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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

A Shelf of One’s Own – An Argument for Transgender Literature

  By Gabrielle Bychowski Sitting at my desk, I set down my copy of A Room of One's Own, looked over at the shelves of my library and asked myself: where is the transgender amidst all this literature? I think about Virginia Woolf's shelf where she saw no plays by women, where she had to search hard for women and the fiction they write, fiction written about women, or texts where women, their fiction and fiction about them are all entangled together. How can I constitute such a shelf of trans literature? What books could make... Read More →

Poet Jericho Brown To Announce 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners In April

Photo Credit: Brian Cornelius Jericho Brown will announce the new class of Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners in Cleveland April 4. The charismatic and much-lauded poet, whose “The New Testament” won an Anisfield-Wolf prize four years ago, will also read from his just-publishing work “The Tradition.” The public is welcome to join him Thursday April 4 at 7 p.m. in the South Euclid/ Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.  Brown, 42, will cap the night with news of the 84th class of writers to win this year’s... Read More →

Claudia Rankine On Dismantling Racism And Prepping Cleveland’s Youth For Their Future

Credit: Katie McCullough Poet Claudia Rankine, born 56 years ago in Jamaica, returned to the city of her first college teaching post to kick off a community read of her slender, seminal book, Citizen: An American Lyric. “In a sense, I am home,” she told a Cleveland audience. “My husband grew up here. My time here was very important. I met my husband at Mac's Backs-Books on Coventry and I had my very first teaching job here.” The crowd, gathered in the Parma-Snow auditorium of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, cheered this... Read More →

“A World Built On Bondage”: Anisfield-Wolf Authors To Close 2019 Virginia Festival Of The Book

For the second consecutive year, Anisfield-Wolf award-winning authors will close the Virginia Festival of the Book. On March 24, two novelists – Esi Edugyan (Washington Black) and Kevin Powers (A Shout in the Ruins) – will discuss how their historical novels pierce legacies of racism. Rita Dove, the Anisfield-Wolf juror and University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor of English, will moderate. Dove, a Pulitzer-prize winning poet, also moderated the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf panel at the Virginia festival, which movingly addressed the... Read More →

Author Claudia Rankine Brings “Citizen” To Cleveland January 23

Claudia Rankine and her “slender, musical book that arrives like a thunderclap” are coming to Cleveland, the first major literary event of the year. Thanks to the Big Read of the National Endowment for the Arts and the moxie of the staff at Cleveland’s Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, residents of Cuyahoga County will have eight weeks to soak up the brilliance of Citizen: An American Lyric. The book, which reached the New York Times bestseller list in 2014, is “a well-timed amalgam of poetry, essays and Serena Williams analysis,”... Read More →

N. Scott Momaday Named 2019 Recipient of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize

N. Scott MomadayN. Scott Momaday, a captivating storyteller long considered "the dean of Native American letters," is the new recipient of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize. Established in 2016, the young prize honors artists, authors, educators, filmmakers, historians, and scientists "whose body of work has advanced our collective understanding of the indomitable American spirit." Momaday is its third honoree. Born a Kiowa 83 years ago in Lawton, Oklahoma, Momaday is an artist, essayist, novelist and professor who identifies first as a poet. He accepted... Read More →

10 Gems From 2018 That Deserve A Spot On Your 2019 Reading List

As we bid adieu to 2018, allow us to shine a last, lingering reading light on ten highlights: the year’s titles from Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners.  It should surprise no one that several are already acclaimed as the best-of-the-year. All are worth reading. “American Histories: Stories” by John Edgar Wideman  In the latest literary stroke from an American master, these 21 short stories “are linked by astringent wit, audacious invention and a dry sensibility,” according to one critic. Another calls them... Read More →

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... 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... Read More →

Jesmyn Ward On The Politics Of Being A Southern Writer

When Jesmyn Ward took the stage with Ayana Mathis, each novelist glanced around the warm, lush Maltz Performing Arts Center in Cleveland and toward the hundreds of faces turned in their direction. “Here we are,” said Mathis, “two black women on a stage, two writers able to talk with each other; it’s really a beautiful thing.” Bathed in applause, Mathis acknowledged that this wasn’t their first public duet. When contacted about staging a conversation, Ward, winner of this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, requested... Read More →
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