Ann Ferrar / Author / Contact
Journalist and author Ann Ferrar is an accomplished writer of narrative non-fiction. 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).
Ann has two upcoming books: the definitive biography African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield—A Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road and Hear Me Roar: 25th Anniversary Global Edition.
Ferrar, with her decades-long track record in journalism and narrative non-fiction, has written motorcycling feature articles for The New York Times, American Motorcyclist and online venues, including the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame website. Her other feature stories and essays on women's issues and eclectic human interest subjects have been published in major international magazines, websites and via syndication.
Ferrar's African American Queen of the Road biography has never-before-published stories of Bessie Stringfield's private life, known only to Bessie and Ann. Along with other research and interviews with Bessie's peers whom are now deceased, the book is painting a nuanced portrait of Bessie, the African American motorcycling pioneer who today remains essentially as unknown as she is admired by her millions of new fans. Bessie's hidden history as a rule-breaker in America's pre-Civil Rights era has a lot more beneath it, which Ann explores in the new book.
Ferrar is also writing Hear Me Roar: 25th Anniversary Global Edition. Part One-USA takes a retrospective look at outstanding American women from the first edition, and adds new material on Bessie Stringfield and other leading women spanning the 20th century. Part Two-Global brings a diverse array of accomplished female bikers, motor sports athletes, endurance racers, adventure riders and activists from around the world. In addition to the USA and Canada, there are riders from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, France, Germany, Australia, South Africa and India, to name just a few on the long list of bikers from six continents. Release dates for both books are TBA.
Ann met Bessie Stringfield in 1990 at the start of her research and road trips for the first edition of Hear Me Roar and the two women became inter-generational friends. Immediately, Ann saw the importance of documenting Bessie's hidden story and writing her life for publication, neither of which had ever been done before. Ferrar's exclusive tapes of Bessie—the only sound recordings of Bessie Stringfield in existence—are copyright-registered in the U.S. Library of Congress but they are not available for use by other parties. These private audio tapes are the foundation of the new definitive biography.
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 U.S. states and parts of Ontario, Canada. To write and photograph Hear Me Roar between 1990 and 1995, Ferrar met and interviewed more than 100 women bikers, rode tens of thousands of miles around America alone, and was a participant-observer in scores of motorcycle rallies and other biker events. Ferrar's archival research and interviews with descendants of deceased, early 20th-century female bikers, yielded the first detailed look at these forgotten pioneers of the American road.
Ferrar, with her passion for discovering and writing the lives of overlooked women, was the first to chronicle and narrate 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 Hear Me Roar.
Born and raised in South Brooklyn, New York, Ferrar 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 and was part of the city's biker scene during the 1990s and 2000s, where she was nicknamed The Literary Biker Chick. Today, her global community of female riders has shortened it to Lit Biker Chick or Lit Chick. She still lives in the Greater New York region of the northeastern United States with Ruby, her rescued Staffordshire bull terrier. In keeping with her penchant and appreciation for all things vintage, for her next bike, Ann has her sights on a motorcycle with a sidecar rig and Ruby as her co-pilot.
Over the years, Ferrar has been consulted for her expertise on the early history of women bikers, particularly for her unparalleled knowledge of Bessie 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 readings and seminars at colleges, libraries, women's and motorcycle events.
Motorcycle lifestyle articles written by Ann Ferrar include:
"Windswept Freedom on Two Fast Wheels," New York Times, May 19, 2002
"The Biker Question: To Roar or Not to Roar," New York Times, July 25, 2003
"Where Neon Meets the Road," New York Times, May 14, 2004
Independently reported articles about Ann Ferrar's work on Bessie Sringfield include:
Stevenson, Jed: "Hear Me Roar: A Woman's Symphony on the Road," New York Times, July 28, 1996
Lorchner, Jasmin: "Motorrad-Pionieren Bessie Stringfield, Rebellin auf Radern," Der Spiegel Online, August 22, 2019
DeFares, Giselle: "The Black Woman Who Biked Across the US Alone During the 1930s Jim Crow Era," Vice.com, March 28, 2018
Logan, Ian J.D.: "Feature, Bessie Stringfield," Iron & Air Magazine, 2017: Issue 029
Timeline (Video): "Meet Bessie Stringfield, the Black Motorcycle Queen of Florida," May 2018
For Amazon's description of Hear Me Roar's first edition, search for the title with the author's name on Amazon.com. Coming later on this website is a new page dedicated to Hear Me Roar's 25th Anniversary Global Edition.
For professional, rights and media inquiries about Ann Ferrar's stories of Bessie Stringfield, including African American Queen of the Road, and the 25th Anniversary Global Edition of Hear Me Roar, contact:
Larry Zerner at firstname.lastname@example.org, 310-773-3623