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Monday, March 30, 2020

Cleveland's Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners Announced

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 10:28 AM

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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Assuming a quarantine is no longer in effect, this year's winners will be honored at a ceremony at the Connor Palace Theatre on October 1.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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