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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

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 →

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... Read More →

Laird Hunt’s Latest Novel Is A Stunning Mystery, Setting Readers Up For A Harrowing Ride

The new novel from Laird Hunt, “In the House in the Dark of the Woods,” has the feel of a hymnal. It is palm sized and red, and it contains a story nestled in the Puritan Colonial era. Hunt, 50, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2013 for “Kind One,” a haunting Civil War novel inspired by a short passage in Edward P. Jones’ masterpiece “The Known World.” Hunt is drawn to fable and journeys and psychological complexity. The new novel wastes no time entering the woods. The first two sentences, in the voice of the narrator, are... Read More →

Get A Taste Of Toi Derricotte’s New Poetry Collection, “I”

Photo by Linda Koolish Poet Toi Derricotte, whose 1998 prose publication “The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey” remains a pillar of American literature, has not been idle. The University of Pittsburgh Press will bring out a new book of her poetry, “I,” in March of next year. Derricotte, 77,  an emeritus professor at the University of Pittsburgh, co-founded Cave Canem in 1996, a revolutionary space for black writers. Nikky Finney calls it  to this day “the major watering hole and air pocket for black poetry.” “The Black... Read More →

Cleveland Book Week Highlights: N. Scott Momaday Speaks At City Club Of Cleveland

N. Scott MomadayPhotography by Michaelangelo's Photography N. Scott Momaday began with horses and ended with bears. He spoke of the sacredness of both. At 84, the recipient of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards lifetime achievement prize was both merry and measured on the dais of the City Club of Cleveland. He began with a tale about a hunting horse “black and fast and afraid of nothing.” Its owner was a coward, though, and when the man diverted the horse from battle, it died of shame. The elder who recounted this story to Momaday cried when he told it.... Read More →

Starting Cleveland Book Week With A Look At How Literacy Changes Lives

Margo Hudson Margo Hudson, a Clevelander who won the National Learner Award in Dallas two years ago, reflected recently on how “literacy turned chaos into opportunity.” Her remarks kicked off the 2018 edition of Cleveland Book Week and attracted an early morning crowd to the East Cleveland Public Library under the banner of Creative Mornings – Cleveland. After 11 years spent sitting for six tests, Hudson earned her GED – a fortitude reflected in her erect posture, elegant up-do and patience with audience questions. She said Seeds of... 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... Read More →

Walter Mosley Tackles the Elusiveness of History in His New Novel, “John Woman”

“John Woman,” the newest novel from prolific and philosophical Walter Mosley, arrives today telling the story of a fugitive genius. It begins with Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVII – “Who will believe my verse in time to come” – and ends 36 chapters later with a mystery, its central character missing. Detectives find blood of more than one type on a New York City park bench. In between is the story of a character born Cornelius Jones, the son of an Italian-American sensualist and an older, self-taught black intellectual. The novel opens... Read More →
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