Biographer Ann Ferrar / Contact
Journalist and author Ann Ferrar is an accomplished writer of narrative non-fiction. Her motorcycle lifestyle articles have been published in The New York Times. Her feature stories on women's issues and eclectic human interest subjects have been published in national women's magazines, newspaper syndicates and online venues. Ann is best known as the biographer of Bessie Stringfield and the author of the groundbreaking book Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road (NY: Crown Trade Paperbacks/Random House, 1996, first edition; NH: Whitehorse Press, 2000, later printing).
The author's forthcoming book is the long-form biography called African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield—A Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road. In the book, Ann is expanding on her story "Bessie B. Stringfield: The Color Blue." This original narrative, written by the author for the first edition of Hear Me Roar (and first published in 1993 in American Iron Magazine), introduced Bessie and sparked the worldwide fascination with her that exists to this day. The new biography will reveal the still-hidden parts of Bessie's story, which she shared exclusively with Ann. Along with years of corroborative research and interviews with Bessie's peers (now deceased), the book is painting a fascinating portrait of a woman who remains essentially as unknown as she is admired by her fans around the world.
The author met Bessie in 1990 at the start of her research and road trips for Hear Me Roar, and during the many years since, the author has explored other hidden areas of Bessie's life. The author's private tapes of Bessie—the only sound recordings of Bessie Stringfield in existence—reside in the U.S. Library of Congress but are not available to the public. Ferrar's biography of Bessie Stringfield is a work that cannot be written by anyone else.
Ann rode her own motorcycles for 18 years, owning six different bikes ranging from Hondas to BMWs. She began riding in her native New York City and became an assertive urban biker and a long-distance solo rider, covering 35 of the 48 lower states and parts of Ontario. To write and photograph Hear Me Roar between 1990 and 1995, the author interviewed scores of women bikers, rode tens of thousands of miles around America alone, and was a participant-observer in dozens of motorcycle rallies and other biker events. Ferrar's archival research, and interviews with descendants of early 20th-century female bikers, yielded the first detailed look at these forgotten pioneers of the American road.
Ferrar, with her background in journalism and her passion for women's studies, was the first to chronicle this little-known facet of women's mobility and gender role-reversal. Hear Me Roar was critically acclaimed, cited in scholarly studies of women in non-traditional roles, and covered by The New York Times, CNN, Entertainment Weekly and other media outlets. Ferrar was recognized by the American Motorcyclist Association with the Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award for her work on Hear Me Roar.
Concurrently with her work on the African American Queen of the Road biography of Bessie Stringfield, Ann Ferrar is writing the 25th Anniversary Global Edition of Hear Me Roar. This anniversary celebration begins by taking a retrospective look at women and events from the first edition, along with new material on Bessie and other prominent female bikers who were in those original pages. And unlike the first edition, which focused solely on American women, the 25th Anniversary will include female bikers from around the world who have taken to the roads and the race tracks during the past quarter-century. Release dates for both books are TBA.
Over the years, Ferrar has been consulted for her expertise on the early history of women bikers, particularly for her unparalleled knowledge of Ms. Stringfield, for museums and for PBS and History Channel documentaries, including American Biker and Glory Road: The Legacy of the African American Motorcyclist. The author has done live readings and talks at colleges, libraries, women's and motorcycle events.
In 2002, the author was asked by the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame to adapt her story "Bessie B. Stringfield: The Color Blue" from Hear Me Roar for the Hall of Fame website, and for oral recitation of Bessie's induction speech by the emcee at the Hall of Fame ceremony. The longer version of Ferrar's story from Roar was posted on the museum website simply as "Bessie Stringfield: Inducted 2002" for many years, where it was read by countless people who learned of Bessie for the first time. (Now, only a much shorter version of the story, abridged by the author, remains posted.)
Born and raised in South Brooklyn, New York, the author is an alumna of Brooklyn College, City University of New York. A member of the Authors Guild, Ann lived in TriBeCa in Lower Manhattan for many years. She still lives in the Northeastern United States with her rescued Staffordshire bull terrier.