Ann Ferrar / Author / Contact
Journalist and author Ann Ferrar is an accomplished writer of narrative non-fiction from New York City. She is the biographer of Bessie Stringfield and the author of a groundbreaking book on women in a non-traditional milieu, titled Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road (NY: Crown Trade Paperbacks/Random House, 1996). Ann's upcoming book is the biography African American Queen of the Road: Bessie Stringfield—A Journey Through Race, Faith, Resilience and the Road.
Ferrar, with her decades-long track record in journalism and narrative non-fiction, has written feature articles for The New York Times, American Motorcyclist and online venues, such as the website of the American Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, where she wrote about Bessie Stringfield when Bessie was inducted in 2002. Ann's other stories and essays on women's issues, health and human interest topics have been published in major international magazines, websites and via syndication.
Ann's curiosity and skill at finding and writing about notable yet overlooked women led the author to record, preserve and write the story of Bessie Stringfield. Ann's first published narrative about Bessie was her eulogy, published as a feature article in American Iron, an international magazine for devotees of American-made motorcycles.
Bessie Stringfield was a bold but undiscovered pioneer who rode motorcycles around America in the pre-Civil Rights, pre-feminist decades. Ferrar's African American Queen of the Road biography has never-before-published stories of Bessie's private life. Ferrar's exclusive tapes of Bessie—the only sound recordings of Bessie Stringfield in existence—are the foundation of the new, definitive biography.
In 1990, at the start of her research and writing of the first edition of Hear Me Roar, the author met Bessie Stringfield. In addition to Bessie, Ferrar met and interviewed more than 100 women, rode tens of thousands of miles around America on her own motorcycle, and was a participant-observer in scores of rallies and other events. Ferrar's archival research, along with interviews of descendants of early 20th-century riders, yielded the first chronicle of these forgotten pioneers of the American road.
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 Board with the Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award for Hear Me Roar.
Over the years, Ferrar has been consulted for her expertise on the history of women riders, particularly for her knowledge of Bessie Stringfield. Last year she consulted for a segment about Ms. Stringfield on CNBC's Jay Leno's Garage. She has contributed her expertise to museums and appeared on camera in 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 rider events.
Ann rode her own motorcycles for 18 years, owning six different bikes. She began in her native New York City and became an assertive urban rider and a long-distance solo rider, covering 35 of the 48 lower U.S. states and parts of Canada. It was a natural transition for Ann to switch from writing for national women's and health magazines to writing freelance cover features for the Driving and Travel sections of The New York Times.
Ferrar is an alumna of Brooklyn College, City University of New York, where she studied journalism, communications and women's studies. A member of PEN America and the Authors Guild, Ann lived in TriBeCa in Lower Manhattan for many years, where she was nicknamed the Literary Biker Chick for her work on Hear Me Roar. She still lives in the Greater New York region of the USA with her rescued Staffordshire bull terrier.
Freelance feature 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
"Giving Nature a Helping Hand," New York Times, June 8, 2003
Independently reported articles about Ann Ferrar's work on Bessie Stringfield 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
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