NewSouth Books History
NewSouth Books, an Alabama-based independent trade publisher widely recognized for its focus on southern culture and history, particularly civil and human rights, was in its third decade when it was acquired as an imprint of the University of Georgia Press, effective July 1, 2022. The company was launched in historic downtown Montgomery in 2000 by Randall Williams, an Alabamian, and Suzanne La Rosa, a New Yorker. The partners were already book industry veterans, having published hundreds of titles at their previous separately owned independents and as executives at larger trade publishers and nonprofits. The duo shared a love of literature and history, a belief in the transformative power of the written word, and a keen appreciation of the publishing industry.
Books from NewSouth have been recognized by critics for outstanding writing and strong cultural content. The house’s fiction and nonfiction titles have won awards, been translated and adapted for stage and film, and adopted in colleges and high schools.
Over the years, NewSouth published more than eight hundred titles in such categories as southern history, politics, African American studies, biography/memoir, civil rights, education, essays, fiction, folklore, children’s pictorial/young adult, and poetry. As an imprint of the University of Georgia Press, NewSouth will continue to publish ten to fifteen new titles per year, and its four-hundred-title backlist will continue to be distributed and sold internationally.
From the start, Williams and La Rosa viewed NewSouth’s publishing program as mission based. The Louisville Courier-Journal called NSB “a risk-taking, socially conscious publisher.”
“We gravitate to material that enhances our understanding of who we are and that asks us to stretch in our understanding of others,” says La Rosa. “Our publishing program is defined by its strong cultural component.” Williams adds that NewSouth’s titles are not exclusively southern but that its program specializes in books on southern history and culture, “especially those that examine the role of individuals in creating or contending with the change and conflict that came to the region in the post–World War II era. We believe strongly in the transformative power of information and knowledge, and we hope that the books we publish offer collective insight that helps the region grow toward ‘the beloved community’ and the fulfillment of the democratic promise.”