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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Introducing Our Class Of 2018

  The Cleveland Foundation today unveiled the winners of its 83rd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Marlon James, a 2015 Anisfield-Wolf honoree, made the announcement. The 2018 recipients of the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity are: Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor, Poetry N. Scott Momaday, Lifetime Achievement Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing, Fiction Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, Nonfiction “The new Anisfield-Wolf winners deepen our insights on race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, we honor a lyrical novel haunted by a Mississippi prison farm, a book of exceptional... Read More →

“Evicted” Author Matthew Desmond On Fixing America’s Broken Housing System

Photography by Michaelangelo's Photography Matthew Desmond thinks America can’t see itself clearly. “We’re the richest democracy with the worst poverty. There’s not another advanced society that has the kind of poverty we have,” the sociologist said as he paced the stage at the State Theater in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Dressed casually in a black pullover, Desmond’s talk was the marquee event for One Community Reads, the three-month book club for Greater Cleveland residents to rally around “Evicted,” his Pulitzer prize-winning book on poverty and housing inequality. It is focused on two neighborhoods in Milwaukee and is subtitled “Poverty and Profit in the American City.” More than 2,000 came out to hear the Princeton University professor. Desmond spent more... Read More →

National Book Critics Circle Awards Toast The Best Of 2017

Winners of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle awards (back row, left to right): Charles Finch, reviewing; Caroline Fraser, biography; Frances FitzGerald, nonfiction; Layli Long Soldier, poetry and Carmen Maria Machado, John Leonard First Book Award. Front row, left to right: Carina Chocano, criticism; John McPhee, Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award; and Joan Silber, fiction. Missing: Xiaolu Guo for autobiography. The thrill of writing as clear as water ran through this year’s National Book Critics Circle awards, bookended by the valedictory appearance of nonfiction master John McPhee and the bracing arrival of poet Layli Long Soldier. McPhee, who has sharpened the reading lives of generations and taught hundreds of journalists at Princeton University, was gracious and brief in... Read More →

New Documentary “Dawnland” Explores Only Truth And Reconciliation Commission In The U.S.

Can the United States transition “from being an occupier to being a neighbor”? So asks gkisedtanamoogk, a Native man living in Maine. He poses this question in “Dawnland,” a moving 90-minute documentary that the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards is proud to sponsor this year at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The documentary follows four key participants in a truth and reconciliation commission entered into five years ago by the Wabanaki people and the state of Maine. It centers on the consequences of decades of government policy that ripped Native children from their families and placed them in foster homes. The commission, which ran for 27 months, reported that between 2002 and 2013, Native children in Maine were five times more likely to be forced from their homes than... Read More →

Jill Lepore Shares Political Optimism For A Divided Nation During CWRU Talk

Jill Lepore is restless. The Harvard historian prefers to walk while she thinks, and stand when she talks.  And so she stood before perhaps 800 guests gathered in Cleveland to hear her ponder whether a divided nation can own a shared past. “A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, will fight forever over the meaning of its history,” she writes in These Truths: A History of the United States, a 1,000-page civics lesson that W.W. Norton will publish in September. Sweeping American histories were once common, particularly in the 1930s, Lepore said. They mustered an argument for American democracy, a rebuttal in the teeth of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and their ilk. Now the nation is divided down the middle, she observed, with the hero of one half – Barack Obama... Read More →

Poet Leila Chatti Named The Inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow At Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Leila Chatti, a poet who grew up in Michigan, will be the first Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Writing and Editing, beginning her appointment this fall at the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She has dual citizenship in Tunisia and the United States. She was chosen from among almost 90 applicants. “I am drawn to this fellowship in particular because I almost did not become a writer,” Chatti explained in her application. “As a child, I loved books, but because I had never encountered any written by or about people like me, I didn’t believe I would be able to write them; I thought writing was an occupation for other kinds of people, and that, by extension, my experience — my story — was not worth telling. “It wasn’t until high school that I saw myself reflected on the... Read More →
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