By Becca Donaldson
There is a new publishing press in Redlands, California and a driven team behind it, including five sisters. Meet Katia Aoun Hage, the founder of Elyssar Press, and her four sisters—Samar Hage, Nadia Boulos, Maryse Naaman and Stephanie Bou Karam. Also joining the team are Jessica Yowell, Traci Takahara, Wendy Hunt, Allie Rigby, Sim Jimenez, Jean-Claude Hage, Anis Bou Karam, Greg Gomez, Rachad Aoun, and Marie Fares. Since its inception, Elyssar Press has released five books, including poetry collections, artist books, and biographies in English, French, and Arabic. By June of 2021, two additional books will be published with even more on the way and submissions open.
What began as a tiny seed planted by Katia Aoun Hage, the founder of Elyssar Press, has blossomed into a space for stories from around the world to be celebrated and shared. Elyssar Press is committed to the power of human knowledge, and to telling tales that remind people of the joy of being alive. That’s why the press publishes both local and international works, with a focus on sharing the human experience.
Who Was Elyssar?
From childhood, the great Queen Elyssar has been an inspiration to the five sisters who knew Queen Elyssar for her bravery and wisdom. “She was legendary,” Stephanie Bou Karam explains during the interview. In the 9th century BC, Queen Elyssar and her loyal subjects fled from the Phoenician Tyre. After sailing the Mediterranean Sea to Tunisia, Elyssar founded the great city of Carthage.
In her quest for peace and freedom of expression, she gave rise to a nation which became a crossroads for rich thought and knowledge from around the world, a hub of exchange of stories, discoveries, philosophies, sciences and spiritual beliefs.
Today, Elyssar Press brings that bold vision to the world of literature, offering a home for works by international artists and writers who believe in the power of creation.
Elyssar Press is excited to release more books into the world that celebrate “individuality, the richness of every culture and the understanding attained in the knowledge about each other by ways of beauty in the written language and design.”
This year alone, Elyssar Press published multiple titles, including another collection of poetry and an anthology celebrating artists and resilience in Beirut. Stay tuned for all that is happening for this driven team and all the art they are bringing into the world.