And the Winners of the 89th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Are...

The prizes recognize works that address issues of racism and diversity

click to enlarge The 2024 winners - Courtesy Image
Courtesy Image
The 2024 winners

The Cleveland Foundation this week announced the winners of the 89th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.

Dedicated to recognizing literature that emphasizes our understanding of racism and human diversity, the Anisfield-Wolf awards are the only national juried prizes with such a focus.

Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf created the book awards in 1935 to honor her father, John Anisfield, and her husband, Eugene Wolf,  with the aim to reflect her family’s passion for social justice.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Maxine Hong Kingston, “The Woman Warrior,” Lifetime Achievement
  • Ned Blackhawk, “The Rediscovery of America,” Non-fiction (Yale University Press)
  • Teju Cole, “Tremor,” Fiction (Random House)
  • Monica Youn, “From From,” Poetry (Graywolf Press)

Those authors have written stories that navigate racial politics’ influence on Asian-American identity, Indigenous people’s shaping of American history, and the intersection of race, art and history.

“It is a great pleasure to recognize this year’s winners, who have used their unique voices and experiences to spark critical conversation,” said jury chair Natasha Trethewey. Trethewey is a 2021 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winner for non-fiction and received a Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2007. She served as the nation’s 19th poet laureate from 2012-2014. “This class joins past recipients, who include literary luminaries and contemporary thought leaders, in leveraging the power of words to explore and confront some of the most challenging topics facing us today.”

This year’s winners are among more than 260 recipients of the prize. Past winners include seven writers who won Nobel prizes—Ralph J. Bunche, Nadine Gordimer, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, Gunnar Myrdal, Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott.

“The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards illuminate the path to social justice through literature’s transformative power. The best art does not simply reflect human experience—it challenges us and advances our humanity,” said Lillian Kuri, the president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “Edith Anisfield Wolf understood this when she established the book awards nearly 90 years ago. Today, the Cleveland Foundation is proud to carry forward her legacy by celebrating literary excellence that catalyzes change in ourselves and in our communities.”

Watch jury members announce the award winners below.

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