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Grand Central Publishing Acquires BETTER, NOT BITTER by Yusef Salaam, Prison Reform Activist, and Member of the Exonerated Five

New York-November 23, 2020

Grand Central Publishing (GCP) is excited to announce the acquisition of BETTER, NOT BITTER: Living On Purpose in The Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam, member of the Exonerated Five and an award-winning motivational and transformational speaker, thought leader, NYT bestselling author and coach.

Seema Mahanian, Editor at GCP acquired the North American rights from Cait Hoyt of Creative Artists Agency. BETTER, NOT BITTER: Living On Purpose in The Pursuit of Racial Justice will be published in hardcover print, e-book and audio editions in the Spring of 2021.

BETTER, NOT BITTER is a candid and poignant look at the life of an American citizen, born and raised in Harlem, NY who was accused and convicted by a flawed criminal injustice system designed to ensnare and decimate as many Black and Brown bodies as possible. The infamous Central Park Five case is a glaring example of what corruption, racial injustice and misappropriation of power looks like. The five teens were called animals, monsters and vilified by the media and legal system at every turn. Yusef Salaam has always been so much more than what was splashed across the national headlines about the Central Park Five. Despite being unjustly incarcerated at the age of fifteen and spending nearly seven years behind bars for a crime he did not commit; the faith, respect and love that was instilled and reinforced in him as a child kept him connected to his purpose and humanity. In BETTER, NOT BITTER, Salaam invites us to experience how a life lived with intention and self-determination is actualized with clarity and grace.

Of the acquisition, Salaam said, “One of the most powerful lessons I learned while being wrongfully incarcerated was that instead of going through something, I was going to grow through something. Through Better, Not Bitter, I hope to share these lessons with people around the world who – in these unprecedented times – are dealing with rage, anger and bitterness directed at a criminal system of injustice that has plagued our country for centuries. All of us were born on purpose, and with a purpose. In the current moment we’re in, our purpose is becoming more and more clear — changing this system for the better. I’m thrilled to partner with Grand Central to educate, inspire, and help make that change a reality.”

Seema Mahanian said, No one’s life is the sum of the worst things to happen to them, and Yusef Salaam’s inspirational memoir, which tells the whole story of his life, is a galvanizing call to action. Yusef leads by example: channeling the pain and trauma of a grave miscarriage of justice into a sense of purpose. His story speaks to a nation’s  400-year history and its inability to be held accountable for its sins, reminding us that to look to the future with hope and intention, rather than despair, is in itself a radical, transformative, spiritual act—one imperative to charting the world’s course towards racial justice.”

Yusef Salaam is the inspirational speaker and prison reform activist, who was one of the five teenage boys wrongly convicted and sentenced to prison in the Central Park jogger case. In 1997, he left prison as an adult to a world he didn’t fully recognize or understand. In 2002, the sentences for the Central Park Five were overturned, and all Five were exonerated for the crime they didn’t commit. Yusef now travels the world as an inspirational speaker, speaking about the effects of incarceration and the devastating impact of disenfranchisement. He is an advocate and educator on issues of mass incarceration, police brutality and misconduct, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in the criminal justice system, especially for men of color.

About Grand Central Publishing:

Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, reaches a diverse audience through hardcover, trade paperback and mass market books and e-books that cater to every kind of reader. Our imprints are Twelve, Forever, Forever Yours and Balance.

About Hachette Book Group:

Hachette Book Group is a leading trade publisher based in New York and a division of Hachette Livre (a Lagardère company), the third-largest trade and educational publisher in the world. HBG is made up of seven publishing groups: Little, Brown and Company; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Grand Central Publishing; Perseus Books; Orbit; Hachette Nashville; and Hachette Audio.