Restless Books History

MissionTeamHistory • Board


Restless Books grew out of an impatience with the parochial, inward-looking, and homogenizing trends in American publishing and a conviction that readers are naturally hungry for new destinations, experiences, and perspectives. Founded in 2013 by Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison, Restless set out to feed this hunger and curiosity with a richer diet of international literature, and to reclaim a sense of what it means to be restless—“stirring constantly, desirous of action.”

From our office in Gowanus, Brooklyn, we’ve since published a mind-opening array of novels, journalism, memoirs, essays, travel narratives, short story collections, science fiction, illustrated classics, multi-lingual poetry books, graphic novels, and thrillers from places as diverse as Cuba, Hungary, Iceland, Nigeria, Chile, Israel, Mexico, India, Uzbekistan, Russia, Pakistan, Poland, Madagascar, Iran, and many more. After launching as an eBook publisher, in 2014 Restless signed on with Simon & Schuster for international distribution, and we've been in print since our first hardcover in March 2015, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Where the Bird Sings Best.

In the summer of 2015, we created the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, which awards $10,000 and publication to a first-time, first generation immigrant writer. Alternating yearly between fiction and nonfiction, the Prize was first awarded to Deepak Unnikrishnan for his novel-in-stories, Temporary People.

In December 2016, Restless registered as a not-for-profit corporation in order to further our commitment to internationalism, diversity, immigrant culture, and great literature at a time when those values have come under renewed threats. Your donation helps us stay sustainable. 

In the fall of 2017 we will launch Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers, a new imprint devoted to bringing the wealth of great stories from around the globe to English-reading children, middle graders, and young adults. We believe it is essential to teach our kids to place themselves in the shoes of others beyond their communities, and instill in them a lifelong curiosity about the world and their place in it. Through publishing a diverse array of transporting stories, Yonder nurtures the next generation of savvy global citizens and lifelong readers.