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Monthly Archives: December 2011

6 Quotes From Your Favorite Authors

Ernest J. Gaines‎Because it is more appealing to hear from the authors themselves, we've rounded up some of the best quotes we've heard this year (even if they're a bit older) from some of our distinguished Anisfield-Wolf Award winners. Enjoy!  "I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be." — Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying ‎"At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough." — Toni Morrison ‎"Art, after all, is - at its best - a lie that tells us the truth." — Nam Le ‎"Poetry is what you find / in the dirt in the corner, / overhear on the bus, God / in the details, the only way / to get from here to there."  — Elizabeth Alexander, Ars... Read More →

The Lives They Lived – Isabel Wilkerson Pays Tribute To Those Who Were “The First”

In the New York Times magazine's annual "The Lives They Lived" feature, 2011 Anisfield-Wolf winner Isabel Wilkerson explores the lives of men and women who were named "the first" in her essay, A First Time For Everything: Eugene King was the first African-American milk-delivery man in the Gary, Ind., area. Eddie Koger was the first black bus driver in the state of South Carolina. Camillus Wilson was the first African-American meter reader for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company. Nancy Hodge-Snyder was said to have “had the distinction of being the first black registered nurse in Kalamazoo.” I scan the list, a spreadsheet of names and obituary excerpts, and cannot stop reading. How mundane the positions were, how modest the dreams had been. Added together, they somehow... Read More →

VIDEO: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie On Her Book, “The Thing Around Your Neck”

"I've always felt one step removed from things because I've always felt I've been watching. I wasn't entirely there. There was a part of me that was always milking details for a story...I think it's the lot of the writer." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2007 Anisfield-Wolf award winner.  Read More →

VIDEO: How To Write Like Walter Mosley

In this series of videos from BigThink.com, 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Award winner Walter Mosley gives answers to all types of questions: What big ideas have you had lately? What's the biggest misconception about a writer's life? And perhaps a question every writer and aspiring writer wants to know: What is your writing routine? Get the answers to all these and more below:   Read More →

Henry Louis Gates Jr On The Importance Of A Good Book

Anisfield-Wolf jury chair Henry Louis Gates has a resume a mile long. And in between his work at Harvard, his successful PBS specials, among his other numerous obligations, he found time to finish "Life On These Shores: Looking At African-American History 1513-2008," an expansive look at the experience of blacks in America from the time of arrival of the free black conquistador Juan Garrido with Ponce de León in 1513 to the election of President Obama in 2008. Gates covers subjects as diverse as NBA great Bill Russell to Malcolm X to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  The reason he's able to write such books on such expansive topics is quite simply, his love for knowledge. In this interview with the Boston Globe, he talks about his love of reading and what books he believes... Read More →

Thinking Of Starting A Book Club With Friends? Here Are Some Tips

For those who enjoy reading books, and enjoy sharing their favorite books with their friends even more, starting a book club amongst friends might be a great option. We've read many tips on starting a book club, but this post from Monica at TheYummyLife details how she's managed to keep her book club going for 25 years. From The Yummy Life blog: There are lots of book clubs out there now, and there's more than one way to run a successful one. I've only had experience with mine, so I'll share how ours is organized and why I believe we've had such endurance. If you are in a book club and have some ideas to share, I'd love to hear from you. 1. Number of members. We've had as many as 18 and as few as 7 active members. You need enough regular members to allow for an absentee or two each... Read More →

VIDEO: Annette Gordon-Reed On Being Named A MacArthur Fellow

2009 Anisfield-Wolf Award winner Annette Gordon-Reed had the distinct privilege of being awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant, which is a $500,000 prize for individuals with an exceptionally high level of creativity in their work. The grant is a no-strings-attached award, designed to let the winners continue to produce high-quality work without financial worry. Here is Annette's video on how she began work on her book, The Hemmingses of Monticello, and what being a MacArthur Fellow means to her. Read More →

Interview With Kamila Shamsie On The Power Of Reading

In this brief interview, Kamila Shamsie, a 2010 Anisfield-Wolf award winner, talks about the joy of reading, the upside of ebooks, and whether she considers herself a political writer. A must-listen for anyone who is a fan of her work or a fan of literature in general. Read More →

Junot Diaz On Why He Writes And The Power Of Perseverance

Junot Díaz What makes a writer a writer? It's a simple question with many possible answers and if you ask 10 authors, it's almost guaranteed that you'll get 10 different answers. Junot Diaz answered the question as only he can: My novel, which I had started with such hope shortly after publishing my first book of stories, wouldn't budge past the 75-page mark. Nothing I wrote past page 75 made any kind of sense. Nothing. Which would have been fine if the first 75 pages hadn't been pretty damn cool. But they were cool, showed a lot of promise. Would also have been fine if I could have just jumped to something else. But I couldn't. All the other novels I tried sucked worse than the stalled one, and even more disturbing, I seemed to have lost the ability to write short stories. It was like I had... Read More →

The Words Of Winners: Nam Le

Nam Le On the power of fiction: ‎"I do believe that you can never know yourself let alone the person next to you let alone the person halfway across the world. Yet at the same time I believe there is nothing like fiction to fully thrust you into someone else s consciousness." — 2009 Anisfield-Wolf Award winner Nam Le (From Le's Facebook page) Read More →
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