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Cleveland Book Week 2023: From Cover to Cover

The eighth annual Cleveland Book Week brought five literary powerhouses — poet Saeed Jones, historian Matthew F. Delmont, novelists Geraldine Brooks and Lan Samantha Chang and lifetime achievement winner Charlayne Hunter-Gault — to unique venues all across the city.

Our in-person programming was facilitated by our partnerships with Karamu House, Dunham Tavern Gardens & Museum, Cleveland Police Mounted Unit, Asia Plaza, East Technical High School and the City Club of Cleveland.

Watch all of this year’s programming below, in full:

2023 Ceremony Highlights

Saeed Jones at Karamu House

Saeed Jones‘ second poetry collection, “Alive at the End of the World,” contains 46 poems in a book Rita Dove calls “an aching reminder that a queer Black man leads a meta existence; he cannot live without thinking about living, constantly negotiating the everyday with an eye to the peril that can intrude at any time, from police violence to the minutest reactions from highbrow bigots.”

Geraldine Brooks at Dunham Tavern Museum & Gardens

Anisfield-Wolf Juror Joyce Carol Oates said Geraldine Brooks’ “Horse” was “a truly poignant tale and very richly developed.” Juror Rita Dove called it beautifully written: “I have nothing but praise for her evocative descriptions of Black jockeys and trainers.”

Charlayne Hunter-Gault at The City Club of Cleveland

Charlayne Hunter-Gault first made history in 1961 when she desegregated the University of Georgia after she mounted a successful legal challenge that granted her admission. In 1963, the Georgia governor declared her marriage to University of Georgia classmate Walter L. Stovall, who was white, “a shame and disgrace.” The state’s Attorney General even threatened prosecution.

Charlayne has worked for The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, NPR, and CNN. She has received multiple awards, including an Emmy and Peabody for her distinguished work covering the Apartheid at PBS NewsHour. In her latest book, My People: Five Decades of Writing About Black Lives, Charlayne chronicles her lifelong commitment to reporting on Black people in their totality, from the Civil Rights Movement to the election of Barack Obama, and beyond.

Lan Samantha Chang at Asia Plaza

Joyce Carol Oates called Lan Samantha Chang’s novel “The Family Chao”: “an outstanding work of fiction,” saying she had read nothing else of late as ambitious or accomplished. Rita Dove enjoyed the book’s multi-faceted nature.

Matthew F. Delmont at East Tech High School

Anisfield-Wolf Juror Steven Pinker praised Matthew F. Delmont’s “Half American” as a “book heroically researched, rich in historical detail, well organized and written. This will probably stand as the landmark treatment for years to come.”

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