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Anisfield-Wolf Community Blog

With Release Of “The Nickel Boys,” Colson Whitehead Grabs The Spotlight Once Again

Photo credit: Chris Close “Even in death the boys were trouble.” Those seven words open “The Nickel Boys,” the latest novel from Colson Whitehead, who won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2004 for “John Henry Days,” a time-traveling story that John Updike declared “refreshes our sense of the world.” In the books that followed, Whitehead, now 49, has consistently delivered on Updike’s phrase – culminating in 2016’s “The Underground Railroad,” in which he places an actual time-traveling railroad beneath the... Read More →

Eugene Gloria Mixes Cultural Influences With New Poetry Collection, “Sightseer In This Killing City”

Readers of Eugene Gloria’s poems have a cultivated patience, a relationship with time. It has been seven years since the publication of his last book, “My Favorite Warlord,” winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. In 2013, Henry Louis Gates Jr. praised Gloria’s poetry by remarking on his own keen interest in genealogy. The Anisfield-Wolf jury chair located a kinship in the poet’s exploration of our origins “as a key to the present [that] is compelling, addictive, and – in the best circumstances – generative. It is this last... Read More →

An Anisfield Wolf-Inflected Reading List For India

by Lisa Nielson A colleague at the Cleveland Council on World Affairs generously nominated me for a professional exchange, sponsored by World Learning, that has me packing my bags for India. But what about books? How do I prepare for my first visit to a place with over 4,000 years of history? While I’ve lived in Jerusalem and Damascus – no slouches in the antiquity department – the weight of time and the linguistic, environmental and cultural diversity of India are daunting. Armed with a list of helpful articles and suggested reading... Read More →

Incarcerated Youth Connect To Literature, Get Published Through Writers In Residence Program

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Zachary Thomas has sparked an idea that is igniting across Northeast Ohio. In 2016, as a sophomore at John Carroll University, Thomas pioneered a creative writing program for youth incarcerated in an Ohio juvenile detention center. Writers in Residence began as an idea to reduce recidivism by bringing adolescents behind bars together with college students to build long-lasting relationships and build up self-expression. The idea germinated from the example set by Carroll Ballers, an older student initiative using... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Leila Chatti Debuts New Poem “The Rules”

“The Rules,” a new poem by Anisfield-Wolf Fellow Leila Chatti, graced the inboxes of more than 350,000 subscribers, a landmark accomplishment for a rising poet. The American Academy of Poets has offered a daily dose of poetry, delivered digitally, since 2006. Chatti reads “The Rules” in her mellifluous, thoughtfully inflected voice in the audio clip. She states that she “wanted to write about the walk I took . . . in Madison, Wisconsin, and the brief, vital moment of joy that indicated my year-long depression might finally lift.”... Read More →

The Mystery Of Edith Anisfield Wolf, Founder Of Our Book Prize

edith anisfield wolfA photo of Edith Anisfield Wolf as a young woman by Lisa Nielson Sometimes when I need serious advice, I visit Edith. Edith Anisfield Wolf, the founder of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, is interred in the mausoleum at Knollwood Cemetery in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. You’ll find her remains in the corridor to the right of the little chapel as one walks in: #321. I track down one of the battered folding chairs scattered around the mausoleum and sit in the humid quiet. She is one of the most influential women in my life who I have never met.... Read More →

The Enduring Legacy Of Gordon Parks Featured At Cleveland Museum Of Art

Gordon Parks Self-Portrait Photographer, filmmaker, poet and novelist Gordon Parks died in 2006 at the age of 93. But the 1998 winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for lifetime achievement continues to exert a centrifugal force on American culture, well into the 21st century. Kendrick Lamar sampled Parks’ photographs for his music video “Element.” And a mesmerizing art exhibit, concentrating on Parks’ first decade of visual work, is now open to all at the Cleveland Museum of Art through June 30. There is no admissions... Read More →

Four Cleveland Students Honored For Their Social Justice Work

From left to right, Karson Baldwin, Sandhya Gupta, Elizabeth Metz, Jalen Brown and Brooke Peppard, a board member of the Princeton Prize on Race Relations. Photo Credit: Jeff Ivey Sophomore Elizabeth Metz was dismayed by students at Beachwood High School arguing whether slavery or the Holocaust was worse. Administrators say her student-led forums have improved campus race relations more than faculty and staff have been able to do. Senior Jalen Brown saw the toxic mix of homophobia and racism in the hallways of the Cleveland School of... Read More →

What Anisfield-Wolf Taught Me: Finding Strength In My Immigrant Identity

by Jessica Yang I was five when I came to the U.S. from China. My first experiences of America were formed in a predominantly white town where I could count the number of non-white classmates on one hand. Other children asked me why my eyes were so small, whether I ate dogs, and why my lunch of homemade dumplings smelled weird. I chose to bury these memories because I wanted to believe the world was a better place. “The trick was to understand America, to know that America was give-and-take. You gave up a lot but you gained a lot, too.”... Read More →

Anisfield-Wolf -Winning Authors Nab Two Pulitzer Prizes

David W. Blight and Brent Staples -- two Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recipients – discovered this week that each had won a Pulitzer Prize.  Blight’s monumental biography, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom,” received the Pulitzer for history. And Staples, an editorial writer for the New York Times, has won for a series of newspaper opinion pieces. Both men will be awarded $15,000. Two more Anisfield-Wolf winners were named as Pulitzer finalists: novelist Tommy Orange, this year's fiction winner for his debut, "There There" and... Read More →
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