Updated: Dec 19, 2021
PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release
Book Celebrating Fort Smith Culture and Diversity Launches
Bookish: an indie shop for folks who read Hosts Event
CONTACT: Jennifer Burchett; Author, Dear Fort Smith; Owner, Daisy House Publishing
PHONE/EMAIL: 806-939-3049 / Jennifer[at]daisyhousepublishing[dot]com / www.daisyhousepublishing.com
CONTACT: Sara Putman; Owner, Bookish: an indie shop for folks who read
PHONE/EMAIL: 479-434-8631 / Sara[at]bookishfs[dot]com
FORT SMITH, ARK, December 20, 2021: This Thursday, December 23, 2021, Bookish, an independent bookstore in Fort Smith, will host the book launch of Dear Fort Smith, a historical retrospective of the lives of people in Fort Smith throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. The event is free, open to the public, and will take place at Bookish’s Bakery District location at 70 S. 7th in Fort Smith. The event begins at 5:30 and will include a Q&A, reading, and book signing.
The bulk of Dear Fort Smith is comprised of narrative photography of key events that took place throughout the pandemic including protests in the wake of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor’s murders, drive-thru COVID-19 testing, children at Cavanaugh Elementary School playing while masked, and families and business owners trying to make ends meet. The historical book also includes 11 featured stories of Sister Pierre Vorster, Dr. Ahmed Kaako, Fort Smith Police Chief Danny Baker, Arkansas State Representative Cindy Crawford, Fort Smith City Councilman Andre’ Good, Mercedes Lopez, Keith Elmore, Jennifer Grayston, Chris Chaney, Marideis Medina, and Chris Joannides.
Chief Baker said, “Resilience is the shared DNA of Fort Smith. Dear Fort Smith provides a unique and candid glimpse of that DNA in action during one of our most challenging years in recent history. I am humbled to help tell her story and excited for the future of our great city!”
Dear Fort Smith is the brainchild of Jennifer Burchett, who conceived the idea at the onset of the pandemic. “In the spring of 2020 the pandemic hit Arkansas and people were divided. I wanted to do something that brought as many diverse people as possible together in one literary space to show that even though we are all different, we don’t have to be divided. I believe that storytelling has an amazingly beautiful and inclusive quality, and it is that spirit of unity that I wanted to harness. Afterall, ‘diverse’ is simply another word for ‘everybody’.”
Sister Elise Forst, OSB, from Saint Scholastica Monastery was the editor of Dear Fort Smith and says, “Jennifer loves to meet people, all kinds of people. She is eager to hear where they’ve been, where they are, and where they hope to go. She loves and values each one, showing great respect for their experiences. Dear Fort Smith beautifully introduces us to some of the people she encountered in 2020.”
Dear Fort Smith prompted Jennifer Burchett to start a publishing company with a similar mission as Dear Fort Smith. Daisy House Publishing will publish quality literature that highlights diverse voices while giving back to communities. The next book to be published out of the publishing house is a children’s book about the power of giving titled Three Little Flowers. Daisy House Publishing is open for submissions and is eager to publish works by local talent while partnering with independent bookstores to help local economies.
Sara Putman, owner of Bookish, had this to say about the partnership and publication of Dear Fort Smith, “Working with Jennifer and Daisy House has been a dream. When you have a publisher who understands the importance of building the local economy, it’s pretty special. The thoughtfulness Jennifer has in her writing carries over to her business model and that is exactly what we need to see more of.”
Pre-orders of Dear Fort Smith are available at Bookishfs.com. People are welcome to purchase their copy in person at Bookish on December 23, 2021 and after.
Above: Front cover of Dear Fort Smith
Above: Jennifer Burchett; Owner, Daisy House Publishing; Author, Dear Fort Smith
Above: Sara Putman, Owner, Bookish: an indie shop for folks who read