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Tag Archives: 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 cultural life will not make America safer, and will damage its international prestige and influence,” wrote the signatories, who include poet Rita Dove and historian Simon Schama, panelists on the five-member Anisfield-Wolf jury. The letter... 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 “The Underground Railroad,” the stupendous fall novel from Anisfield-Wolf winner Colson Whitehead, threads through these reflections. Salman Rushdie read it; so did the YA-writer John Green, Anne Tyler and Judd Apatow.Maxine Hong Kingston, who... 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 Far & Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years.Clearly this 52-year-old writer, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2013, has serious wanderlust. Solomon has traveled to 83 of the 196 recognized nations... 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 the person holding the pen and the subject fixed on paper by that pen cannot, and must not, be ignored." One of the critics is former PEN American president Francine Prose. Defending the decision, her successor, Andrew Solomon, co-wrote an op-ed for the... 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 ambushed by great art.” One, Simon Schama, is the Anisfield-Wolf juror and historian. Two are recent Anisfield-Wolf winners: Mohsin Hamid and Andrew Solomon. Poet Terrance Hayes picks former juror and Anisfield-Wolf recipient Gwendolyn Brooks for... 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 Klebold says of her son. “But I believe it would not have been better for me." Because of this book, Peter Lanza reached out to Solomon to tell his side.  Lanza is the father of Adam Lanza, the killer of 26 elementary school children, his mother and... 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 life,” boomed Sinclair President Steven Lee Johnson, turning to the celebrated Kentucky author in praise of the 1981 essay collection, one of Berry’s 50 titles. A bit later, a woman in a pink sweater rose, lifted her chin to Berry and fiercely... 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 depiction of familial love. Eveline Shen, executive director of Strong Families, said that the inspiration for this line of cards came from families like her own. “I’m raising my own daughters with my same-sex partner. When they go to the store, they... 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 shift of societal attitudes toward homosexuality within a generation. Being gay was called "a pathetic, second-rate substitute for reality" by Time magazine in 1966. Today, marriage equality is endorsed by the president of the United States. In “Far... Read More →
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