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Author Archives: Tara Jefferson

Hear From Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Leila Chatti At Her Shaker Heights Poetry Reading

Mark your calendars for a newcomer to Cleveland's poetry scene -- poet Leila Chatti will be at Loganberry Books December 13 for an intimate reading of her new and celebrated poems.    Chatti, a dual citizen of Tunisia and the United States, became the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Writing and Editing at Cleveland State University's Poetry Center this fall, beating out nearly 90 other applicants. The newly created position was meant to develop a pipeline for a more diverse workforce in the U.S. publishing industry, which is 89 percent white.     "Once I was discouraged from writing early in my career for being too female and too Muslim, by those who were neither," she told the selection committee, "an instance of the systemic silencing in writing establishments and publishing... Read More →

“Sing Unburied Sing” Gets Its Own Mural In Cleveland

(from left to right) Katie Parland, Jesmyn Ward and Daniella Rini Uva. Photo by Alan Ashby Look closely at the multicolored mural in the old Irishtown Bend in Cleveland and you'll spot a small teal "JW" in the lower interior of an archway.    Author Jesmyn Ward initialed the mural inspired by her Anisfield-Wolf award-winning book, Sing Unburied Sing, during her second trip to Cleveland this year, thanks to a suggestion from the Cleveland Foundation’s Alan Ashby. She got an intimate tour by the artists themselves, Danielle Rini Uva and Katie Parland from Agnes Studio, who completed the mural one month prior for Phase II of the Inter|Urban public art project.   "We were basically tasked with doing four murals – two pillars split by a road," Uva said. "We liked the idea of... Read More →

New Anisfield-Wolf Inspired Public Art Comes To The RTA Red Line

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) riders can now enjoy an even closer view of world-class art inspired by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards cannon as Phase II of INTER|URBAN was unveiled as part of Cleveland Book Week 2018.   Completed ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the first phase of INTER|URBAN included murals, photographs and installations along the train tracks of the RTA’s Red Line, which connects downtown Cleveland with Hopkins International Airport to the west, and University Circle to the east. This second phase of the project brings the art onboard the train cars, giving riders a more intimate and prolonged interaction with the art. We’re proud to have supported INTER|URBAN, a collaboration between the RTA, LAND... Read More →

When A Haircut’s Not Just A Haircut: Uplifting Black Boys In The Pages Of “Crown”

Barnes and Crown illustrator Gordon C. James will speak in Cleveland at the tail end of Cleveland Book Week. This event, sponsored by the Cleveland Public Library, the Schubert Center for Children’s Studies and Anisfield-Wolf, will be held September 29 at 2 p.m., at the main library branch downtown. The first few pages of Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut look like a coronation. The 2017 children’s book written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James features a young black boy holding center court, getting draped with a cape and surrounded by well-wishers. The theme of the book is simple, Barnes says: to celebrate the black boy joy that erupts after a turn in the barber’s chair. For Barnes himself, that feeling came on Thursdays as a boy in a Kansas City barbershop.... Read More →

Get Ready For Cleveland Book Week 2018, Running September 22-29

2018 Cleveland Book Week Logo  The third annual Cleveland Book Week runs this year from Sept. 21-29, and will celebrate present and past Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners, while offering a number of free literary and literacy themed events for the community. The series of events is anchored by the sold out 83rd annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27 in the State Theatre at Playhouse Square. This year’s winners 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 Cleveland Foundation and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are presenting Cleveland Book Week in... Read More →

Andrew Solomon On The Film Adaptation of “Far From The Tree”:

Still from a scene of the new documentary, "Far From the Tree"Days ahead of the theatrical debut of the documentary film adapted from his book, Far From the Tree, author Andrew Solomon reflected on the creative and emotional differences between the mediums of film and text. "My Stories Become Someone Else's: Adapting a Book into Film" is a fascinating essay.   Solomon put a decade into researching and writing his magisterial book, centered in interviewing more than 300 families. It won the nonfiction Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2013. Far From the Tree explores the families of children who occupy a markedly different identity from their parents, with chapters on deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome and autism; on the families of prodigies; parents bringing up children conceived... Read More →

Getting Closer To A New Home For Cleveland’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Collection

Design concept courtesy of SO-IL + Kurtz Works by Langston Hughes, Zadie Smith and Toni Morrison will soon have a new place to call home. All three authors have books housed in the Anisfield-Wolf collection at the downtown branch of the Cleveland Public Library, tucked away in the recesses of the second-floor special collections room. Now the collection, the only complete assemblage of all 83 years of Anisfield-Wolf-winning books, will be a showpiece of the new $10 million Martin Luther King Jr branch in University Circle. The canon contains almost 200 books and grows each year. The New York-based firm SO-IL + Kurtz won the months-long design competition, funded by the Cleveland Foundation, to create a stylish, culturally significant proposal for a 21st-century branch of the Cleveland... Read More →

Isabel Allende’s “The House of The Spirits” On Its Way To Hulu

Add Isabel Allende's groundbreaking first novel, "The House of the Spirits," to the golden age of television adaptations. Streaming giant Hulu has acquired the classic 1982 story, which has been translated into more than 35 languages. Allende began it at a low moment in her life when she was 40 years old and living in Venezuela.  This consummate Chilean story follows the Trueba family over four generations and catapulted its author to fame. Deeply personal, “The House of the Spirits” began as Allende’s farewell letter to her 100-year-old grandfather and incorporates elements of magical realism. In the 35 years since its publication, Allende has written more than 20 books, sold more than 70 million copies and become an international touchstone. Hulu is now seeking a writer and... Read More →

Natasha Trethewey Brings Passion And Pain To Poetry Reading At Kent State University

Natasha Trethewey signs books after her poetry reading at Kent State University, April 2018 Former U.S. poet laureate Natasha Trethewey began her talk at Kent State University by claiming kinship with the audience. “I always feel slightly at home in Ohio,” she said. “It is the state that allowed my parents to get a marriage license in 1965, allowed me to be born legit in this country, even as our laws still rendered me persona non grata.” The newborn Trethewey arrived a year later in Gulfport, Mississippi, where her parents’ marriage was illegal under a national patchwork of anti-miscegenation laws. The couple met at Kentucky State College — Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, a black woman fresh from Gulfport, and Eric Trethewey, a white Canadian who hitchhiked his way to campus.... Read More →

Interview With Directors Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip On Their New Film, “Dawnland”

Dawnland co-directors Ben Pender-Cudlip (left) and Adam Mazo Boston-based filmmaker Adam Mazo is quick to admit that he knew little about Native populations growing up in Minnesota. He’s committed to changing that for future generations with “Dawnland,” the 90-minute documentary premiering this month at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The film centers on the decades of government policy that forced Native children from their families and into adoptive homes, foster care and boarding schools. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will sponsor three screenings. The idea for “Dawnland” was sparked from Mazo’s work on another film, “Coexist,” about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. “We were talking about how it felt wrong to not be teaching about genocide in this... Read More →
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