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Karen R. Long


Karen R. Long manages the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the only juried prize given each year for the best books to confront racism and contribute to our understanding of rich human cultures. She supports the jury deliberations, the celebration of the winners and works to bring the Anisfield-Wolf canon – stretching back to 1935 – into the lives of more readers each year.

Karen came to the Cleveland Foundation in 2013 after eight years as book editor of the Plain Dealer. She continues as a literary critic, writing for Newsday, Kirkus, and the Los Angeles Times. In 2016, she finished a seven-year stretch as a vice president for the National Book Critics Circle, where she was a judge for its six annual prizes, awarded each spring in New York City.

In addition, Karen served the Plain Dealer as a science writer, investigative reporter and a religion and ethics writer, and served her co-workers as a vice president of Local One of the Newspaper Guild. She won a Penny Missouri award for best magazine feature and an Associated Press award for best feature writing. A voracious reader since she wore her cat-eyed glasses to kindergarten in Seattle, Karen was educated at the University of Washington and Oxford University in England. She raised three children in Cleveland Heights with her husband Joe Frolik. In 2015, Cleveland Magazine named her one of the most interesting people in the city.


Tara Pringle Jefferson

Digital Communications Manager

Tara has managed the book awards’ online presence since 2011. Tara also runs her own boutique communications consultancy, with a focus on social media strategy, writing, and editing. Some of her clients have included the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, Createspace, and the Higher Education Alliance for Advocates of Students with Children. She has also served as Senior Copy Editor for CL magazine. 

Prior to her work with the awards, she served as a public relations associate at the Cleveland Foundation. Tara oversaw emerging technologies and social media outreach, in addition to the daily oversight and management of the foundation’s website and intranet. She also provided communications support for the foundation’s responsive grantmaking and affiliated programs. 

Tara has received two degrees from Kent State University, earning a bachelor’s in magazine journalism and her master’s in human development and family studies. In 2016, the university recognized her as a distinguished alumna for her work in the community with young mothers and women. Tara lives in Stow, Ohio with her husband and two children.


Lisa Nielson, Ph.D.

Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow, Case Western Reserve University 

Dr. Nielson is a historical musicologist with a specialization in women’s studies. Since 2011, she has had the honor of being the first Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University. Her classes focus on the mission of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards of fostering cultural tolerance and diversity as well as her own research. They include a class on the courtesan, gender segregation and the harem, comparative slavery, and a class dedicated solely to the Anisfield-Wolf book awards.

In 2017, Dr. Nielson was named the director of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women at CWRU. While at the university, Dr. Nielson has received several undergraduate teaching awards. She received the Richard A. Bloom, MD Award for Distinguished Teaching in the SAGES Program in 2012, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2014, and the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring in 2016. In spring 2017 she received the Faculty Prism Award from the LGBT Center, awarded at the annual Lavender Graduation celebration. The following semester, she received the Outstanding Faculty Adviser Award by Greek Life and was selected as an honorary initiate for the Order of Omega.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Nielson regularly presents at national and international conferences. She was a recipient of a Balzan International Musicology Visitorship and spent the summer of 2016 conducting research at the national Library of Israel in Jerusalem, Israel. As part of the grant, she convened a panel as well as presented the preliminary findings of that project at a seminar at Oxford University in November 2016. She is currently working on completing her book, Music and Musicians in the Medieval Islamic World: A Social and Cultural History, to be published by IB Tauris. 


M.W. Bychowski, Ph.D.

Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow, Case Western Reserve University 

M.W. Bychowski is an Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow at Case Western Reserve University, teaching courses on transgender and intersex history, disability culture, racism, and medieval literature.

In previous years, she has guided students to Prague to attend the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival as part of a course on LGBT film. She was raised in Chicago, where she received her B.A. in English and History at DePaul University, before moving on to complete a Masters and Ph.D. in English Literature at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

In addition to her other writing, she maintains a website on transgender and disability culture, Things Transform, through which she offers “Transform Talks,” workshops and training for businesses, schools, and faith communities on issues of gender and disability. Such work brought her to work with the White House twice in 2016 as part of the LGBTQ Champions of Change and the Forum on LGBT and Disability Issues. Additionally, for five years she founded and ran Match: A Critical Theory Reading Group, and she is currently an executive board member for the UCC Mental Health Network. She has a partner and two daughters of whom she is immensely proud.

Krista L. Stevens, Ph.D.

Anisfield-Wolf Post-Doctoral Fellow, John Carroll University 

Krista L. Stevens, of Birmingham, Alabama, is the Anisfield Wolf Post-Doctoral Fellow in Diversity and Christian Social Ethics. She earned her bachelor’s degree in theology and English from Spring Hill College, a Master of Divinity degree from Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a doctorate in theology from Fordham University. She was also a teaching fellow and postdoctoral teaching fellow at Fordham, a visiting assistant professor at Marquette University, and a visiting assistant professor of theology at the University of Scranton. Her research has been published in several academic journals.


Kamden Hilliard

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Writing And Publishing, Cleveland State University Poetry Center 

Kamden Hilliard is a peripatetic American poet whose first trip to Cleveland will be to begin a two-year appointment as the second Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Writing and Publishing. The Cleveland State University Poetry Center selected Hilliard in 2020 from among more than 100 candidates. The poet — who uses “they, them, their” pronouns — has described their writing as “longer, whitmanesque, manic work — fat on crashing syntax.” It has been collected into three linguistically playful chapbooks: “Distress Tolerance,” “Perceived Distance From Impact” and “henceforce: a travel poetic.” Born in southern California, Hilliard grew up partly in Hawai’i before earning an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers Workshop. After graduation, they accepted work in Greenville County, South Carolina, where they pioneered an AmeriCorps Vista position specializing in connecting LGBTQ youth to behavioral health services. Hilliard follows the poet Leila Chatti as the Anisfield-Wolf Fellow at the CSU Poetry Center. Her book “Deluge” came out from Copper Canyon Press in April 2020.


Zachary Thomas

Cleveland Foundation’s Anisfield-Wolf Fellow

Zachary Thomas recently graduated from John Carroll University with a bachelors degree in creative writing, professional writing, and literature. Originally from Washington, D.C, he grew up in Atlanta, GA, and Dayton, OH. As the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow, he works on a program called Writers in Residence that he co-founded in his undergraduate career, which facilitates creative writing workshops for the adjudicated juvenile residents in Cleveland. 

  • 2020 Winners Celebration Announcement

    2020 Winners to be Celebrated Oct. 1st in Televised Special

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