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Tag Archives: 2012

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 calling came to him early in life. "He was going to take on one of the most extraordinary challenges that anyone could take on—that is to be an African-American in the 1920s and decide, 'I want to be a writer. And oh, by the way, I want to write... Read More →

A Look Back At The Rwandan Genocide: 20 Years Later, What Have We Learned?

This spring, as Rwanda commemorates the 1994 genocide that extinguished more than a million of its citizens, a nation assesses its reconstruction while the wider world wrestles with the fact that it stood by. Several important books illuminate these tasks.  "Twenty years ago today our country fell into deep ditches of darkness," said Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda’s current minister of foreign affairs. "Twenty years later, today, we are a country united and a nation elevated." Economic progress and a fragile peace characterize Rwanda now, under a new Constitution and a marked ascendancy of women into leadership.  A moving photographic portrait of the hard work of reconciliation is newly published in the New York Times. “The story of U.S. policy during the genocide in Rwanda is not a... Read More →

VIDEO: David Livingstone Smith On The Delusion Of Race

Philosophy Professor David Livingstone Smith kicked off the University of New England's 2014 diversity lecture series with a talk on why "race" is a destructive concept. The 2012 Anisfield-Wolf nonfiction award winner for “Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave and Exterminate Others” stated his mission at the top: "I wish to liberate you. I do not think I will succeed, but I hope I will raise questions about certain beliefs you take for granted." Smith presented his audience with a slide of four individuals with light skin and typical European facial features. He then asked the audience if they could determine which two were, in fact, African-American. It proved puzzling for those assembled. (See the slide here.) "Virtually every genocide that I know enough about has been a... Read More →

Meet Wole Soyinka, 2013 Lifetime Achievement Winner

We’ll be spending this week exploring the lives and works of the 2013 Anisfield-Wolf Award winners. Today we're recognizing Wole Soyinka, this year's Lifetime Achievement winner. The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism. ~Wole Soyinka  A playwright/poet/essayist, Soyinka is one of Nigeria's most beloved figures. Repeatedly, he has risked his life to protest the corrupt governmental regimes. In 1967, he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for 22 months for his attempts at brokering a peace between the warring Nigerian and Biafran parties warmongering in his homeland. He kept writing during this time, creating ink in his cell and using scraps of paper to collect his poetry.  Wole Soyinka’s Ake: The Years of Childhood won an Anisfield-Wolf Book... Read More →

“Less Than Human”: How One Professor Explores Deeper Meaning Behind Dehumanization

By Lisa Nielson, Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow Lisa Nielson is the Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. She has a PhD in historical musicology, with a specialization in Women's Studes, and teaches seminars on the harem, slavery and courtesans. I was introduced to “Less than Human” last fall when I had the pleasure of hearing David Livingstone Smith speak at the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony and at Case Western Reserve University the next day. His presentation was riveting, and I felt myself vacillating between awe at the breadth of his work and shock at the horror of what humanity has done through dehumanization. Judging from the taut silence as the awards audience of 800 heard Smith speak, they had a similar reaction. Listeners occasionally... Read More →

Esi Edugyan Nominated For IMPAC Dublin Prize

                      What a year for Esi Edugyan! After winning multiple awards for her stunning novel Half Blood Blues, she has recently been nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Prize. Nominees are selected by librarians in 120 cities, and the most promising of the authors will move to the short list, announced April 9, 2013. The winner will be announced on June 6, 2013. Along with a prize of about $160,000 (Canadian), the winner will be able to take their place alongside great writers like Edward P. Jones and Michael Thomas.  Please join us in congratulating Ms. Edugyan!  Read more about the award here.  Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Winners Reaction To The Election

The 2012 election cycle was filled with a bombardment of political ads, 24-hour news cycles dissecting every possible angle, and an overwhelming sense of hype surrounding who will be our next batch of elected representatives. Some of our winners got in on the action and made a few comments about the election as well.  Junot Diaz, who has been writing consistently about the Latino effect in this year's election, wrote a special message on his Facebook page. "Obama WINS!" he wrote shortly after the race had been called. "The Latino community came out BIG for Obama. Very proud of my community, very proud of all the new voters, the very proud of all the Obama supporters who put in the time and the hard work to make this happen." Never one to shy away from his passions, David Livingstone... Read More →

David W. Blight On Voter Suppression — Then And Now

For all the words we could pick to describe this election cycle, one word that most of us would agree on would be overwhelming. We've seen a record number of campaign contributions, more ads, and more news stories than any other election in recent memory.  One major topic has been the practice of voter suppression, long thought to be a relic of the 1950s. 2012 winner David W. Blight tackled the issue in a recent op-ed in the New York Times, giving us the example of Frederick Douglass' attempts to vote as a fugitive man—not quite free, not quite a slave: In 1840, and again in 1841, the former Frederick Bailey, now Frederick Douglass, walked a few blocks from his rented apartment on Ray Street in New Bedford, Mass., to the town hall, where he paid a local tax of $1.50 to register to... Read More →

Did You Miss The Anisfield-Wolf Award Ceremony? Don’t Miss The Repeat Broadcast

We know how much of an honor it is to be able to dedicate a night of our lives to the power of books. Not just any books, but the kind of books that make you think, that give you new information to digest, that force you to see the world a bit differently once you finish reading the last sentence.  This year's ceremony was a must-see, and if you weren't able to get tickets (they sold out in record time this year), if you weren't able to watch it as it was broadcast live here at anisfield-wolf.org or at ideastream.org, you are in luck! This year there will be a number of additional chances to watch the broadcast on TV. Check out the dates and times below to see when you might be able to watch the ceremony in full on the Ohio Channel (statewide across Ohio) or on WVIZ/PBS Ohio (digital... Read More →

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards – Told Through Tweets

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