US Reporter

RIZE and Running Wild Press Gives Authors of Color the Voice and Platform to Share Their Stories

With a goal to help authors of color amplify their voices and bring their stories forward, Running Wild Press, alongside its founder Lisa Diane Kastner, is unveiling the latest publishing platform RIZE to bring this vision to life. Today, RIZE welcomes people of color looking to showcase their incredible story ideas and writing skills to the world. 

Lisa Diane Kastner is the founder and executive editor of the top publishing company Running Wild Press. Ultimately, her company publishes exceptional stories that feature writing styles that do not fit neatly in a box. This initiative was a response to a growing gap in the industry affecting unconventional writers. “In today’s world, there are amazingly talented authors with fantastic stories that may never see the light of day because they don’t fit into the traditional structures as defined by larger publishers,” she expresses.

While Lisa may have successfully established Running Wild Press to bridge the gap, her commitment to the publishing community still does not end there. Most recently, she led the launching of RIZE, a new platform designed to cater to people of color who have the knack for writing genre stories. Led by Andrea J. Johnson, RIZE is now set to publish three-genre novels in 2021. “Our goal is to bring forward unique voices and bring them the fans that they deserve,” says Lisa. 

For over a decade now, Lisa Diane Kastner has worked in the entertainment and media industry. Her substantial experience and expertise in various fields, including business and technology, have propelled her to succeed in her endeavors, such as Running Wild Press. Recently, the empowered female entrepreneur has also been nominated for the Forbes’ inaugural “Next 1000,” initiative where diverse entrepreneurs redefining business amid the pandemic will be put in the spotlight. 

Like its founder, Running Wild Press has also received much acclaim from the community. It has garnered two best of 2019 publications and one best of 2020 for Terence Hawkin’s “Turning’s Graveyard.” Moreover, many of its published works have also received impressive reviews and multiple-starred ratings from readers and critics. “I’m honored to publish these amazing voices with stories from a brain cancer survivor, Suzanne Sample’s ‘Gone Wild,’ to a wife’s perspective of her husband’s return home from war with PTSD, to a short story collection of LGBTQ characters of color, Reuben Tihi Hayslett’s ‘Dark Corners,’ and so many other wonderful narratives,” shares Lisa.

Today, Lisa hopes to bring RIZE to the same level of success as Running Wild Press. But this time, she is not only bringing unique voices and stories to the writing community, but she is also amplifying voices of minorities, helping them stand out in an industry where mainstream writers and large publishers dominate. 

Soon, Lisa hopes to publish twice the number of books her companies publish at present. Alongside Running Wild Press and RIZE, she is working on bringing the authors’ stories and narratives to a whole new level, leading them toward electronic books, TV shows, films, and other mediums. Learn more about RIZE and Running Wild Press by visiting their official website.

Young Visionary Norbert Butare Promotes Literacy Among Rwandan Youth Through IKARAMU

Literacy serves as a fundamental human right that needs to be nurtured in every person. Not only is it a concern for individuals, but it is also an essential consideration for society’s development. To be literate means having a higher fighting chance of availing educational and economic opportunities that can pull people out of poverty and unemployment. And for communities, the literacy rate is an indicator of social and economic well-being. 

It is, therefore, important to maintain systems encouraging literacy and appreciate initiatives that promote it. IKARAMU, a writing platform for aspiring bloggers, writers, and authors, is one such effort committed to raising literacy. This platform is under a company founded by twenty-one-year-old Norbert Butare.

Norbert is an international student from Rwanda who came to the US in the Fall of 2018 to finish high school and is currently a sophomore at Florida International University in Miami, taking International Business. The COVID-19 pandemic sparked this young man’s move to bring together young Rwandans for a cause.

One of the significant worldwide consequences of the pandemic was the temporary shutting down of schools. When Rwanda went into total lockdown, it highlighted to Norbert a gap in the Rwandan educational system and prompted him to establish a company that would offer an avenue to young writers, bloggers, and aspiring authors to write about their social, political, and economic perspectives. 

After working on the details of the platform for two months, Norbert then organized a team of young Rwandans to moderate and make it a safe space. And now, IKARAMU has emerged as a strategic place that approaches the promotion of literacy at different angles. For one, it connects writers to their peers in an effort to improve idea-sharing. Moreover, it bestows reward and appreciation to the best writers, awarding prize money, school materials, and more to its competitions’ winners. 

With its website already launched and accessible to users, IKARAMU has also rolled out its Android app and is set to introduce to the public its IOS counterpart very soon. Part of the upcoming ventures of the platform, as well, is the partnership with big Rwandan publishing companies that would assist in the publication of some of the works of IKARAMU’s contributors.

Currently, IKARAMU is in the process of opening a writing competition that will offer scholarships and other awards. Norbert hopes that this will become one of many future opportunities intended to encourage the expansion of the skills of Rwandan writers. And while IKARAMU’s primary audience is Rwandan youth, Norbert envisions it to become a space for Americans, too. 

In the coming years, this young visionary hopes IKARAMU to be the biggest private literature hub in Rwanda, producing several successful authors who can call the platform their home. It will also continue to capitalize on digital channels to widen its reach. This reliance on cyberspace is because IKARAMU is a direct translation of the word pen in the Kinyarwanda language. And given that the Internet has become the modern-day pen, Norbert intends to use it to give everyone a voice and allow them to share how they perceive the world. 

Learn more about Norbert Butare by visiting his website and Instagram page.