Questlove launching book publishing company, AUWA

The Grammy and Oscar winner started a book publishing imprint with MCD. Sly Stone's memoir is scheduled as its first release.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is adding another title to his already lengthy multi-hyphenated list of jobs. The Roots drummer-bandleader, music producer, filmmaker, and DJ is launching a book publishing company.

AUWA Books is an imprint of MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. MCD announced on Wednesday that AUWA plans to publish fiction and non-fiction books that cover a dynamic range of topics. AUWA’s name comes from Prince’s famous bird call vocal ad-libs, heard in songs like “Baby I’m a Star” and “Eye No.”

Thompson stated that it made sense for publishing to be his next venture. “I have been writing books for over a decade,” he said in a statement. “So it seemed like a natural step to publish them too. I’m very excited about AUWA Books, from the books we have lined up to those we haven’t discovered yet. Let’s take it to the page.”

Questlove attending the “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” world premiere on Nov. 15, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

While AUWA will release books on various topics, music is still a significant focus. Its first published book will drop on Oct. 17 in the form of Sly Stone’s memoir, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer responsible for hits like “Everyday People,” “Stand!,” and “Family Affair” is penning his story with Ben Greenman, a co-executive publisher of AUWA.

 “I am thrilled MCD is embarking on this imprint with Questlove and the AUWA team,” said Sean McDonald, senior vice president and publisher of MCD, in a statement. “There is no better, more exciting, more mind-expanding intelligence to guide a new publishing venture that can push the boundaries of what we might think to expect from a literary imprint, and I think the roster we’ve begun to assemble for AUWA — starting with the memoir of the elusive, iconic Sly Stone this October — already shows how thrilling this is going to be.”

In 2024, AUWA will release Thompson’s latest book, “Hip-Hop is History” with Greenman, and a book by Drew Afualo, TikTok and podcasting superstar. In 2025, co-founder of StockX and Fanatics Collectibles Josh Luber will release “Building the Hype Economy,” Derrick Palmer, vice president and co-founder of the Amazon Labor Union, will drop “Handbook for the Revolution: The Essential Guide for Workplace Organizing.”

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