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Monthly Archives: November 2012

What Do Berry Gordy, Jimi Hendrix, and Lorraine Hansberry Have In Common?

  The answer, as 2010 winner Isabel Wilkerson would like you to know, is that they are all products of the Great Migration. Over the past few months, Wilkerson has been sharing the stories of influential African Americans on her Facebook page, connecting the dots between the past and the present.  Take a moment to browse the stories and let us know: Did you know about this piece of history? Have you read The Warmth of Other Suns? Is it a book you'd recommend to others?  Also take a look at Wilkerson's "Democracy Now" segment, where she talks about the influences of the Great Migration, including it's impact on jazz music and Motown. Read More →

Physical Books Versus E-Books – Which Do You Prefer?

This excerpt from author Joe Queenan's new book, "One for the Books," was published in the Huffington Post Books section and it has us thinking about the future of e-books and physical books. Our favorite part: The tangible reality of books defines us, just as the handwritten scrolls of the Middle Ages defined the monks who concealed them from barbarians. We believe that the objects themselves have magical powers. People who prefer e-books may find this baffling or silly. They think that books merely take up space. This is true, but so do your children and Prague and the Sistine Chapel. He goes on to talk about his father's last years and what he found when he went to clean out his father's apartment after his death:  As his life wound down, he had shed all the trifles one does... Read More →

WE REMEMBER: August Wilson’s Play, “The Piano Lesson,” Debuted 25 Years Ago This Month

A photo from the 1987 premiere of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."                     In our rush to get to Thanksgiving dinner, we missed the anniversary of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson." 2011 winner Isabel Wilkerson reminded us through a post on her Facebook page (she's just FULL of wonderful factoids about African American history), including a rare photo of Samuel L. Jackson (third from left), who starred in the play as Boy Willie.  Wilkerson writes:  It was 25 years ago today, Nov. 23, 1987, that the August Wilson play, The Piano Lesson, made its world premiere, starring Samuel L. Jackson (3rd from left) as Boy Willie, at the Yale Repertory Theatre. The play would win the Pulitzer Prize. In its scenes play out... Read More →

Isabel Wilkerson Greeted By Surprise From Fan In Her Hotel Room

                      Isabel Wilkerson posted the above photo and the following message on her Facebook page - seems she has a superfan out there!  Deepest gratitude at this special time to every person who has embraced this book and the inspiring message of the Great Migration. Filled with joy for whoever created what is shown in this picture: an edible edition of The Warmth of Other Suns created with love and care by an anonymous fan. This greeted me in my room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, where I was to speak in the City Arts and Lectures series. Neither the event organizers nor the hotel said they knew how it got there or who had gone to such trouble to create or commission it. However it got there, this... Read More →

What We At The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Are Thankful For

We are thankful for books, wonderful books. Thankful for the worlds they create, the minds they challenge, the stories that stick with long after you've read the last page.  We are thankful for Edith Anisfield-Wolf, who, in 1935, established the book prize in honor of her father and husband to bring recognition to works that address race and diversity. In 1935. That is incredible.  We are thankful for the authors who have won our award. We know that it takes incredible patience, commitment and diligence to create works that not only sound good to the ear but also have a message, however overt or apparent.   And last, but definitely not least, we are thankful for you, the readers who make our work so satisfying. Each year at the ceremony, we hear from so many of you on how... Read More →

Junot Diaz Presents Keynote At 2012 Facing Race Conference

Junot Díaz2008 winner Junot Diaz recently wrapped up his book tour for his latest book, This Is How You Lose Her, at the Facing Race conference in Baltimore last week. He wrote to his fans:  "So many extraordinary activists, so many brilliant youth. Thanks to all the organizers who made it happen and to all the already-tired participants that patiently endured my keynote. You seriously rock! In other news tonight was the last day of the tour. Basically two straight months on the road, two months I was very lucky to have...It was better than anything I could have imagined. Thanks to everyone who supported the work, who advocated for the new book, who took time to come to the readings. Thanks to all the booksellers to all the librarians to all the teachers who often often brought their students to... Read More →

Louise Erdrich Wins 2012 National Book Award For Fiction

Photo courtesy Robin Platzer, National Book Awards We are thrilled to congratulate 2009 Anisfield-Wolf winner Louise Erdrich on her win at the 2012 National Book Awards. She was awarded the prize for fiction, for her novel, Round House.  In her interview with the National Book Awards, she talked about whether she writes for her audience or for herself. "My characters have my attention—trying to find them, understand them, think like them, feel what they would feel, behave on the page as they would," she said. "And then there is the language—listening for what is unburdened by sentiment, trying to write something fearless. I usually write the books like secrets, as though nobody will read them." Read the whole interview here and join us in congratulating Ms. Erdrich!    &nb... Read More →

Esi Edugyan Nominated For IMPAC Dublin Prize

                      What a year for Esi Edugyan! After winning multiple awards for her stunning novel Half Blood Blues, she has recently been nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Prize. Nominees are selected by librarians in 120 cities, and the most promising of the authors will move to the short list, announced April 9, 2013. The winner will be announced on June 6, 2013. Along with a prize of about $160,000 (Canadian), the winner will be able to take their place alongside great writers like Edward P. Jones and Michael Thomas.  Please join us in congratulating Ms. Edugyan!  Read more about the award here.  Read More →

VIDEO: Explore London Through Zadie Smith’s Characters

Penguin USA has uploaded a few videos of in honor of Zadie Smith's new book NW. We thought you would enjoy.  Read More →

What Should The Government Do About Poverty?

William Julius WilsonWith the 2012 election cycle behind us (phew!), the focus has again shifted to our elected officials actual job responsibilities and the path our country will take over the next few years.  The Chronicle of Higher Education recently profiled the work and legacy of William Julius Wilson, one of our nation's preeminent sociologists. In exploring his work in the area of race and poverty, the article asked a pointed question: Given all that we know from Wilson's research and the research of the sociologists who came after him, what, exactly is the end game? What should the government do about poverty?  One answer:  ...Recent research has convinced Wilson that Americans support a level playing field. In speaking about public policy, people should frame programs as vehicles for the poor... Read More →
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