Rock N' Read: Penguin Random House Was Back at AFROPUNK


Afropunk Rock N’ Read presented by All Ways Black Tent.

Afropunk Rock N’ Read presented by All Ways Black Tent.

Penguin Random House had a big presence at this past weekend’s AFROPUNK, September 10-11, at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn.

As the sole book publisher at their first in-person NYC festival since 2019, Penguin Random House spent two full days engaging with an influential community of gifted creatives from all backgrounds who express themselves through music, art, film, books, comedy, fashion and more. 

J Wortham and Kimberly Drew signing Black Futures.

Anthony Key, Director of Multicultural Marketing, notes that “When we talk about being at the right place, at the right time with the right message… Afropunk is it.  We are connecting our books with an audience who shows a true appreciation for our authors and their stories and their only ask is that they get more of it.”

“What is your favorite thing about being Black?” Post-It Wall.

The Penguin Random House Rock N’ Read tent—centered this year around our All Ways Black platform—was a must-visit destination for festival-goers to grab a free advance copy, meet an author, and get an All Ways Black tote to sport during the rest of the festival. They also had the opportunity to meet All Ways Black curator, Cree Myles, in person and share answers to Cree’s final question to all of the authors that she interviews: What is your favorite thing about being Black?  Festival goers could write their answer on a post-it and add it to the wall!  Check out the Reel here to see a range of inspiring answers.

“Afropunk is a unique way to get our books in front of a variety of Black readers who are all eager to just see themselves in the pages, and giving them the space to relish in their Black joy was such a satisfying experience. Black people are not a monolith so it’s so important to be able to engage with these readers with an assortment of genres they enjoy: fantasy, memoir, social justice, romance, etc. I’m so fascinated to see how we top ourselves next year,” says Milena Brown, Director, Marketing, Knopf Doubleday.

In addition to the highlights shared live on All Ways Black, AFROPUNK blasted our booth programming on their Instagram page (with nearly one million followers). The PRH booth enjoyed a constant flow of book lovers, librarians and teachers, writers, and influencers all thrilled for this unique opportunity to engage in authentic conversations about our books written and created by Black authors including everything from cookbooks to children’s books.

Omar Epps signing Nubia: The Awakening.

Author appearances were a big draw and fans were excited to meet Omar Epps (NUBIA: THE AWAKENING), J Wortham and Kimberly Drew (BLACK FUTURES), Vallery Lomas (LIFE IS WHAT YOU BAKE IT), Jasmine Mans (BLACK GIRL, CALL HOME), Ian Manuel (MY TIME WILL COME),Nicole Ellis (WE GO HIGH), and others. 

Book sales at the All Ways Black tent were strong, with several titles selling out on day one and more selling out by the end of day two despite a rainy second day!

PRH Fan Giveaways.

Andreia Wardlaw, Publicity Assistant, Pantheon, said “I loved talking about Black books with Black people! Seeing the excitement on everyone’s face about being represented in a space for Black people by Black people brought life and new importance to the need for diverse publishing.”


A big thank you to all of the Penguin Random House colleagues who participated and volunteered—it would not have been possible to make this event the success that it was without you!

Posted: September 15, 2022