Denise Sullivan

Author, Journalist, Culture Worker


“Denise Sullivan represents the insider intellectual stamina of rock ‘n’ roll journalism without the pomp and pretense. She is the past and future of the form, rolled into one uncanny style.” —Pop Matters

About: The Author

Denise Sullivan is a California-based writer. Editor of the San Francisco story anthology, Your Golden Sun Still Shines (2017), she’s the author of five published titles, including Keep on Pushing:  Black Power Music From Blues to Hip Hop (Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review Press 2011), The White Stripes:  Sweethearts of the Blues (Backbeat, 2004), Shaman’s Blues:  The Art and Influences Behind Jim Morrison and the Doors (2015), R.E.M. Talk About The Passion (1994) and Rip It Up:  Rock ‘n’ Roll Rulebreakers (2001). Her first chapbook, Awful Sweet, was the culmination of her work as the Alley Cat Writer-In-Residence program in 2016. She has co-edited two poetry anthologies in the series, The City Is Already Speaking: The Sound of Calle 24. Her chapbook, The Rakish Tam, was published by Phony Lid Books in 2018.

Denise is the S.F. Lives columnist at The San Francisco Examiner and a monthly contributor to Downbeat.  An occasional contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle and Down With Tyranny!, she is also a columnist on the subject of where rock meets politics for Tourworthy.

A co-founder of the United Booksellers, a coalition of bookstores and publishing professionals advocating for the worldwide preservation of literary arts and culture, Denise also works as an independent consultant and curator of community-based literary arts and cultural events.

Contributing to magazines, newspapers, and online resources for over 20 years as an independent music journalist and arts and culture reporter, Denise’s byline has appeared in Rolling Stone, MOJO and on the Internet’s very first music website, Addicted to Noise, among other print and web resources, including The All Music Guide. From 2007-2011 she was an online columnist, features writer, and music news writer for Crawdaddy!the first U.S. magazine to cover rock music in the 1960s through a social and political lens.

After a 10-year stand in Los Angeles, she’s returned to San Francisco where she’s at work on the provisionally titled, Sunnyside Up, a San Francisco-based story, incorporating prose, poetry and personal narrative.


About: Keep on Pushing: Black Power Music From Blues to Hip-Hop

(Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press)

The marriage of music and social change didn’t originate with the civil rights and black power movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but never before and never again was the relationship between the two so dynamic. Political activism shaped the music, and the music spread the word, calling people to join in.

In Keep On Pushing, author Denise Sullivan presents the voices of the musician-activists from this pivotal era and the artists who followed in their footsteps to become the force behind contemporary liberation music. Through extensive research and exclusive firsthand interviews with Yoko Ono, Richie Havens, Solomon Burke, Wayne Kramer, Michael Franti, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and other icons, Sullivan chronicles the struggle that went into the creation of liberation music and how the defenders of black, women’s, and gay liberation ran headlong into suppression by the music industry as well as by the government.

Joining authentic voices with a bittersweet narrative covering more than fifty years of fighting oppression through song, Keep On Pushing defines the soundtrack to revolution and the price the artists paid to create it.


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