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Cleveland Foundation Announces Cleveland Book Week 

Series of special events to celebrate the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and promote Cleveland as a literary destination


The third annual Cleveland Book Week runs this year from Sept. 21-29, and will celebrate present and past Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners, while offering a number of free literary and literacy themed events for the community. The series of events is highlighted by the sold out 83rd annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 27 in the State Theatre at Playhouse Square. This year’s winners are:

  • Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor, Poetry
  • N. Scott Momaday, Lifetime Achievement
  • Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing, Fiction
  • Kevin Young, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News, Nonfiction

The Cleveland Foundation and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are presenting Cleveland Book Week in partnership with Baker-Nord CenterBrews + Prose, The City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Karamu House, Literary Cleveland and Twelve Literary Arts

Events scheduled for Cleveland Book Week (#CBW2018) and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (#AWBA2018) include:


(Downloadable schedule of events available in PDF format)


Margo Hudson

Creative Mornings – Margo Hudson

Friday, September 21, 8:30 a.m.

East Cleveland Public Library

FREE EVENT: Registration not required

Local literacy advocate Margo Hudson will be the featured speaker for September’s Creative Mornings gathering. For its theme of “chaos,” Hudson will share about that phenomena in terms of literacy, and her work moving herself and others away from illiteracy.

Hudson earned her GED® in 2012 from Seeds of Literacy. She spent 11 years studying and took the test 6 times before passing. Margo now serves as a tutor at Seeds, helping other students achieve their literacy goals. In a city where two of every three Clevelanders read at the seventh-grade level or below, her work is immensely valuable. 

In 2016, she was named National Adult Learner of the Year and received Governor Kasich’s Courage Award. That same year, she led the Pledge of Allegiance at a session of the Republican National Convention. In 2017, Cleveland Magazine named Margo one of Cleveland’s Most Interesting People, and she is a 2018 Cleveland Foundation Place Maker. She now speaks to community groups and nonprofits about how literacy changed her life.

Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty: Writers & Readers

Saturday, September 22, 2 p.m.

Cleveland Public Library, Main Library – Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium

FREE EVENT: Registration not required

Paul Beatty visits Cleveland Public Library as part of its Writers & Readers Series, presented in partnership with Literary Cleveland. His 2015 novel The Sellout made him the first American to win the Man Booker Prize in Fiction and earned the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. The novelist, in his own words, set out to see if he could make himself flinch, writing a scathing satire about reinstating slavery on a present-day farm in southern California. He is also the author of The White Boy Shuffle, Tuff, Slumberland and two works of poetry.

McCrae Headshot Cover Combo

**SOLD OUT** Shane McCrae: In the Language of My Captor

 (2018 AWBA Poetry Winner)

Tuesday, September 25, 5:30 p.m.

Karamu House

FREE EVENT

Shane McCrae interrogates history and perspective with his fifth book, In the Language of My Captor, including the connections between racism and love. He uses historical persona poems and prose memoir to address the illusory freedom of both black and white Americans. This evening of poetry, music, and art is presented in partnership with Twelve Literary Arts and Karamu House.

A. Van JordanA. Van Jordan at Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities (2005 AWBA Poetry Winner, M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A)

Wednesday, September 26, 5 p.m.

Case Western Reserve University, Harkness Chapel,
11200 Bellflower Rd

FREE EVENT: Registration recommended 

Join poet A. Van Jordan, 2005 Anisfield-Wolf winner for M*A*C*N*O*L*I*A, and Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas for conversation and recitation. Jordan uses multiple voices and approaches to portray MacNolia Cox, an Akron girl who became the first black finalist in the National Spelling Bee Competition. His poems draw on blues, jazz and prose stylings to depict the Depression and mid-century racism, two elements that framed life in 1936.

AW Salon: Steven Pinker and Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Enlightenment Now

Wednesday, September 26, 5:30 p.m.

Cleveland Museum of Art

FREE EVENT – Registration required

Anisfield-Wolf jurist Steven Pinker set out, first in his acclaimed The Better Angels of Our Nature, and this year in the follow-up bestseller Enlightenment Now, to illustrate that there has never been a better time to be a human being. Join us for a unique, intimate, and intriguing conversation around this and other topics between Pinker and Anisfield-Wolf Jury Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. – friends and Harvard University professors.

Judy Blume

**SOLD OUT** Writers Center Stage – Judy Blume

Wednesday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.

The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center

TICKETS: SOLD OUT

The William N. Skirball Writers Center Stage Series kicks off this year with Judy Blume, one of the world’s most beloved authors. Her books have sold more than 85 million copies in 32 languages, becoming a touchstone for generations of young readers. The program includes a Q&A and book signing.

2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners

**SOLD OUT** 83rd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Thursday, September 27, 6 p.m.

State Theatre, Playhouse Square

FREE EVENT: SOLD OUT.

Watch the ceremony live via webstream at www.anisfield-wolf.org.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. It remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and equity. For more than 80 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds. 

Momaday Headshot Cover ComboThe City Club of Cleveland Forum: N. Scott Momaday (2018 AWBA Lifetime Achievement Winner)

Friday, September 28, Noon

The City Club of Cleveland

TICKETS: $22 members/$37 nonmembers

N. Scott Momaday remade American literature in 1966 with his first novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning House Made of Dawn. Anisfield-Wolf Jury Chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. says Momaday “is at root a storyteller who both preserves and expands Native American culture in his critically praised, transformative writing.” He will discuss his life, his work, and take questions in the traditional City Club of Cleveland style.

Young Headshot Cover ComboBunk and a Beer with Kevin Young (2018 AWBA Nonfiction Winner, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News)

Friday, September 28, 6 p.m.

Worthington Yards

FREE EVENT: Registration recommended

Kevin Young is a public intellectual, the editor of eight books and the author of 13, including the 2018 Anisfield-Wolf winning Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News. He spent six years researching and writing this cultural history of the covert American love of the con, and its entanglement with racial history. This event is presented in partnership with Worthington Yards and Brews + Prose

Great Lakes Black Authors Expo & Writers ConferenceGLBA Expo & Writers Conference

Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

East Cleveland Public Library

FREE EVENT: Registration required

Organized by Melanated Literary Heritage, Ltd., the Great Lakes Black Authors Expo and Writers Conference fosters literary education and publishing industry networking. Notable authors from all over the Great Lakes region, along with Keynote Speaker Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage, will convene and work towards developing a platform to recognize up-and-coming writers.

Crown cover art

AW Family: Derrick Barnes and Gordon James on CROWN: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Saturday, September 29, 2 p.m.

2 p.m., Cleveland Public Library, Main Library – Louis Stokes Wing Auditorium

FREE EVENT: Registration not required

Joy, imagination, swagger and style animate Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, as a young black boy prepares to take on the world with a fresh cut. The author and illustrator share the story of their picture book, which earned Newbery and Caldecott Honors, Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Honors, the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor, and a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators.

Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards logoAbout the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards: Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards book prizes in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. Past winners have presented the extraordinary art and culture of peoples around the world, explored human-rights violations, exposed the effects of racism on children, reflected on growing up biracial, and illuminated the dignity of people as they search for justice. The Cleveland Foundation has administered the Anisfield-Wolf prize since 1963.