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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

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... 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... 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... 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.... Read More →

On Anniversary of Auschwitz Liberation, These Two Anisfield-Wolf Titles Offer Reflection

The gate at Auschwitz. Photo credit xiquinhosilva via Flickr Ten years after Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes, Soviet troops advanced across southeastern Poland and liberated Auschwitz, the complex were 1.3 million were enslaved — and 1.1 million murdered — during the Second World War.  Did the prominent Jewish Clevelander with family in Austria ask herself in 1945, "In the face of such decimation, what good is a book award?" Seventy-five years after the fact of Auschwitz was laid bare to the world, “attacking Jews... 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... 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... Read More →

Put These 2019 Titles On Your 2020 Book List

In the onslaught of titles published each year, friends of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards can deploy a powerful technique to sift the wheat from the chaff: Find the new work from those writers already in the canon. Here are some gems sitting atop the 2019 pile: “Black Leopard Red Wolf” by Marlon James The Jamaican American novelist most celebrated for “A Brief History of Seven Killings” goes genre. Actor Michael B. Jordan bought the film rights to this epic fueled by African mythology even before it published in February. The story... 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... Read More →

Tracy K. Smith Examines The Duty Of Poetry In Turbulent Times During Cleveland Book Week

© Hilary Bovay With the William G. Mather steamship providing a nautical backdrop, poet Tracy K. Smith brought her work to the shores of Northeast Ohio as part of the 2019 Cleveland Book Week festivities. The 2019 Anisfield-Wolf winner for poetry opened her reading with a few selections from "Wade in the Water," her 2018 award-winning collection. She began "The Everlasting Self," a short meditative poem on identity and legacy, before segueing into "Declaration," an erasure poem taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. "Please... Read More →
  • 2020 Winners Announced

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