Independent Publisher to gain a multi book Co-Publishing/imprint deal with John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in their two hundred year history and the first Independent African American Publisher to be licensed and distributed by Black Expressions Book Club with fifteen titles signed to date. Among ACGI’s most notable and diverse titles are: African Americans and the Future of New Orleans; Beautiful Black Hair; The African American Family’s Guide to Tracing Our Roots; The Afro-Centric Bride; The African American Scholarship Guide for Students and Parents; Born Beautiful: The African American Teenagers Complete Beauty Guide; Pay Yourself First: The African American Guide to Financial Success and Security; Aaliyah – An R & B Princess in Words & Pictures; Destiny’s Child: The Complete Story and Memoirs of a Superfreak – The Confessions of Rick James.
In 1996 Tony, along with his wife Yvonne Rose, began writing, and published in 1998 Amber Books first National Best-Selling title, Is Modeling For You? The Handbook and Guide for the Young Aspiring Black Model. Rose, originally from Roxbury/Boston, and a former internationally renowned record producer, having had production deals with Virgin Records, Atlantic Records and Pavilion/CBS/Sony Records, has also penned Before the Legend – The Rise of New Kids on the Block… and a Guy Named Maurice Starr – The Early Years scheduled for a July 2008 release.
Rose has acquired/licensed paperback rights from: Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Hyperion Books for publishing and distribution by ACGI. He has also successfully negotiated numerous worldwide partnerships and licensing deals for ACGI in the United States, South Africa, Europe, and Asia. ACGI is distributed by Independent Publishers Group (IPG).
As a leading book publisher, and mentor to hundreds of authors and publishers, Tony Rose has become one of the most forceful voices in the African American Book Publishing community. In 2004 he co-founded the African American Pavilion at Book Expo America, bringing together as exhibitors a community of thousands of African American book publishers and book publishing industry professionals, a feat that had been unprecedented in the 109-year history of BookExpo America. In 2005 Rose founded the Katrina Literary Collective, which has been responsible for collecting and donating over 90,000 books for the Hurricane Katrina Survivors and he serves as a founding Director of the Harlem Book Fair National and The Harlem Book Fair/Roxbury, Mass.
Rose is also the Executive Director and Co-Founder, The African American Pavilion at BookExpo America, Founding “Coordinator” for the Community of Color Pavilion / African American Exhibitors at the American Library Association Annual Conference (ALA), a Member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. (BCALA) and the Creator and Executive Producer of Literary Living, a unique television show formerly aired on The Black Family Channel and aimed exclusively at the African American book buying market, featuring African American book publishing professionals / personalities and celebrities.
Rose is the recipient of several awards including: The Chicago Black Book Fair and Conference Independent Publisher/Press Award; The BlackBoard Bestseller’s African-American Publisher of the Year Award; The American Library Association “Reluctant Reader” Award; The 1st YOUnity Book Reviewers, Disilgold Soul Magazine “Publisher of the Millennium” Award; The Diamond Literary Festival “Certificate of Appreciation” Award; The Harlem Book Fair, Boston/Roxbury “Charles C. Yancey” Literary Award; The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, House of Representatives, In Recognition of “Promoting the African American Experience Through the Literary World” Award; The City of Boston “Continuous Promotion of African American Authors” Resolution; The Black Caucus of The American Library Association (BCALA) “Appreciation Award; The BookExpo America “Founders Award”; The Haki R. Madhubuti “Independent Publisher of Note” Award; The City of Los Angeles, State of California, Leimert Park Village Book Fair, Certificate of Appreciation, “For Extraordinary Contributions to the African American Literacy Legacy” Award; The Los Angeles Black BookExpo, Certificate of Appreciation “Outstanding Contributions in Promoting Black Literature” Award and The Cape Verdean News “Millennium Award” for Book Publishing Excellence.