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Tag Archives: the jury

REVIEW: “The Sense of Style” by Steven Pinker

by Terry Pederson If you dreaded English class and still stumble over there, their and they’re, then Steven Pinker’s “The Sense of Style” may not be the best use of your leisure time. But if you love the English language – if you approach it with reverence, if you delight in translating thoughts into words – then jump right in and enjoy the ride. Subtitled “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century,” this book refutes the popular notion that the Internet is systematically destroying the language and our ability to clearly express ourselves on paper or screen. In fact, self-appointed scolds have been deploring the perceived decline in proper usage for centuries, as Pinker documents in a series of citations dating to the invention of the printing... Read More →

Henry Louis Gates Jr. Wins Peabody Award For “Many Rivers To Cross” Documentary

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.— who served as executive producer, host, and writer for "The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross" —learned this week that his six-part documentary won the highest honor in broadcasting: a Peabody Award. "This is a great victory of all of us that love African-American history and those of us that want to see it become an explicably intertwined part of American culture," Gates said in a statement on TheRoot.com. "This took five years and is a great victory for our ancestors and their sacrifices, and they should be celebrated every day in a school curriculum, and my hope is that the DVD will be used in every classroom from kindergarten to college." For the first time in its 73 year history, the Peabodys were announced live on television. CBS This... Read More →

Rita Dove Lauded In New Documentary On Her Formative Years

Filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley knew he wanted to make a film on Rita Dove. So the director of documentaries on former NAACP chairman Julian Bond and revolutionary Che Guevara decided to finance the project out of his own pockets. "To have someone like Rita Dove expressing herself in generational terms by talking about her father and grandfather in her poetry was, to me, like a triple jackpot," the Virginia-based filmmaker said. "I got the writer I was looking for. I got the story I was looking for, and I had it all right here at home."  The result is "Rita Dove: An American Poet" built from family photos, home videos and interviews with its subject  Montes-Bradley explores the former poet laureate's formative years and asks how a girl from Akron, Ohio, became one of the most... Read More →

New PBS Series, “Many Rivers To Cross,” Explores The Depth Of African-American History

If you follow Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Twitter or Facebook, you are probably already privy to the bevy of heavy hitters he has recruited for his new PBS series, "The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross," premiering Oct 21. The six-part documentary features names as varied as the Black Panther Party's Kathleen Cleaver to Roots' drummer Questlove. Gates has mentioned that he is particularly proud of procuring the insights of General Colin Powell. The chair of the Anisfield-Wolf book awards serves executive producer, host and writer for the series, using his unparalleled knowledge of African-American history (and access to some of the nation's foremost historians) to flesh out what most history books only skim. The series aspires to document the entire 500-year history of... Read More →

Happy Birthday, Rita Dove

Anisfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove is 61 today.  Her father, chemist Ray Dove, took her and her brother from Akron, Ohio, to Washington, D.C. when she was 11, where Mr. Dove participated in the March for Jobs and Freedom.  This video, created by Rita Dove’s husband Fred Viebahn, features rich personal photographs and vintage film.  Please note that the music in the background is former U.S. Poet Laureate Dove herself, playing bass viol. Read More →

VIDEO: Rita Dove’s 2013 Emory University Commencement Address

Pulitzer Prize-winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove delivered the 2013 commencement address to the graduates of Emory University in Atlanta. The Anisfield-Wolf jury member spoke on the beauty of imagination and finding confidence as they journey into the unknown. Dove also received an honorary degree, with Emory President James Wagner praising her ability to "generously illuminate the world of beauty that formerly was hidden." Watch the video below and tell us: How did you respond to Dove's message? Just for fun—do you remember your commencement speaker or their message? Read More →

New PBS Series Spans 500 Years Of African-American History

Anisfield-Wolf jury chair Henry Louise Gates Jr. has been busy the past few months, filming episodes of his new PBS series, "The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross." The six-part documentary will cover more than four centuries of African-American history, starting with the origins of slavery in Africa and moving to the present day.  Gates (left) interviewed Gen. Colin Powell and other influential African-Americans for his new PBS series Leading up to the series premiere, Gates has written a weekly column for TheRoot.com, "100 Amazing Facts About the Negro," in which he uncovers little-known tidbits about African-American history.  "Over the past 500 years, our ancestors in this country have been as stubborn, determined, idiosyncratic, individualistic, argumentative and complex as... Read More →

New Film Recovers The Story Of Classical Music’s Forgotten Black Virtuoso

At age 2, Joshua Coyne was removed from his Kansas City home with broken legs and hips. His foster mother was responsible. He was placed in the care of Jane Coyne, a single woman with a love of classical music. During his recovery, Jane began to play a Puccini aria and to her surprise, Joshua was able to hum it back, note for note. From there, Jane began to help him hone his gift as a musical prodigy. Young Joshua began formal musical lessons at 4 and two years later, debuted as a paid violinist. He performed for then-Senator Barack Obama at a campaign rally at the tender age of 14. He put his studies at the Manhattan School of Music to use, composing the score of Janet Langhart Cohen's one-act play Anne and Emmett. Now, at 20, he is the face of the film adaptation of Rita Dove's... Read More →

Joyce Carol Oates’ Latest Novel, “The Accursed,” Has Fans Buzzing

  Cover photo courtesy HarperCollins Publishers Chances are, Joyce Carol Oates' latest work is unlike anything you've ever read before. "The Accursed" takes readers on a wild ride through Princeton, N.J., in the years 1905-1906, viewed through a host of characters who are all struggling with their own demons as the result of the Curse (always capitalized).   In the weeks leading up to the book's release, the Princeton University professor and Anisfield-Wolf jury member completed an interview with the Seattle Times in which she explored some of the themes in the book more in depth. Oates began writing the novel in the 80s and left it alone for more than 20 years while pursuing other projects. She came back to it a few years ago and emerged with a novel some are calling Oates... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Jury Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. Has Portrait Unveiled At National Portrait Gallery

Source: Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery We've long felt honored to have Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the nation's most preeminent African American scholars, as our jury chair. Having met him numerous times over the past few years, I'm always awed by his depth of knowledge and his ease in front of a crowd.  All of this makes him a wonderful human being and all the more deserving of his latest honor. Henry Louis Gates Jr is the one of the latest Americans to have his portrait displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. In a portrait commissioned by Harvard University, Gates is depicted with several influential works, those of W.E.B. DuBois, Wole Soyinka and Kwame Anthony Appiah.  We are very, very proud for his portrait to be included amongst some of the most... Read More →
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