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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Meet Andrew Solomon, 2013 Winner For Nonfiction

Culled from more than 40,000 pages of interview transcripts, Andrew Solomon's Far From The Tree takes an exhaustive look at families where  the child's identity is considered to be on the margins of society. Within the book, Solomon considers how parents navigate the world when a child is deaf, autistic, a dwarf, a criminal, a protégée, has Down Syndrome, and four other identities. Solomon highlights the struggle and beauty in each family's story, sharing how parents come to accept their children amid the differences that threaten to come between them. The book chronicles the immense love of family, the quest toward a more compassionate world, and the beauty of diversity in all forms. In deliberations for this year's awards, juror Steven Pinker wrote: “This is a monumental... Read More →

Meet Laird Hunt, 2013 Winner For Fiction

Laird Hunt is the author of five novels and one short story collection. His latest book, Kind One, won the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf award for fiction. In a video interview with Rain Taxi, Hunt describes being moved by a short passage in Edward P. Jones' The Known World, which prompted him to start writing Kind One: "He describes this anecdote about a woman who lives in this imaginary county he's constructed, who lives with her husband and two female slaves. One day the husband comes up dead and the slaves turn the tables on her and enslave her in turn. And then it's over and never mentioned again. But I got really interested in what would happen if this woman, many years later, describes what happens, with the idea of placing her voice somewhere in the slippery middle between victim and... Read More →

Meet Wole Soyinka, 2013 Lifetime Achievement Winner

We’ll be spending this week exploring the lives and works of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award winners. Today we're recognizing Wole Soyinka, this year's Lifetime Achievement winner. The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism. ~Wole Soyinka  A playwright/poet/essayist, Soyinka is one of Nigeria's most beloved figures. Repeatedly, he has risked his life to protest the corrupt governmental regimes. In 1967, he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for 22 months for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring Nigerian and Biafran parties warmongering in his homeland. He kept writing during this time, creating ink in his cell and using scraps of paper to collect his poetry.  Wole Soyinka’s Ake: The Years of Childhood won an Anisfield-Wolf Book... Read More →

Meet Our 2013 Winners!

Laird HuntThe jury has spoken and five new authors will join the Anisfield-Wolf family. Our 2013 winners are:  Laird Hunt, Kind One, Fiction Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds, Fiction Eugene Gloria, My Favorite Warlord, Poetry Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree, Nonfiction Wole Soyinka, Lifetime Achievement “The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf winners are exemplars who broaden our vision of race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, there is exceptional writing about the war in Iraq, slavery on a Kentucky pig farm, the Filipino experience in the U.S., and the complexity of families in which a child is radically different from parents.” Gates directs the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, where... Read More →

Quincy Jones Finally Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Quincy Jones turned 80 years old this year—a number he never thought he'd live to see.  "I guess if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans...right?" he wrote to his Facebook fans on the eve of his big day March 14. Turning 80 was but one highlight of his year as Jones arrived in Los Angeles Thursday night to be inducted into the 28th class of Rock and Rock Hall of Fame inductees.  Source: Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame After more than 60 years in the business, Jones' reach is unparalleled. His production credits stretch from Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and more. The albums he's shepherded have sold more than 200 million copies, making him one of the most influential artists in the industry.  In interviews and in his lively... Read More →

Rita Dove Arrives “Home,” Explores The Depths Of Poetry At PlayhouseSquare Reading

Few modern poets range as widely through time and geography as Rita Dove, the former U.S. poet laureate. But when she took the stage of the Ohio Theatre in downtown Cleveland April 11, the evening had the sweet tang of home. “It’s always good to come back,” she said, 60 years after her birth in Akron. “There is something in the Midwest -- particularly in Northeast Ohio -- that never leaves your system. I come back and immediately I fall into the cadences of the Midwest.” Dove, whose musical alto drew an audience of more than 700, grew up immersed in the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, during a childhood that also made room for fractal geometry and “Harold and the Purple Crayon.” Ronald B. Richard, president of the Cleveland Foundation, noted that the 1955... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Profiled In The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Lisa Nielson, Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Case Western Reserve University's SAGES program, was profiled in the Plain Dealer's "My Cleveland" column. In it, she talked about the ease of Northeast Ohio compared to her previous stint in New England and her favorite way to spend time outside of the classroom. Previously on the blog, Lisa shared her thoughts on David Livingstone Smith's Less Than Human and how it changed her curriculum.    Read More →

Author Angela Johnson Mesmerizes Crowd At Multicultural Literature Conference

Gary Schmidt, the lanky author of winning children’s novels such as “The Wednesday Wars” and “Okay for Now,’ stood up before a dining hall at Kent State University and admitted to choking up early in the day. He had caught a 5 a.m. flight south from Grand Rapids, Mich., where he teaches at Calvin College, to join the Virginia Hamilton Conference, the longest-running event in the United States to focus exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults. It is held annually at Kent State in the spring. Once in his airline seat, Schmidt got out his copy of “First Part Last,” a luminous book by the conference keynote speaker, Angela Johnson. “I’ve taught this book eight times to college classes,” he said. “And I got to the part where Bobby tears up... Read More →

Malala Yousafzai To Write Memoir About Her Fight For Girls’ Education

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban last fall for being a vocal advocate for girls education, is releasing a memoir, due to hit bookshelves almost one full year after the brazen attempt on her life. The title is "I am Malala."  "I hope the book will reach people around the world, so they realize how difficult it is for some children to get access to education," Malala said in a prepared statement. "I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61 million children who can't get education." Malala was shot October 9, 2012, as she left school in northwestern Pakistan. The 15-year-old was taken to London for treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she underwent several reconstruction surgeries and countless hours of treatments. She was... Read More →

Pledge To Read Every Day For The Month Of April

Did you know that fewer than half of U.S. families read to their kindergarten-age children on a daily basis? That children who grow up with books in the home score better on standardized reading tests? That childhood literacy is closely linked to adult literacy? This is part of the reason why it is so important to instill in children a love of reading early on.  Sydney's Book Club, a Pennsylvania-area nonprofit dedicated to early literacy, has kicked off its 20-4-30 literacy challenge for April. Every day, parents should read to their children for 20 minutes a day for the entire month of April.  The Sydney Book Club has hit upon a promising approach to increase literary rates in the United States. Participants can use this opportunity to introduce multicultural literature to their... Read More →
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