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Arnold Rampersad

2012 Lifetime Achievement

Rampersad-2012
It is surprising to note that Arnold Rampersad, one of our nation’s premier biographers, was born and raised outside the country. “Growing up as a schoolboy in Trinidad, I received an education in literature that some people might dismiss as ‘colonial,’ ” he said. “It nevertheless served me well in dealing with the complexities of American biography.”

His award-winning biographies have profiled W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, and Ralph Ellison. A renowned literary scholar and critic, he has also edited editions of the works of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes. His two-volume work, The Life of Langston Hughes, is widely considered the definitive biography of the poet. Volume One, published in 1986, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction in 1987. Volume Two, published in 1988, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1989. His Ralph Ellison: A Biography was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award. Rampersad also won an American Book Award in 1990.

A graduate of Bowling Green State and Harvard universities, Rampersad is currently the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He has also taught at Rutgers, Columbia, and Princeton universities.

From 1991 to 1996, he held a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, Rampersad was awarded the National Humanities Medal.

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Blog Posts about Arnold Rampersad

VIDEO: Arnold Rampersad On The Selected Letters Of Langston Hughes

Longtime biographer Arnold Rampersad said his new volume, The Selected Letters of Langston Hughes, reveals a "deeper, more complicated" man than the public has ever known. Sitting comfortably on stage at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture, co-editors Rampersad and David Roessel, professor at Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, spoke on the complexities of the man called the voice of "Negro America."  Rampersad, who has twice been honored with an Anisfield-Wolf award for his work on Langston Hughes, said that the writer's... Read More →

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards - Told Through Tweets

[View the story "77th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Ceremony" on Storify]   Read More →

Listen As Esi Edugyan, David Livingstone Smith, David W. Blight And Arnold Rampersad Discuss Race And Diversity

We won't spend too much time on an introduction today; let's get right to the meaty stuff. Recently, our 2012 winners all had a chance to speak with Dred-Scott Keyes on the Public Radio Exchange to discuss their books and the deeper themes within. Take a listen to David W. Blight and Esi Edugyan in part one, and David Livingstone Smith and Arnold Rampersad in part two: Read More →

Arnold Rampersad's Peers Praise Him For Lifetime Achievement Win

Rampersad-2012-P For someone as storied as Arnold Rampersad, sometimes the best words of praise come not from awards jurors or book critics, but from colleagues who have worked side by side with you for years. Shelly Fisher Fiskin, who co-edited Oxford University Press’ Race and American Culture series with Rampersad, wrote that there are few people more deserving of an award than her longtime colleague: Fiskin writes: An extraordinarily elegant writer, a meticulous researcher, and a scholar gifted with the ability to focus on what matters most about... Read More →

Biographer Arnold Rampersad Is The 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Winner

Arnold Rampersad, our 2012 Anisfield-Wolf winner, has a special tie to the Cleveland area, where our awards are hosted every year. As one of the nation's definitive biographers, he has covered noted Cleveland resident Langston Hughes in detail, publishing two volumes of The Life of Langston Hughes, served as editor of Collected Poems of Langston Hughes and Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. We are looking forward to his remarks at the 2012 ceremony in September! Here's a few tidbits about our 2012 lifetime achievement winner that... Read More →
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