The Cleveland Foundation announced Monday morning the recipients of the 85th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, the only national literary prize for works devoted to the exploration of race and racism.
This year's recipients — Ilya Kaminsky in poetry; Namwali Serpell in fiction; Charles King in nonfiction; and Eric Foner for lifetime achievements — are listed below, with short videos explaining their award-winning works.
The winners join a distinguished roster of former recipients which includes the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Toni Morrison and Wole Solinka.
“The new Anisfield-Wolf winners bring us fresh insights on race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the distinguished Harvard professor and Anisfield-Wolf jury chair. “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 understanding of the Civil War and especially its aftermath.”
Assuming a quarantine is no longer in effect, this year's winners will be honored at a ceremony at the Connor Palace Theatre on October 1. Given the abundance of free time that many of us now have, it's worth browsing the catalog of past Anisfield-Wolf winners and catching up on some of these indispensable literary works.
Winner in Poetry: Ilya Kaminsky, “Deaf Republic”
Winner in Fiction: Namwali Serpell, “The Old Drift”
Winner in Nonfiction: Charles King, “Gods of the Upper Air”
Lifetime Achievement: Eric Foner, Columbia University historian
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Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...