“They came to us one by one as if in a dream, us not really having a plan or mission statement, but only just a desire to delight in really good stories," Lee Byrd said. "How wonderful that we've been able to do that, and that Johnny will be able to carry it on.”
Cinco Puntos Press co-founder Bobby Byrd is stepping away from his leadership role at the independent publishing company, headquartered in El Paso, Texas. Bobby will serve as publisher emeritus, developing special projects, collaborating with staff as needed, and spending his extra time being a poet. John Byrd will become the company's president and chief financial officer. Co-founder Lee Merrill Byrd will continue to serve as publisher and editor-in-chief, building on Cinco Puntos' tradition of publishing award-winning books for children and adults.
Cinco Puntos is also excited to announce an expansion of its editorial and marketing teams. Long-time colleague Jessica Powers will become the company's editorial and foreign rights director. Stephanie Frescas Macías joins the company as publicity director. Artist and graphic designer Zeke Peña will join the company part-time as the company's first artistic director. Cactus Mary Fountaine continues her indispensable roles as inventory and office manager.
John says, "I'm really happy to announce these changes at Cinco Puntos. They come at a time when my parents are able to teach and share their well-earned institutional knowledge. This will ensure the company maintains its tradition of groundbreaking publishing, while incorporating new ideas and talents. We think the authors, illustrators, publishing partners, and clients we work with will be pleased to see this foundation for an orderly succession plan, growth, and continued success."
In 1985, Lee and Bobby Byrd founded Cinco Puntos Press in their home in the Five Points neighborhood of El Paso. They shared responsibilities as co-publishers, producing well over two hundred books and receiving national acclaim for their work. Cinco Puntos Press has been a leader in publishing bilingual books for children, many of which have become classics. They have published prize-winning novels for both teens and adults. Their list is nationally recognized for its political and social justice emphasis, which they attribute to being at home on the U.S./Mexico border.
In 2005, among many other awards over the years, Lee and Bobby each received the prestigious Lannan Fellowship for Cultural Freedom for their courage and excellence in publishing. John Byrd first officially joined Cinco Puntos as financial and sales director in 2004. However, he grew up helping out by packing books when the office was based in the Byrds’ home in the Five Points neighborhood.
“We always hear about passion in this business, but rarely devotion. What Bobby and Lee Byrd have created is what begins as a dream and ideal for most people,” according to the Before Columbus Foundation upon the presentation of an American Book Award to the press. “But after the hard work and constant battles take their toll, most get jaded and things get reduced to a simple business proposition. Unlike the NAFTA-mindedness of corporate publishing culture, Bobby and Lee Byrd and all of Cinco Puntos have the integrity to continue to live their dream, not just on the border, but across borders. This is one family, one publisher, which deserves our attention and respect.”
“We have just been so thankful over the years to have been able to publish the authors and the books we have published,” Lee Byrd told us. “They came to us one by one as if in a dream, us not really having a plan or mission statement, but only just a desire to delight in really good stories. How wonderful that we've been able to do that, and that Johnny will be able to carry it on.”