The 2019 showcase, which ran from Sept. 18-28, celebrated present and past Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners, while offering a number of free literary events for the community.
An Evening with Sonia Sanchez
Poet, activist and 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Lifetime Achievement winner Sonia Sanchez spoke on the campus of Kent State University for an event aligning her groundbreaking civil rights and peace work with the university’s year-long examination of the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970 shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard.
A Celebration of Russell Atkins
Cleveland State University Poetry Center and the national members of the literary community organized the launch party of “World’d Too Much,” a new book of Russell Atkins poems. Now 93, Atkins — the master of modernist poetry and lifelong Clevelander — was recognized with a performance of his music and words at Karamu House, where he ran a poetry workshop for many years.
Cleveland Public Library presents Writers & Readers: Michael “Killer Mike” Render & Soledad O’Brien
Broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien and Grammy Award-winning rapper and political commentator Michael “Killer Mike” Render spoke about the books that shaped their lives to celebrate Cleveland Public Library’s 150th anniversary and kick off its Writers & Readers series.
On the Water with Tracy K. Smith
William G. Mather on North Coast Harbor
Attendees met Tracy K. Smith, the 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of the United States, at the confluence of Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River to hear her poems from “Wade in the Water,” a 2019 Anisfield-Wolf winner. Hosted by the Great Lakes Science Center, Brews + Prose and Cleveland Book Week, the reading and book signing shimmered with the North Coast Harbor and the William G. Mather Steamship as backdrops.
Writers Center Stage: Jane Mayer & Frank Rich
The William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series hosted a conversation between trailblazing investigative journalist Jane Mayer, Chief Washington Correspondent for the New Yorker, and award-winning New York Times journalist Frank Rich as a part of the Cleveland Book Week 2019.
84th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. It remains the only American literary prize focusing on works that address racism and equity. For more than 80 years, the distinguished books earning the Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds.
Project 400: Our Lived Experience Conference, with Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Project 400 is a nine-month initiative commmemorating the arrival of the first Africans in North America 400 years ago. The conference opened with professor, scholar and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards jury chair Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. speaking on his new book “Stony the Road” and the history and dismantlement of Reconstruction.
Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul: Andrew Delbanco
The City Club of Cleveland welcomed Andrew Delbanco, winner of the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in nonfiction, as he explored how the battle over fugitive slaves in the pre-Civil War era affects America’s present day and its persistent struggles with race, immigration and inequality. Delbanco argues in “The War Before the War” that the disputes over whether to harbor or return fugitive slaves pushed the nation into Civil War.
An Evening with Tommy Orange
The Lake Erie Native American Council, St. John Episcopal Church and Cleveland Book Week honored Tommy Orange with dancing, song and literature in the sanctuary of this historic shrine. Orange is the recipient of the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction with his debut novel, “There There.” St. John’s, which opened in 1838, is the oldest consecrated building in Cuyahoga County. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad and the home, briefly, of the American Indian Movement and Russell Means.
Great Lakes African American Writers Conference
Attendees gathered at the beautiful East Cleveland Public Library, where literary creatives from throughout the Great Lakes region learned from and networked with influential publishing industry professionals from hubs including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.