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Tag Archives: video

WATCH: Jericho Brown On Winning The 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Prize: “The Writing I Do Is Part Of A Tradition”

"My idols sat around and read my book, y'all," Jericho Brown remarked from the podium at the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony. Moments later he launched into "Labor," a piece featured in his 2014 collection, The New Testament.  As is our tradition, we caught up with Brown in a few quiet moments before this year’s ceremony to hear his thoughts on being honored with the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry: Jericho Brown, 2015 Anisfield-Wolf award winner for poetry from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

Four Things We Learned About Director Ava DuVernay From Her Keynote At SWSW

"They're going to throw me in director's jail," director Ava DuVernay remembered thinking before premiering "Selma" at the American Film Institute in November. Sweating buckets in the bathroom before the screening, she was so stressed she recalled devising a back-up plan if the film bombed: "Maybe Ben [my agent] can help me get another $200,000. I've still got stories. I was freaking out."   It was one of the delightfully transparent anecdotes DuVernay shared during her one-hour keynote at South by Southwest, one of the country's biggest tech and culture conferences, held every March in Austin, Texas. Equal parts laidback and constructive, her talk veered from screening her film at the White House for the First Family, her strategy for staying rooted while filming "Selma," and her... Read More →

Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land” Headed To HBO In New Documentary

HBO will turn Ari Shavit's My Promised Land into a television documentary, CEO and chairman Richard Pleper announced at the 2015 INTV media conference in Jerusalem. "The book left me awestruck and as moved as I’ve been maybe ever," Pleper told the crowd. "When I first approached him, I said to Ari that I’ve waited my whole adult life to find this book.” Published in 2014, "My Promised Land" is a carefully crafted narrative history, weaving family memoir, documents and hundreds of interviews with Arabs and Jews. The book, Shavit's first, took home the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction. No release date has been set, but Israeli filmmaker Dan Setton, whose previous work has centered on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has been tapped to direct.  Here, Ari Shavit addresses... Read More →

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 →

VIDEO: Ari Shavit Speaks At Cleveland City Club: “America Should Lead An Alliance Of Stabilizers”

Photo credit: Robert Muller The biggest laugh during Ari Shavit’s serious, passionate talk about the Middle East came at the end, when a questioner at the City Club of Cleveland asked the Israeli journalist about the Kurds. “Look,” Shavit said. “There are no good guys. There are no Canadians in the Middle East.  So you have two options: You opt out and say, ‘I’m a purist; I don’t touch it; it’s all contaminated.’ Or you say, ‘It’s a rough world out there, and promoting the lesser evil is doing the right thing.’" In “the world’s most unstable region,” Shavit insisted that the United States must stay in the game: “I think the distinction should be not between moderates and extremists but stabilizers and de-stabilizers. America should lead an alliance of... Read More →

VIDEO: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie On Becoming Black: “This Identity Was Weighted With Stereotypes”

"When you're not born in the U.S. and you're a person of African descent, in some ways identifying as black becomes a political choice," novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told Tavis Smiley during a recent appearance on his PBS show. "I'm very happily black."  Adichie was on hand to discuss her most recent novel, Americanah, now available in paperback. A love story that spans three continents, Americanah is about many things—with race and immigration at the forefront.   "I wanted to write about a kind of immigration that is familiar to me," Adichie said. "When we hear about Africans emigrating, we think of people who have run away from burned villages and war and poverty. And that story is important to tell but it's not the story I know. I wanted to talk about the Africa I know,... Read More →

VIDEO: Q&A With George Lamming, 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

George Lamming, who spent decades as a leader of the Caribbean literary Diaspora, won our 2014 Lifetime Achievement award for his deeply political books that critique colonialism and neo-colonialism. His first novel, In the Castle of My Skin, drew accolades from Jean-Paul Sartre and Richard Wright. Health concerns prevented Lamming from attending our 2014 ceremony in person, but we were able to film him in his native Barbados for a brief Q&A:     Q&A with 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Winner George Lamming from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

VIDEO: Anthony Marra On Winning The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Award For Fiction

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is an intoxicating first book about intersecting lives in war-torn Chechnya. The novel begins as Russian officers burn down a Muslim home and “disappear” the father Dokka but can’t find his daughter Haava. A neighbor hides the 8-year-old girl in a barely-functioning hospital. Novelist Anthony Marra sets this story over five taut days, as the child is hunted and the adults around her try to navigate radically different circumstances. Marra teaches at Stanford University. We caught up with Marra a few hours before he accepted the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction. Hear his remarks in the brief video below: Anthony Marra, Winner Of The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award For Fiction from Anisfield Wolf on Vimeo.   Read More →

VIDEO: Ari Shavit On Winning The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award For Nonfiction

Ari Shavit, a columnist for Jerusalem’s daily newspaper Haaretz, spent five years writing My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel in English and Hebrew simultaneously. A former Israeli paratrooper, peace advocate and great-grandson of Victorian-era Zionists, Shavit carefully examines a fraught and difficult history, interweaving family memoir, multiple documents and hundreds of interviews with Arabs and Jews. This important, clarifying book asks why Israel was created, what it has achieved, what went wrong and if it can survive. We spent a few minutes with Shavit prior to this year's ceremony, and he expressed his gratitude to the jury for recognizing his work:  Ari Shavit, Winner of the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award For Nonfiction, for "My Promised Land" from... Read More →

VIDEO: Adrian Matejka On Winning The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award For Poetry

Adrian Matejka's “The Big Smoke” is a nuanced, polyphonic book that explores the life of boxer Jack Johnson, the first African- American heavyweight world champion. A fan of the sport, Matejka was moved by this son of emancipated slaves – born in Texas just 13 years after the end of the Civil War – who loved Shakespeare, Verdi’s operas, travel abroad and a series of white women. The Big Smoke follows Johnson until 1912 in 52 poems. Matejka spent eight years researching and writing this book. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington.   We caught up with Matejka in a few quiet moments before this year's ceremony to hear his thoughts on being honored with the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for poetry:  Adrian Matejka, Winner of The 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Poetry... Read More →
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