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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

“Evicted” Author Matthew Desmond On Fixing America’s Broken Housing System

Photography by Michaelangelo's Photography Matthew Desmond thinks America can’t see itself clearly. “We’re the richest democracy with the worst poverty. There’s not another advanced society that has the kind of poverty we have,” the sociologist said as he paced the stage at the State Theater in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Dressed casually in a black pullover, Desmond’s talk was the marquee event for One Community Reads, the three-month book club for Greater Cleveland residents to rally around “Evicted,” his Pulitzer... Read More →

National Book Critics Circle Awards Toast The Best Of 2017

Winners of the 2017 National Book Critics Circle awards (back row, left to right): Charles Finch, reviewing; Caroline Fraser, biography; Frances FitzGerald, nonfiction; Layli Long Soldier, poetry and Carmen Maria Machado, John Leonard First Book Award. Front row, left to right: Carina Chocano, criticism; John McPhee, Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award; and Joan Silber, fiction. Missing: Xiaolu Guo for autobiography. The thrill of writing as clear as water ran through this year’s National Book Critics Circle awards, bookended by the... Read More →

New Documentary “Dawnland” Explores Only Truth And Reconciliation Commission In The U.S.

Can the United States transition “from being an occupier to being a neighbor”? So asks gkisedtanamoogk, a Native man living in Maine. He poses this question in “Dawnland,” a moving 90-minute documentary that the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards is proud to sponsor this year at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The documentary follows four key participants in a truth and reconciliation commission entered into five years ago by the Wabanaki people and the state of Maine. It centers on the consequences of decades of government policy... Read More →

Jill Lepore Shares Political Optimism For A Divided Nation During CWRU Talk

Jill Lepore is restless. The Harvard historian prefers to walk while she thinks, and stand when she talks.  And so she stood before perhaps 800 guests gathered in Cleveland to hear her ponder whether a divided nation can own a shared past. “A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, will fight forever over the meaning of its history,” she writes in These Truths: A History of the United States, a 1,000-page civics lesson that W.W. Norton will publish in September. Sweeping American histories were once common... Read More →

Poet Leila Chatti Named The Inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow At Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Leila Chatti, a poet who grew up in Michigan, will be the first Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Writing and Editing, beginning her appointment this fall at the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. She has dual citizenship in Tunisia and the United States. She was chosen from among almost 90 applicants. “I am drawn to this fellowship in particular because I almost did not become a writer,” Chatti explained in her application. “As a child, I loved books, but because I had never encountered any written by or about people like me, I... Read More →

Professor Heather Shotton On Native Identity And Representation

As the #MeToo movement surges on, elevating the national conversation around sexual assault and gender inequality, Professor Heather Shotton believes one crucial population is missing from the discussion. “Thirty-four percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetime,” Shotton told her audience at the University of Akron, “the highest per capita rate in the nation. The fact that Native voices are absent from [Me Too] is part of the problem.” Shotton’s delivery at the university’s Rethinking Race... Read More →

Author Angie Thomas Shares Inspiration For “The Hate U Give” With Cleveland Public Library

In December, a suburban Houston school district yanked copies of the young-adult novel “The Hate U Give” from all 25 of its school libraries. In January – after a student-led outcry – copies were back in the high schools of Katy, Texas, albeit paired with a parental consent form. The consternation began when a middle-school parent complained about profanity and drug use at a party depicted in the book’s opening scene. Angie Thomas, who wrote that scene, had a few observations about her breakout book, which spent 38 weeks atop the... Read More →

Poet Elizabeth Alexander Becomes New President Of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Anisfield-Wolf poet Elizabeth Alexander will be the next president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, becoming the first woman to head the nation’s largest foundation for the humanities. “All of the things that I’ve cared about my whole life and worked toward my whole life Mellon does,” Alexander told The New York Times. The author of six books and two collections of essays won the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement prize in 2010. A year earlier she recited an original poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” at President Barack... Read More →

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones Breaks Down The Dangers Of Educational Segregation During CWRU Convocation

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones meets with Case Western Reserve University students in the Women's Center after her keynote at the Martin Luther King Jr. convocation Nikole Hannah-Jones has no interest in frittering anyone’s time. “You would never hear me use the word ‘diversity’ except to criticize it,” she declared to a large Cleveland audience at Case Western Reserve University’s Martin Luther King Jr. convocation. “Diversity is a word that makes white liberals feel good.” The 41-year-old MacArthur “genius... Read More →

REVIEW: “When They Call You A Terrorist” Takes Readers Inside The Black Lives Matter Movement

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, is no stranger to resistance. Her searing new memoir, “When They Call You a Terrorist,” makes that plain. Khan-Cullors, along with organizers Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, created the call to action after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager Zimmerman killed as the adolescent walked alone back to his father’s home from a trip to a convenience store. The author was the one to punctuate their grief... Read More →
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