Skip to main content

Mailchimp Announces “By the Books: A Collection of Rising Voices”

Our summer reading program and virtual literary festival celebrating stories that deserve to be told

Today, Mailchimp announced “By the Books: A Collection of Rising Voices,” a virtual book festival celebrating the stories that deserve to be told, and the people who author and enjoy them. The festival is hosted on Mailchimp Presents, Mailchimp’s streaming platform.

With independent book festivals and tours cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging authors who depend on these events lost the chance to share their perspectives with the world. After supporting independent filmmakers earlier this year through SXSW Support The Shorts, we pivoted our annual summer reading program, Read This Summer, by bringing it online and broadening our content offerings to uplift the literary community.

By the Books includes a collection of 14 inspiring and eye-opening books curated by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow (hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast and co-authors of Big Friendship), as well as a compilation of exclusive literary essays (curated by Ashley C. Ford), and author conversations from rising literary voices such as Cathy Park Hong, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Danez Smith.

We’ll also be sharing documentary features and short films bi-weekly, including acclaimed titles such as the Academy Award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro (available July 13), and Martin Scorsese’s Public Speaking: Fran Lebowitz (available July 27), as well as an original podcast, The Books that Changed Us, hosted by Aaron Lammer and Max Linsky (of the Longform podcast). The Books that Changed Us premieres with guests Shea Serrano and Saeed Jones, with new episodes releasing weekly. All episodes will be available on By the Books or wherever you listen to podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and more.

“Our summer reading partnership with the Decatur Book Festival has long been one of my favorite Mailchimp programs, and when the festival was cancelled this year, we had to find a new way to promote these authors facing disrupted book launches and an uncertain moment in publishing. By the Books is an attempt to take the book festival experience online, to curate new conversations, commission new writing, and provide a space to engage with stories that we want to share,” said Sarita Alami, Director of Programming, Mailchimp Studios.

By The Books stems from Mailchimp’s annual summer reading program, Read This Summer, and long-standing partnership with the Decatur Book Festival in our hometown of Atlanta. Since 2015, we’ve collaborated with important literary voices such as Roxane Gay, Alexander Chee, and Jenna Wortham to curate summer reading lists for our employees and community.

July 6, 2020


Authors Featured:

  • "Big Friendship" by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
  • "Real Life" by Brandon Taylor
  • "Minor Feelings" by Cathy Park Hong
  • "Homie" by Danez Smith
  • "Rodham" by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • "Always Home" by Fanny Singer
  • "A Black Women's History of the United States" by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
  • "Lifting As We Climb" by Evette Dionne
  • "In The Dream House" by Carmen Maria Machado
  • "Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love and the Hidden Order of Life" by Lulu Miller
  • "Life Events" by Karolina Waclawiak
  • "Look" by Zan Romanoff
  • "I Don't Want To Die Poor: Essays" by Michael Arceneaux
  • "Wow, No Thank You" by Samantha Irby
  • "Mostly Dead Things" by Kristin Arnett


  • Karolina Waclawiak "Life Events" + Zan Romanoff "Look"
  • Michael Arceneaux "I Don't Want To Die Poor: Essays" + Samantha Irby "Wow, No Thank You"
  • Ann Friedman & Aminatou Sow: "Big Friendship"

Essayists (curated by Ashley C. Ford):

  • Ashley C. Ford
  • Matt Ortile
  • Shayla Lawson
  • Thomas Page McBee
  • Austin Channing Brown
  • Amy Jo Burns
  • Heather Havilesky
  • Carla Bruce-Eddings
  • CJ Hauser

Feature Films/Documentaries:

  • I Am Not Your Negro – Directed by Raoul Peck (available July 13)
  • Public Speaking: Fran Lebowitz – Directed by Martin Scorsese (available July 27)
  • The 50 Year Argument – Directed by David Tedeschi and Martin Scorsese (available August 10)
  • Life Itself – Directed by Steve James (available August 24)

Films/ Film Companion Essays:

  • Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak – Directed by Lance Bangs & Spike Jonze
  • Among The Wild Things – by Nat Hentoff (companion to Tell Them Anything You Want)
  • Welcome To The Last Bookstore (short film) – Directed by Chad Howitt
  • What to do when you own one of the most famous bookstores in the world and your daughter isn't much of a reader – by Josh Spencer (companion to Welcome To The Last Bookstore)
  • My Grandfather’s Memory Book (short film) – Directed by Colin Levy
  • A Book For Just Us – by Colin Levy (companion to My Grandfather’s Memory Book)

The Books That Changed Us (Podcast):

  • Trailer
  • Shea Serrano (Episode 1) – Available now
  • Saeed Jones (Episode 2) – Available now
  • **Additional episodes available weekly

Branded Content Series

  • Book Shook – a new short-form series from Mailchimp Presents and Hello Sunshine. Coming in August 2020.
Share This Article