ABOUT AUDREY EDWARDS AND AMERICAN RUNAWAY
Whether doing international reporting under the aegis of the United Nations on the effects of a drought in sub-Saharan Africa in 1984, or interviewing influencers as diverse as Oprah Winfrey and Maxine Waters, Audrey Edwards has had a 40-year career as a journalist with work that has won awards, been used in university courses, and referenced on national television talk shows. A former senior-level editor for the national publications Essence, where she was Editor and Executive Editor; Black Enterprise, where she served as Executive Editor and Vice President of Editorial Operations, and Family Circle and More magazines, holding Senior Editor titles at both, Ms. Edwards’s magazine years were spent mostly in Black-owned and women’s-oriented media where she assigned, edited, reported, and wrote about issues of race and gender for large, mass-media audiences.
Ms. Edwards has also authored seven books, most notably the groundbreaking Children of the Dream: The Psychology of Black Success (Doubleday, 1992), co-authored with Dr. Craig Polite; and The Man from Essence: Creating a Magazine for Black Women (Atria, 2014), a business memoir written in collaboration with Edward Lewis, co-founder of
Essence. In 2019 the book was the basis for a case study at the Harvard School of Business, and in 2020 HBO Max purchased the rights to produce the book as a limited-run television series.
Her latest work, AMERICAN RUNAWAY: Black and Free in Paris in the Trump Years (August Press, 2020), is a wise and wisecracking memoir on Ms. Edwards’s decision to run from America following the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. Paris has historically offered refuge to Black Americans running from American racism, be they soldiers following World War I, or the writers, musicians, artists and other creative thinkers who have been coming to the City of Light for 100 years. Josephine Baker. Richard Wright and James Baldwin. W.E.B. DuBois. Grace Jones. Miles Davis. Lenny Kravitz. Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Ms. Edwards was running as an older, retired Baby Boomer who had benefitted from the enormous social and political gains of her generation’s revolutionary activism. She was not inclined to remain in America watching those gains come under assault by the new Donald Trump political regime.
Like the uppity Boomer generation of which she is a part, Ms. Edwards chose to go the independent route in getting American Runaway published, working with August Press. Though the works of independently published authors are typically paid less attention to in major press, American Runaway stood out immediately upon publication, cited in the New York Times as “an awesome collection of essays,” by the Op-Ed writer Jennifer Finney Boylan. It was also referenced in a magazine piece in the premier French newspaper Le Monde.
Over 150 copies of American Runaway were sold during the prelaunch phase of publication last summer and had topped over 400 by the end of 2020. Sales were driven strictly by Ms. Edwards’ promotion of the book on the social media. First copies of the book also sold out in the Paris bookstore, The Red Wheelbarrow, shortly after being delivered.
Donald Trump may be sidelined from the political scene, but a story about his impact on a Black woman of “a certain age” riding out his presidency in Paris continues to resonate on both sides of the Pond.