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Author Archives: Tara Jefferson

Anisfield-Wolf Authors To Close 2018 Virginia Book Festival With Panel On Racism And Reflections On Charlottesville

  Coming off a successful year of literary prizes, three of the 2017 recipients of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will reconvene for a closing panel session at the Virginia Festival of the Book.  Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes and recipient of the 2017 Chautauqua Prize; Tyehimba Jess, author of Olio and recipient of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction. They will be joined by jury member Rita Dove, who will share their writing and insights about race and culture, with particular focus on the August 2017 events that took place in Charlottesville: This... Read More →

LISTEN: Karan Mahajan Interviewed On Professional Book Nerds Podcast

At the tail end of Cleveland Book Week, Adam Sockel and Jill Grunenwald, hosts of the "Professional Book Nerds" podcast, interviewed Karan Mahajan, our 2017 co-winner for fiction. Their conversation centered on Mahajan's award-winning "The Association of Small Bombs," the difficulties of writing about terrorism, and the proliferation of books on the subject after 9/11. The podcast is a production of OverDrive, the leading app for eBooks and audiobooks available through public libraries and schools, headquartered in Cleveland. In the weekly podcast, hosts Sockel and Grunenwald chat about the best books they've read, give personalized recommendations, and share about upcoming releases across genres. Dive into their 30-minute conversation with Mahajan here below. Read More →

WATCH: Poets From Twelve Literary & Performative Arts Bring Anisfield-Wolf To Public Transit

One idea to make the morning commute more bearable for Clevelanders? Add a bit of poetry. That theory was tested this past September as local poets from Twelve Literary and Performative Arts set up shop on RTA platforms across the city to perform samples from Anisfield Wolf authors for the duration of Cleveland Book Week. Riders heard snippets from Jericho Brown's "The New Testament" and Marilyn Chin's "Hard Love Province," along with five other authors and original works from the local poets. These informal poetry readings were an expansion of the Inter|Urban public art project, a 19-mile stretch of vibrant literary-inspired murals and photo installations along the RTA's Red Line. Recently, the project expanded into University Circle with a mural inspired by Tyehimba Jess... Read More →

Andrew Solomon’s “Far From The Tree” Finds A New Life On The Big Screen

A still from the new film, "Far from the Tree" Four years after Andrew Solomon took home the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf nonfiction prize for “Far from the Tree,” his work is finding a new medium: film.  Next month, the documentary version from Emmy award-winning filmmaker Rachel Dretzin will premiere at DOC NYC, the nation's largest documentary-focused film festival. The response has been strong enough to add a second showing. The 90-minute film, also called “Far From the Tree,” uses the same scaffolding as the book, embedding viewers in the lives of parents whose children fit into disparate identities: deafness, autism, and dwarfism, along with seven others.  “All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent parents should accept their children for who they are... Read More →

REVIEW: “Sing Unburied Sing” Fits Perfectly Into Jesmyn Ward’s Canon Of Southern Literature

The pages of Jesmyn Ward's third novel, "Sing, Unburied, Sing," smell of Mississippi. Set in the same fictional town, Bois Sauvage, as her 2011 National Book Award-winning novel, “Salvage the Bones,” her latest fiction returns to tell again of family bonds, tested by unresolved trauma and unrelenting Southern poverty. She undergirds the sense of place with a seven-line epigraph from Derek Walcott’s “The Gulf.” At the heart of “Sing” is Jojo, a 13-year-old narrator focusing on his budding manhood. His role model? Pop, whose days are spent taking care of his cancer-stricken wife, Mam, Jojo’s toddler sister Kayla, and to a lesser extent, his daughter Leonie, Jojo’s mother. Ward, a Mississippian and Tulane University professor, excels with a narrative that knits... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: Isabel Allende Speaks At The City Club Of Cleveland

During Cleveland Book Week, the incomparable Isabel Allende joked at age 75 about her new boyfriend, and about her approach to literature: "I've been writing for 35 years and I have no idea how I do it. I don't have an idea of what the book is about until it's published and I read the reviews," she quipped in a talk on life and literature at the City Club of Cleveland. She begins each book on January 8, commemorating the day she sat down at her kitchen table -- a stymied 40-year-old exile -- to begin a letter to her century-old grandfather. That letter poured out of her until it became The House of the Spirits, which launched Allende onto a global stage. It led to her being named this year’s Anisfield-Wolf recipient for lifetime achievement. "Having a sacred day to start... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: Tyehimba Jess At Karamu House For A Poetry “Clapback”

Tyehimba Jess came home to Karamu House to lift up “Olio,” his magnificently engineered collection of poems that explore black voices in the decades from Civil War times to the start of World War I. Many of the poems can be read from back to front, at a slant and via every other line, in a welter of sense-making and sensibility. A sold-out crowd flocked to the historic theater during Cleveland Book Week to hear Jess showcase the historic voices that flow through every page of "Olio,"  which won both an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.  He used a screen projector to show how the works unfold multiple meanings in varied directions. As preamble, two artists from Twelve Literary and Performative Arts  -- Mary Barrett and Damien McClendon -- recited their explosive... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: “Hidden Figures” Author Margot Lee Shetterly In Conversation With Cleveland Students

Students from the Tri-C Creative Arts Academy perform "Hidden," under the portraits of the women who inspired the dance: Mary Jackson, Kathleen Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn. Hundreds of Cleveland students joined author Margot Lee Shetterly at Cleveland State University in early September for a student-centric discussion of “Hidden Figures,” which took home the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf prize for nonfiction.  The gathering began with an original, soul-stirring interpretation of “Hidden Figures” in dance from the Tri-C Creative Arts Dance Academy. High school students, most enrolled in the Cleveland School of the Arts, performed "Hidden," a vibrant period piece, choreographed by Terence Greene.  Shetterly then came onto the stage, thanking the students for carrying the work forward in a... Read More →

Grant Opportunity For Ohio Libraries Brings Regional Literature To Readers

The State Library of Ohio is making it easier for residents to read excellent books with ties to our region, including those from the Anisfield-Wolf canon. From now until October 31, the State Library is calling on libraries to apply to its Celebrating Ohio Book Awards & Authors program, which offers up to $1,000 to purchase books from any Ohio-based award program. In addition to titles from the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the grant is available for books that have won the Buckeye Children’s and Teen Book Award, James Cook Book Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Ohioana Book Award, or the Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Award. Grant funds can also go toward the purchase of any book from the Choose to Read Ohio list, which builds two-year community conversations... Read More →

That’s A Wrap! Cleveland Book Week 2017, From Cover To Cover

From left to right: Cleveland Foundation President Ronn Richard, Peter Ho Davies, Tyehimba Jess, Isabel Allende, Ansfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove, Margot Lee Shetterly, Karan Mahajan, Anisfield-Wolf Jury chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. Photo by Robert Muller. Last week we celebrated Cleveland Book Week, a series of book and literacy-themed events surrounding the 82nd annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. From September 5-9, community events across Greater Cleveland honored this year’s Anisfield-Wolf winners and celebrated all things literary in our community. Sept. 5 – We kicked Book Week off with a launch celebration on Public Square, featuring free children’s and young adult books from the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, free ice cream from Mitchell’s, and live music from Roots of American... Read More →
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