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Author Archives: Tara Jefferson

New Televised Special Will Celebrate Our 2020 Award Recipients Oct 1

Join us October 1 to toast the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards authors and their brilliant books. WVIZ/PBS ideastream will produce, distribute and broadcast an original one hour of television highlighting the 85th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. It will be hosted by Jury Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. and feature a visit to the hometowns of historian Eric Foner, poet Ilya Kaminsky, scholar Charles King and novelist Namwali Serpell. This destination viewing will let the Anisfield-Wolf community gather without fear of the pandemic. "We are grateful that the 85-year-old chain of celebrating Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recipients will remain unbroken,” said Karen R. Long, manager of the awards. “Thanks to our longtime partners at ideastream, we are able to showcase the four new honorees... Read More →

“We Are Radical Monarchs” Documentary Shows Young Girls Taking Flight In The Social Justice Realm

A photo of the inaugural class of Radical Monarchs "I was meant to be here," 11-year-old Amia said as she twirled around the state capitol building in Sacramento, California.  On a field trip with roughly a dozen other members of the Radical Monarchs, a social justice troop based out of Oakland, California, Amia's enthusiasm was captured in the riveting 2019 documentary, "We Are the Radical Monarchs."  Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton, it follows the troop's co-founders Anayvette Martinez and Marilyn Hollinquest over the first three years as they work to build curriculum, raise funds and add additional chapters. The troop's origin was personal to Martinez, whose 10-year-old daughter Lupita came to her in fifth grade with a desire to join Girl Scouts. A... Read More →

New Exhibition Pulls Local Community Into The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Canon

Cleveland photographer Amanda King took this photo, "What's Next," as part of the Inter|Urban public art project. Her work was inspired by Isabel Wilkerson's "Warmth of Other Suns" and was one of the pieces selected as a reflection prompt in this year's exhibiton. An innovative virtual exhibition at Case Western Reserve University selects and showcases new local responses to Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards writing. Sponsored by the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative, the exhibition features 10 new poems and essays responding to prompts from the Anisfield-Wolf award-winning canon. Students and faculty from area universities created their own work based in Tracy K. Smith ("Wade in the Water"), Jesmyn Ward ("Sing, Unburied, Sing"), Tommy Orange ("There There") and Martin Luther King... Read More →

Introducing Our Class Of 2020

The Cleveland Foundation today unveiled the winners of its 85th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. The 2020 recipients of the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and explores diversity are: Eric Foner, Lifetime Achievement Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic, Poetry Charles King, Gods of the Upper Air, Nonfiction Namwali Serpell, The Old Drift, Fiction “The new Anisfield-Wolf winners bring us fresh insights on race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr. who chairs the jury. “This year, we honor a brilliant, breakout novel that centers Zambia, a book of political poetry 15 years in the making and a riveting history documenting a revolution in Western thought. All is capped by the lifetime achievement of Eric Foner, who has remade our... Read More →

CANCELLED: Novelist Peter Ho Davies To Announce 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Winners March 30

We have cancelled the March 30 reading by Peter Ho Davies and announcement of our 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners, in keeping with the precautions at all Ohio libraries due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please stay tuned for an online announcement March 30 of the new class of recipients.  We thank our partner, the Cuyahoga County Public Library, and all those who made plans to join us in person. We encourage you to mark your calendars for 6 p.m. Thursday October 1 at the Connor Palace Theater of Playhouse Square for the awards ceremony, which will anchor the fifth annual Cleveland Book Week, beginning September 27 and running through October 3. Novelist Peter Ho Davies, who won the 2017 Anisfield-Wolf award for fiction, returns to Cleveland March 30 to announce our class of... Read More →

Honoring Toni Morrison With A “Gesture Of Love” On Her Birthday

A mere dozen miles from the site where Toni Morrison was born Chloe Wofford in Lorain, Ohio, a day-long gathering will mark what would have been the novelist's 89th birthday. "In Celebration of Toni Morrison: A Gesture of Love and Reflection" will be live-streamed from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the Oberlin College campus. Organizer Johnny Coleman, professor of Studio Art and Africana studies, began working on the event the day after Morrison died in August. “This warrior artist had such a giant global impact and such an individual impact," he said. "I think there are individuals dispersed all over this planet who have very direct relationships with the images that Ms. Morrison conjured on the page and with the narratives she called up.” Organizers hope citizens will stop by the Irene... Read More →

What Henry Louis Gates Thinks About The “Beer Summit” Incident, 11 Years Later

Henry Louis Gates Jr. rarely speaks about one of his most publicized moments — the July 2009 arrest by Sgt. James Crowley at his Cambridge home, leading to the infamous "beer summit" at the Obama White House. Now the multi-hyphenate — historian, TV host, executive producer, editor, Harvard professor and Anisfield-Wolf jury chair — reflects on that incident, some 11 years later, in a new interview with New York Times magazine. "President Obama made an innocent comment that the arrest was stupid, which it was," he told the publication. Then all of a sudden all these racists are beating up on him. My whole attitude was channeled through the desire to protect our first black president." Throughout the interview, Gates toggles from subject to subject, from myths of the slave trade to... Read More →

Cleveland Residents Invited To Anisfield-Wolf Reading Series

  Pull up a chair at Case Western Reserve University's new reading seminar for a hearty discussion of four Anisfield-Wolf award-winning books, covering everything from the modern, urban Native experience to the consequences of political upheaval in Chile. Organizers invite you to explore four Anisfield-Wolf award winning books: "There There" by Tommy Orange (2019, fiction) — January 23 Orange, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations, launched his literary career with :"There There," a layered, multi generational journey of 12 Native American characters who converge on a fictional powwow at the Oakland Coliseum. “Markedly, there’s so much joy [from Native communities] in feeling like they’re in a book, in a way that feels like ‘now,’ like it hasn’t... Read More →

Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston With The Release Of “The Zora Canon”

Anisfield-Wolf recipient Zora Neale Hurston would have turned 129 years old January 7. To celebrate her birthday, the editors of ZORA, an online magazine eponymously named after the Harlem Renaissance writer and pioneering anthropologist, compiled the ZORA Canon, its definitive list of the best books written by African American women. Novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge (“We Love You, Charlie Freeman") writes that the editors decided to take up the task when they realized no one seemed to have published a comprehensive list of black women authors, a baffling fact considering the robust reading habits of black women. Collectively, they took steps to remedy that omission. "Taken together, the works don't just make up a novel canon," Greenidge writes in the introduction. "They form a revealing... Read More →

Tommy Orange Shares The Urban Native American Experience In “There There” During Cleveland Book Week

Novelist Tommy Orange, cast in the warm glow of the lights at St. John Episcopal Church, brought his Anisfield-Wolf award-winning debut, "There There" to Northeast Ohio for Cleveland Book Week. Lake Erie Native American Council (LENAC) dancers - An Evening with Tommy Orange: Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards 2019 winner for Fiction for Cleveland Book Week 2019 - Photo © Bob Perkoski The evening's reading melded some new writing from Orange about fathers and sons playing basketball with dancers and drummers from the Lake Erie Native American Council, who performed traditional powwow dances and a drum circle. Their music and movement gave attendees a taste of the book, which follows twelve urban Native characters in advance of a fictious Oakland Coliseum powwow. More than 80 percent of... Read More →
  • 2020 Winners Celebration Announcement

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

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