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Andrew Solomon

Far From the Tree

Scribner

2013 Nonfiction

Far From the Tree is a magisterial book from Andrew Solomon that parses diversity in its most intimate setting: the family. Solomon considers how parents navigate the world when a child is deaf, autistic, a dwarf, a criminal, a protégée, has Down Syndrome, and four other signal identities. Anisfield-Wolf Juror Steven Pinker wrote: “This is a monumental book, the kind that appears once in a decade. It could not be a better example of the literature of diversity.”

In addition to the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Far From the Tree was honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award. Solomon’s third book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the 2001 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

A native New Yorker, Solomon studied at Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1985, and at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he earned a master’s degree in English. He is a lecturer in psychiatry at Cornell University, and special advisor on LGBT affairs to the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. His journalism appears frequently in The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, and Newsweek/The Daily Beast. He lives with his husband and children in Manhattan and London.

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Blog Posts about Andrew Solomon

Anisfield-Wolf Authors Protest "Muslim Ban" In An Open Letter To President Trump

Sixty-six writers and artists – including seven Anisfield-Wolf recipients and two jury members – wrote an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to desist from broadly banning travel to the United States by people from seven predominately Muslim countries. The letter, sponsored by PEN America, is timed to influence the president before he issues a second version of his original, sweeping travel ban, which is now stayed by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. “Preventing international artists from contributing to American... Read More →

Let These Books -- From Poetry To The Political -- Kick Off Your 2017 Reading List

How does one structure a year in reading?The New York Times published the answers of 47 writers and artists who reflected on the books they chose over the past year. Their responses create a fascinating skein of reading and thinking, and include essays from four Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recipients. The entire conversation, which weaves from basketball hall-of-famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to filmmaker Ava DuVernay to former House speaker Newt Gingrich to author Maxine Hong Kingston, is enlivening, a hopeful way to face into a new year.Praise for... Read More →

REVIEW: Andrew Solomon's "Far & Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years"

When Andrew Solomon went to Finland to promote The Noonday Demon, his ground-breaking 2001 book on depression, he landed on a leading morning television show.The interviewer, “a gorgeous blonde woman, leaned forward and asked in a mildly offended tone, ‘So, Mr. Solomon. What can you, an American, have to tell the Finnish people about depression?’” the writer recalls in his newest work.“I felt as though I had written a book about hot peppers and gone to promote it in Sichuan,” Solomon jokes in the leisurely and chatty introduction to... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Fall On Both Sides Of PEN American Center's Charlie Hebdo Award Controversy

More than 200 prominent authors—among them Anisfield-Wolf winners Junot Diaz and Kamila Shamsie—have publicly objected to the PEN American Center's decision to present French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its Free Expression Courage award.  Gunmen aggrieved by the magazine’s depiction of Islam targeted the controversial Paris weekly in January and killed a dozen people. The signatories of an April letter to PEN argue that power and privilege must be considered when defining courageousness in satire: "The inequities between... Read More →

New Poetry Anthology Moves Grown Men To Tears -- And That Is Precisely The Point

Anthologies are tricky – and a new one called “Poems That Make Grown Men Cry” might seem like a gimmick. But readers who venture here will find that London editors Anthony and Ben Holden, a father and son, have come up with an engaging conversation-starter and a new angle on some marvelous work. They asked 100 men to write a brief introduction to a poem that choked them up. The “vast majority are public figures not prone to tears,” writes Anthony Holden, “as is supposedly the manly way, but here prepared to admit to caving in when... Read More →

Beneath The Pain: Andrew Solomon Interviews Peter Lanza, Father Of Sandy Hook Shooter Adam Lanza

Andrew Solomon dedicated a chapter of his Anisfield-Wolf winning Far from the Tree on families whose children have committed serious crimes. He interviewed parents of gang leaders, killers and sex offenders, examining the place of the family during and after the child’s stint in prison. In the only interview published with the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters in 1999's Columbine massacre, Solomon showed the complexity of their lives: "I know it would have been better for the world if Dylan had never been born,” Sue... Read More →

"Your Words Have Changed My Life": Dayton Literary Peace Prize Ceremony Salutes Literary Heavyweights

Pictured, from left to right: Andrew Krivak, Andrew Solomon, Wendell Berry, Tim O’Brien, Maaza Mengiste, Gilbert King, Adam JohnsonPhoto credit: Andy Snow The potency of literature went on vivid display in early November when readers gathered around the writers who won this year’s Dayton Literary Peace Prizes. They started with an intense and intimate two-hour session at Sinclair Community College in downtown Dayton. “I need to give a shout-out to Wendell Berry, whose ‘The Gift of Good Land’ was one of the most important books of my... Read More →

VIDEO: Andrew Solomon On Winning The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award

We caught up with Andrew Solomon a few hours before the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf ceremony to ask him his thoughts on being honored for his transformative work, 2012's Far From The Tree. "To win something that is fondly called the 'Black Pulitzer' has particular meaning to me," Solomon would go on to say later at the ceremony. Hear his quick thoughts on winning an Anisfield-Wolf award, the politics of identity, and the march toward acceptance.  Andrew Solomon On Winning The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award For Nonfiction from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo. Read More →

Advocacy Organization Pushes For "Mother's Day Our Way"

Reacting to the blah, monochromatic nature of typical of Mother's Day cards, Strong Families, an Alturas, California policy group, launched a line of digital Mother's Day cards cued into the changing demographics of America's families. These cards represent the families that are "beyond the picket fence": transgender, lesbian, low-income, immigrant, and incarcerated mothers are all featured. Much like Andrew Solomon's exploration of family diversity in his 2012 book Far From The Tree, these cards contain a more imaginative and inclusive... Read More →

VIDEO: Watch Andrew Solomon's TEDMED Talk On Illness Versus Identity

Under the slogan “ideas worth spreading,” the annual TED conferences began in 1990, and have showcased a clutch of Anisfield-Wolf winners. The latest is Andrew Solomon, the 2013 winner for nonfiction, who took the stage in April at TEDMED, an annual program of medical innovators and thought leaders under the TED banner. His talk, "How Does An Illness Become An Identity?" drew from his book Far From The Tree, in which Solomon examines how families adapt – or not -- to their children's unique identities. He begins by noting the seismic... Read More →

Meet Andrew Solomon, 2013 Winner For Nonfiction

Culled from more than 40,000 pages of interview transcripts, Andrew Solomon's Far From The Tree takes an exhaustive look at families where  the child's identity is considered to be on the margins of society. Within the book, Solomon considers how parents navigate the world when a child is deaf, autistic, a dwarf, a criminal, a protégée, has Down Syndrome, and four other identities. Solomon highlights the struggle and beauty in each family's story, sharing how parents come to accept their children amid the differences that threaten to... Read More →

Meet Our 2013 Winners!

Laird Hunt The jury has spoken and five new authors will join the Anisfield-Wolf family. Our 2013 winners are:  Laird Hunt, Kind One, Fiction Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds, Fiction Eugene Gloria, My Favorite Warlord, Poetry Andrew Solomon, Far From the Tree, Nonfiction Wole Soyinka, Lifetime Achievement “The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf winners are exemplars who broaden our vision of race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, there is exceptional writing about the war in Iraq, slavery on a... Read More →
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