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. She is best known as the biographer of Bessie Stringfield and the author of the groundbreaking Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road (NY: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1996, first edition; NH: Whitehorse Press, 2000, later printing).
The author's forthcoming book is a 25th anniversary edition called African American Queen of the Road: Reflections on Bessie Stringfield and the Women Bikers of Hear Me Roar. In the anniversary edition, Ann is expanding on her story "Bessie B. Stringfield: The Color Blue." This original, copyrighted narrative, written by the author for the first edition of Hear Me Roar (and first published in 1993 in American Iron Magazine), introduced Bessie to the world and sparked the global fascination with Bessie that exists to this day.
The 25th anniversary edition of Roar will also have expanded stories on other daring women bikers from the original book. It will introduce a diverse array of new bikers as well. Next, Ann will release her long-awaited biographical memoir devoted solely to Bessie Stringfield and the still-hidden parts of her story, which Bessie shared exclusively with Ann. In keeping with the author's theme, the dedicated biography is called African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield, Narratives of Resilience and the Road.
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 known only to Bessie and Ann. 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.
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.
To research and write 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, 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 in the 20th century. Hear Me Roar was critically acclaimed 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.
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 Bessie's induction speech 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 hundreds of thousands over the years who learned of Bessie from that story. (Now, a much shorter version of Ferrar's story, abridged by the author, remains posted.)
Born and raised in 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 original writings and other activities, Ann Ferrar is honored to continue her role as the authorized biographer of Bessie Stringfield. Ann remains dedicated to her mission of keeping Bessie's story and memory alive and well into the 21st century.
Women bikers who would like to add their voices to the empowering 25th anniversary edition of Hear Me Roar: Please send a brief email to Ann at her alternate email address at WomenRoar@yahoo.com. To contact the author regarding her biography dedicated solely to Bessie Stringfield, please use either of the addresses listed below.