Release Date: 2.8.2024

CLEVELAND – Nicholas Roman Lewis has joined the Cleveland Foundation as the Director of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.


Nicholas Roman LewisLewis, who has served as a literary agent and entertainment attorney, as well as an alumni relations leader at Yale University, will focus on increasing the visibility and impact of the Awards locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA) recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. The awards continue the legacy of Edith Anisfield Wolf, a poet, philanthropist and civic activist committed to social justice, who established the awards in 1935. The 2024 winners will be announced at a March 26 event with author and 2022 AWBA fiction winner Percival Everett, in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Public Library. The event is free and open to the public.

Lewis joins the Cleveland Foundation from Yale University, where he served as senior director for shared interest and identity groups for the Yale Alumni Association. He has also served as a literary agent for authors of several books, including “Ghetto Nation,” “A Love Noire,” “Darker Still,” Leanna Renee Hieber’s “The Eterna Files,” as well as award-winning author Cora Daniels and John Jackson’s “Impolite Conversations.” In addition, Lewis has worked as an attorney in the fields of theater, television, music, and film.

“Nicholas comes to the Foundation with unique and robust experience in publishing, entertainment and community engagement, as well as a successful history in building strong relationships across a diverse range of stakeholder groups,” said Lillian Kuri, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “We are fortunate to welcome such a talented leader as we look to further elevate the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards while preserving its long-standing heritage.”

An Ohio native, Lewis received his Juris Doctorate from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to build on the important work started by Edith Anisfield Wolf nearly 90 years ago,” said Lewis. “I believe in the power of literature to drive the conversation on social justice and look forward to expanding the reach of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards nationally and beyond.”

As previously announced, Karen R. Long will retire after an impactful 11 years leading the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Prior to her role with AWBA, Long spent an impressive 34-year career at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, including as book editor. She will remain with the Cleveland Foundation as a consultant through July 2024.

Updates to Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Jury

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards welcomed several new jurors for 2024, as three jurors retired after years of dedication to AWBA, including long-time jury chair Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Retiring jurors:

  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr., literary critic and professor, Harvard University
  • Joyce Carol Oates, novelist, Princeton University
  • Simon Schama, historian and professor, Columbia University

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards jury for 2024 is comprised of five award-winning authors and leaders in the literary and academic fields.

  • Natasha Trethewey, poet and memoirist, Northwestern University (jury chair)
  • Peter Ho Davies, novelist, University of Michigan
  • Tiya Miles, historian, Harvard University
  • Rita Dove, poet, University of Virginia (returning juror)
  • Steven Pinker, psychologist, Harvard University (returning juror)



About the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book awards in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for social justice. Presented by the Cleveland Foundation, it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity.

About the Cleveland Foundation

Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation – and one of the largest today. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking and providing leadership on vital issues. For more information, visit and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.