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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Toni Morrison Discusses “Home” (VIDEO) + Receives Presidential Medal Of Freedom

May has been an incredible month for Ms. Morrison. She released her latest novel, Home, to rave reviews and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday, May 29. In the clip above, she discusses her novel and her intention to help us remember what the 50s were really like.  We were also treated to this incredible photo of President Obama and Ms. Morrison sharing a private moment after the awards ceremony. Wonder what they were talking about?  During the ceremony, President Obama remarked that this year's honorees were also his personal heroes, adding a special note about Toni Morrison. "I remember reading Song of Solomon when I was a kid," he said. "Not just trying to figure out how to write, but also how to be. And how to think."     Read More →

VIDEO: Stephen L. Carter’s Latest Novel – What If President Lincoln Survived The Assassination Attempt?

We've got a summer reading list a mile long and another title just got added to the pile. Stephen L. Carter, awarded the 2003 Anisfield-Wolf Award for fiction for his page-turner The Emperor of Ocean Park, is back with another title sure to be just as riveting. In his summer release, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, Carter explores what could have happened if Lincoln survived his assassination attempt. In this quick video with USA Today, Carter talks about being a history buff, whether the research was fun, and whether he prefers print books or ebooks.  Read More →

What’s On Your Summer Reading List?

Kamila ShamsieWe don't know what the weather is like where you live, but this weekend it's going to hot and humid. Just the thought of 90-degree temperatures sends us scrambling inside for the air conditioning and a good book.  Pakistan's Express Tribune listed their top 10 books to re-read this summer and even if you've never read some of these books, we'd say they make for an excellent use of time. Among those listed were two Anisfield-Wolf winners: Kamila Shamsie (2010) and Mohsin Hamid (2008).  Of Shamsie's Kartography: Kamila Shamsie is one of the few female authors of the 90s who managed to get Pakistan on the literary map. Shamsie’s Kartography is a literary masterpiece and her passion and love for her city Karachi is evident in her every sentence, page and chapter.   Of... Read More →

VIDEO: Gwendolyn Brooks Reads Her Poem, “We Real Cool”

Gwendolyn Brooks It's a short poem but it's also one of Gwendolyn Brooks' (pardon the pun) coolest. "We Real Cool," published in her 1960 book The Bean Eaters, is a 1959 poem by our 1969 winner for fiction. (Got all that?) In this quick clip she explains why she wrote it.  "I wrote it because I was passing by a poll hall in my community one afternoon during school time and I saw therein a bunch of boys...and they were shooting pool," Brooks said. "Instead of asking myself, "Why aren't they in school?" I asked myself, I wonder how they feel about themselves."  Take a listen.  Read More →

VIDEO: The Rise And Fall Of Jack Johnson

Geoffrey C. WardIn Geoffrey C. Ward's Unforgivable Blackness: Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, we are treated to a front row seat to the racism and prejudice that tormented the man who was one of the best boxers the sport has ever known. We honored Ward with the 2005 award for nonfiction for his gripping account of what happens when your talent is outshadowed by the color of your skin and the times you live in. In 2005, Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward teamed up to produce a documentary on Johnson's life, which can be seen in its entirety below. Click here for a synopsis. Part 1 Part2 Read More →

Why We’re Very Lucky To Have Henry Louis Gates Jr As Our Jury Chair

We know we highlighted him a few weeks ago, but is something to be said for a man who is so passionate, so prolific, so generous with his time, that he dedicates a significant portion of his time working with us here at Anisfield-Wolf as our jury chair. As he puts it, "Chairing the jury for the Anisfield Wolf Book Awards is one of the signal pleasures of my life. The thought that a poet—a white, female poet—had the foresight to endow a price to honor excellence and diversity, at the height of the Great Depression, is something of a miracle, isn’t it?" Gates himself is a 1989 Anisfield-Wolf award winner, for his work, The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers. In the midst of churning out impressive tomes on African American history (or as he would put it... Read More →

While We’re Waiting For The Movie Adaptation Of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”…

...you can hear about Mohsin Hamid's role in getting the project to the big screen. Are you as excited for the adaptation as we are? Read More →

VIDEO: Esi Edugyan: “I’ve Wanted To Be A Writer Since I Was 13”

Often writers feel that urge to put their thoughts out in the world as young children. 2012 Anisfield-Wolf winner Esi Edugyan felt the bug as a pre-teen after she drafted a piece of poetry that was so good, her mother insisted she must have copied it from a book. From then on, being a writer was an ultimate goal of a young Ms. Edugyan. Check out this short video presentation put together for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize and learn more about her thoughts on the writing process, whether she'll ever use social media to converse with fans, and how she feels when she completes a first draft. Read More →

VIDEO: Toni Morrison Discusses “Black Is Beautiful”

We've been talking about Toni Morrison a lot lately, but we think it's difficult to provide too much information on one of our greatest living writers. Bookriot named May 8 "Toni Morrison Day," in honor of the release of her newest book, but we're going to extend it one day and share one more video of the great Ms. Morrison. In it, she discusses the early part of her career and what she thought of the "Black is Beautiful" movement.  Read More →

Does Toni Morrison’s Latest Stack Up Against Her Previous Works?

It's not very likely to hear us expressing doubt about Ms. Toni Morrison's literary abilities. If anything, our appreciation for her craft only grows larger with the release of each new work. Her latest novel, Home, explores the homecoming of Frank Money, a Korean War vet who signed up for the service to get away from his hometown, only to return weary and disturbed and not sure of how welcome he will be. The reviews are in—is this still the Toni Morrison we all know and love?   New York Daily News:  Toni Morrison’s new novel “Home” is a slim volume. That alone excuses it from providing the sweeping exhilaration of “Beloved” or “Song of Solomon.” But “Home” is also a lesser novel — still powerful, still moving, but not her best work. San Francisco... Read More →
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