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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

Reflecting On My Immigrant Experience Through Anisfield-Wolf Award Winning Books

For a few days in June, I sat down in an old building at Case Western Reserve University among 20 scholars, activists and artists to unpack the new class of books honored by the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. I spoke of the immigrant experience, of entering this country as an adult in 1998, with only some knowledge of its complex history. Back in high school in New Delhi, I did study U.S. history, but barely remembered little more than the rolling prairies and the Boston Tea Party. The America I imagined was largely the one I saw on movie screens... Read More →

REVIEW: Sarah M. Broom Brings New Orleans To Life With “The Yellow House”

The typical story set in New Orleans begins and ends somewhere in the French Quarter, but Sarah M. Broom’s meaty new memoir “The Yellow House” stretches our attention seven miles east, to the neighborhood where she and thousands of others live beyond the glitz of the city’s most famous district. Broken into four movements spanning nearly a century, “The Yellow House” is the story of connection, longing and migration. Who belongs to a city, Broom asks over 300 pages. Whose stories are worth capturing and telling? She begins... Read More →

N. Scott Momaday Honored With Dayton Literary Peace Prize

At 85, N. Scott Momaday – considered the dean of Native American literature – is attracting renewed accolades for his life’s work. In 2018, he won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and entered the National Native American Hall of Fame. In May, he received the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize and this November will be feted with a Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The poet, novelist and essayist has won the Dayton organization’s Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. It is named for the celebrated U.S. diplomat who... Read More →

The Free Black Women’s Library Is A National Movement Uplifting Black Female Authors

Akinmowo in 2015, the beginnings of the Free Black Women's Library. In 2015, Brooklyn, New York-based artist OlaRonke Akinmowo lugged 100 books -- all written by black women -- to a brownstone stoop and launched the uncertain beginnings of her newest project, the Free Black Women’s Library.  Dressed in a black tank top and gold leggings, Akinmowo danced barefoot in front of her collection “in honor of the sacred beauty” of these authors. “Black women’s words have saved my life, healed me, nurtured me and provided me with the... Read More →

With Release Of “The Nickel Boys,” Colson Whitehead Grabs The Spotlight Once Again

Photo credit: Chris Close “Even in death the boys were trouble.” Those seven words open “The Nickel Boys,” the latest novel from Colson Whitehead, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2004 for “John Henry Days,” a time-traveling story that John Updike declared “refreshes our sense of the world.” In the books that followed, Whitehead, now 49, has consistently delivered on Updike’s phrase – culminating in 2016’s “The Underground Railroad,” in which he places an actual time-traveling railroad beneath the... Read More →

Eugene Gloria Mixes Cultural Influences With New Poetry Collection, “Sightseer In This Killing City”

Readers of Eugene Gloria’s poems have a cultivated patience, a relationship with time. It has been seven years since the publication of his last book, “My Favorite Warlord,” winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. In 2013, Henry Louis Gates Jr. praised Gloria’s poetry by remarking on his own keen interest in genealogy. The Anisfield-Wolf jury chair located a kinship in the poet’s exploration of our origins “as a key to the present [that] is compelling, addictive, and – in the best circumstances – generative. It is this last... Read More →

An Anisfield Wolf-Inflected Reading List For India

by Lisa Nielson A colleague at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs generously nominated me for a professional exchange, sponsored by World Learning, that has me packing my bags for India. But what about books? How do I prepare for my first visit to a place with over 4,000 years of history? While I’ve lived in Jerusalem and Damascus – no slouches in the antiquity department – the weight of time and the linguistic, environmental and cultural diversity of India are daunting. Armed with a list of helpful articles and suggested reading... Read More →

Incarcerated Youth Connect To Literature, Get Published Through Writers In Residence Program

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Zachary Thomas has sparked an idea that is igniting across Northeast Ohio. In 2016, as a sophomore at John Carroll University, Thomas pioneered a creative writing program for youth incarcerated in an Ohio juvenile detention center. Writers in Residence began as an idea to reduce recidivism by bringing adolescents behind bars together with college students to build long-lasting relationships and build up self-expression. The idea germinated from the example set by Carroll Ballers, an older student initiative using... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Leila Chatti Debuts New Poem “The Rules”

“The Rules,” a new poem by Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Leila Chatti, graced the inboxes of more than 350,000 subscribers, a landmark accomplishment for a rising poet. The American Academy of Poets has offered a daily dose of poetry, delivered digitally, since 2006. Chatti reads “The Rules” in her mellifluous, thoughtfully inflected voice in the audio clip. She states that she “wanted to write about the walk I took . . . in Madison, Wisconsin, and the brief, vital moment of joy that indicated my year-long depression might finally lift.”... Read More →

The Mystery Of Edith Anisfield Wolf, Founder Of Our Book Prize

edith anisfield wolfA photo of Edith Anisfield Wolf as a young woman by Lisa Nielson Sometimes when I need serious advice, I visit Edith. Edith Anisfield Wolf, the founder of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, is interred in the mausoleum at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. You’ll find her remains in the corridor to the right of the little chapel as one walks in: #321. I track down one of the battered folding chairs scattered around the mausoleum and sit in the humid quiet. She is one of the most influential women in my life who I have never met.... Read More →
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