76th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize Winners Announced

April 12, 2011

CLEVELAND, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Cleveland Foundation today announced the winners of the 76th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (www.anisfield-wolf.org).

They are:

  • Nicole Krauss, Great House, Fiction
  • Mary Helen Stefaniak, The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, Fiction
  • David Eltis/David Richardson, Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Nonfiction
  • Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns, Nonfiction
  • John Edgar Wideman, Lifetime Achievement

“The 2011 Anisfield-Wolf winners are notable for the unique way each author addresses the complex issues of race and cultural diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, who serves as jury chair. “The books and authors honored this year stand out, not only for their creative and wide-ranging approach to difficult subject matter, but also for their underlying faith in our shared humanity.”

“Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf created this book prize more than 75 years ago because of her conviction that the issue of race was the most critical dilemma facing the United States. It was her fervent desire to break down stereotypes and encourage civil discourse so that future generations would be more appreciative of human diversity,” said Cleveland Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald B. Richard. “This prize remains a fitting testimony to the vision of a woman truly ahead of her time.”

About the winners

Great House, Krauss’ third novel, is a series of beautifully rendered tales of incalculable loss across continents and time-connected by a writing desk of multiple drawers. Great House was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction. Krauss is an American writer living in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper’s. She is best known for her novel, The History of Love (2005), which won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and was short-listed for the Orange, Medicis, and Femina prizes.

The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia takes place during 1938 in rural, depression-era Georgia. The novel’s narrator, 11-year-old, Gladys Cailiff, tells what happens when an unconventional and well-traveled school teacher comes to town. Anisfield-Wolf juror Rita Dove describes the novel as “a rollicking tale that manages to speak seriously to the tragedy of ignorance and the damage caused by fear.” Stefaniak teaches creative writing at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Her previous novel, The Turk and My Mother, won the 2005 John Gardner Book Award.

The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson’s epic accounting of the 20th century migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North and West, received the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, as well as the first black reporter to win for individual reporting, Wilkerson has also won the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She is currently professor of journalism and director of narrative nonfiction at Boston University. Wilkerson spent most of her journalism career at The New York Times and is known for narratives that combine the disciplines of journalism and ethnography.

For more than 20 years, Eltis and Richardson have been diligently tabulating all the slave ship crossings of the Atlantic Ocean. Using narrative and more than 200 maps, Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade illuminates how the slave trade involved more than 12.5 million Africans and almost every country with an Atlantic Ocean coastline. This groundbreaking work, which started as a website (www.slavevoyages.org), has already changed the way scholars view one of the largest forced migrations in history. Eltis is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History at Emory University. Richardson is director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation and professor of economics at Hull University in England.

Wideman, winner of the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, is a widely celebrated author. He was the first writer to win the International PEN/Faulkner Award twice (in 1984 for Sent for You Yesterday and in 1990 for Philadelphia Fire). In 2000 he won the O. Henry Award for his short story, Weight. A MacArthur Fellow, Wideman is the author of 13 novels, six collections of short stories, and two memoirs. He is a professor at Brown University.

About the Anisfield-Wolf Prize

The Anisfield-Wolf winners will be honored in Cleveland on September 15 at a ceremony hosted by the Cleveland Foundation and emceed by Jury Chair Gates. Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker and Simon Schama also served on the jury. The Cleveland Foundation has administered the book awards since 1963, upon the death of its creator, Edith Anisfield Wolf. The Anisfield-Wolf prize remains the only juried American literary competition devoted to recognizing books that have made an important contribution to society’s understanding of racism and the diversity of human cultures.

For additional information, including a complete list of winners, visit www.anisfield-wolf.org.

About the Cleveland Foundation

Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and the nation’s second-largest today, with assets of $1.87 billion and 2010 grants of nearly $85 million. The foundation improves the lives of Greater Clevelanders by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. Currently the foundation proactively directs two-thirds of its flexible grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs: economic transformation, public education reform, human services and youth development, neighborhoods, and arts advancement.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit www.ClevelandFoundation.org.

SOURCE The Cleveland Foundation

Source: newswire

comments powered by Disqus