Gratitude from Elyssar Press Founder, Katia Aoun Hage–Plus “Books to Watch”

Four rows of colorful books piled in a bookshelf

As we reflect on the journey of our small press, we are invited to look towards the future, and celebrate the stories we get to share with you.

The year 2021 was filled with adventures in learning and experimenting with projects that challenged the limitations of our horizons and internal worlds.  We have been busy laying foundations that will carry us through the years and setting up the creation of the mold for the stories that have been entrusted to us.

We are grateful for all those who have submitted their words and life to our eyes and hearts. Thank you to everyone who has followed us on social media, liked our posts, and bought a book or two. Thank you to all who visit our website and browse the many pages to see what we are about and what stories move us.

Our publishing company is slowly becoming a place where creativity flows in the light of a vision where personal stories become part of the whole.

This time is also an invitation to turn our gaze forward towards a new cycle of life. We sure hope for the best in the days ahead, finding comfort in an old Lebanese saying, “as long as there is good health, everything else will fall into place.”

Five Books that Delighted, Moved, and Surprised Us

On our desks, we are preparing the publication of a number of books. We hope you feel as moved by these words and stories as we do. We can’t wait to share them with you! Here are a few of our books to watch as the year unfolds. 

Let’s start with an Arabic poetry book by Nadine Najem entitled Fawret Alam. Nadine’s poetry is filled with beautiful imagery, making the sentiment palpable to the reader. Her writing has humor and wit, with skillful use of the Lebanese dialect. Nadine’s poems speak of the longing for a lover, the loss of many, and her love for the land.

A tall stack of books appear in the far right of an otherwise vacant, white space.
Our upcoming releases for 2022 include five books from around the world. We cannot wait to share them with you!

Next, we offer an anthology of art and commentary titled Visible God, edited by Reverend Erin Beardempl. In this anthology, artists take on the task to comment and create art inspired by their favorite psalms. The artwork includes photography, collages, fabric art, and paintings. Each artist brings their own faith experience to share. Their pieces become a doorway to the inner world through meditation and silent reflection.

A beautiful and heartfelt book of poetry, Oráculo del Sal / Salt Oracle in Spanish and English, written by Professor Ivonne Gordon and translated by Diego Fernandez, speaks of our everyday mundane and intimate gestures—and the impossibility to live without them. Professor Gordon honors us with her poems. Her most recent book, Casa de Agua / Water House, was awarded the Poetry Award: First Poet in New York by Valparaíso Editions (2020). Diego has done wonderful work at translating her poems, with a sensitivity to the Spanish language and its rhythms.

Running with Crows, written by Scottish artist and filmmaker, Gayle Baird, takes us on a deep voyage inside the life of a university woman with all the twists and turns of intimate relationships, the personal mental health journeys, and the difficulties encountered in the film industry. Gayle’s style of writing is vivid and engaging, to the point where the reader feels alive inside her story.

And lastly, we have, a book of short stories, Alter Alter by Toti O’Brien. Toti, as a seasoned poet and professional musician, has the ability to introduce her characters. She bring you directly in contact with their realities. Experimenting with a new style of writing, Toti finds herself quite at ease in depicting a world where the ending keeps the reader on their toes.

Closing Thoughts from Our Founder

We look forward to introducing each of these dedicated authors and their books to you, this 2022. Thank you all for being on this journey with us. As a small press honoring stories from around the world, we are also excited to lean into our local community of Redlands, California. Keep an eye out and an open heart for upcoming writing workshops, public readings, book fairs, and more! 

And to our global community, we look forward to celebrating stories, together, in our online events.

Cheers!

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