Schedule unveiled for Cleveland Book Week 2019; Free tickets for Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards available Sept. 5

84th edition of awards, new INTER|URBAN project highlight literary lineup in Northeast Ohio

Release Date: 8.7.2019

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation today announced the schedule for the fourth annual Cleveland Book Week. This year’s showcase, which runs from Sept. 18-28, celebrates present and past Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners, while offering a number of free literary events for the community.

The series of events is bookmarked by the 84th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA), which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, in the KeyBank State Theatre at Playhouse Square. Anisfield-Wolf remains the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and explores diversity. The 2019 honorees are:

  • Andrew Delbanco, “The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War,” Nonfiction
  • Tommy Orange, “There There,” Fiction
  • Tracy K. Smith, “Wade in the Water,” Poetry
  • Sonia Sanchez, Lifetime Achievement

The ceremony is free to attend but requires a ticket for entry. Ticket registration opens Thursday, Sept. 5, and can be accessed by visiting or by calling the Playhouse Square ticket office at (216) 241-6000. Please note: tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of two (2) tickets per person. Tickets will be mailed in mid-September.

Further elevating Book Week is INTER|URBAN (, a LAND studio project placing Anisfield-Wolf inspired murals along the RTA Red Line. With support of a grant from the Cleveland Foundation, INTER|URBAN will debut two new installations: a large-scale piece inspired by James McBride’s “The Color of Water” that uses a University Hospitals parking garage as a canvas, and a more intimate wall at the E. 34th St. Campus station based on Jericho Brown’s “New Testament.”

“As the only national prize for the best writing each year that tackles racism and equity, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards honors our ongoing struggle in this country to form a more perfect union,” said Karen R. Long, who manages the awards for the Cleveland Foundation. “It’s been wonderful to witness Cleveland Book Week grow from a few events to a full schedule of community experiences. In three short years, and with the support of numerous partners, we’ve become a literary destination.”

The Cleveland Foundation and Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are presenting Cleveland Book Week in partnership with Brews + Prose, Case Western Reserve University, The City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Great Lakes African American Writers Conference, Great Lakes Science Center, Karamu House, Kent State University, Lake Erie Native American Council, Project 400, and St. John’s Episcopal Church.

For the full list of events and more information on Cleveland Book Week (#CBW2019) and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (#AWBA2019), visit

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