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The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are an American literary award dedicated to honoring written works that make important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human culture. Established in 1935 by Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf and originally administered by the Saturday Review, the awards have been administered by the Cleveland Foundation since 1963.

Three or four awards, and sometimes a lifetime achievement award, are given out each year. Notable past winners include Zora Neale Hurston (1943), Langston Hughes (1954), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1959), Maxine Hong Kingston (1978), Wole Soyinka (1983), Nadine Gordimer (1988), Toni Morrison (1988), Ralph Ellison (1992), Edward Said (2000), Derek Walcott (2004) and William Melvin Kelley (2009).

2010 Winners - 22nd April -
Pakistani author,Kamila Shamsie, won the fiction award for Burnt Shadows.The book was previously shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction for 2009 and won  the fiction category in the 2009 UK Muslim Writers Awards.

Oprah Winfrey was recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in setting-up  Oprah’s Book Club, bringing the joys of reading to millions of people around the world and re-engaged those whose interest may have waned over time. 

According to the judges Oprah's commitment to issues of diversity and human cultures runs through the topics she addresses on her show, the books she recommends, and the cultural arts she financially supports, including the 2009 movie Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire and the Broadway production of The Color Purple.

Hurrah to that.

Unusual category reversal this year with three Lifetime Achievement awards and only one for fiction, usually the other way around.

Winners:

2009 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners

 Louise Erdrich, The Plague of Doves: A Novel (Harper Collins)
Nam Le, The Boat (Rough-Cut) (Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton)
Paule Marshall – Lifetime Achievement Award

Award Tragic Blog Comment and Book Descriptions


Past Winners of the Anisfeld-Wolf Book Award 1936 TO 2008
* 2008 – Junot Diaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
* 2008 – Mohsin Hamid for The Reluctant Fundamentalist
* 2008 – William Melvin Kelley , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2007 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun
* 2007 – Taylor Branch for At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68
* 2007 – Martha Collins for Blue Front: Poems
* 2007 – Scott Reynolds Nelson for Steel Drivin' Man: John Henry, the Untold Story of an American Legend
* 2006 – Zadie Smith for On Beauty
* 2006 – Jill Lepore for New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan
* 2006 – William Demby , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2005 – August Wilson , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2005 – Geoffrey C. Ward for Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
* 2005 – A. Van Jordan for MACNOLIA: Poems
* 2005 – Edwidge Danticat for The Dew Breaker
* 2004 – Derek Walcott , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2004 – Adrian Nicole LeBlanc for Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
* 2004 – Edward P. Jones for The Known World
* 2004 – Ira Berlin for Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves
* 2003 – Reetika Vazirani for World Hotel
* 2003 – Samantha Power for A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (P.S.)
* 2003 – Adrienne Kennedy , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2003 – Stephen L. Carter for The Emperor of Ocean Park
* 2002 – Jay Wright , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2002 – Colson Whitehead for John Henry Days
* 2002 – Vernon E. Jordan Jr., Annette Gordon-Reed for Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir
* 2002 – Quincy Jones for Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones
* 2001 – F. X. Toole for Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner
* 2001 – David Levering Lewis for W. E. B. Du Bois, 1919-1963: The Fight for Equality and the American Century
* 2001 – Lucille Clifton , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 2000 – Edward W. Said for Out of Place: A Memoir
* 2000 – Chang-Rae Lee for A Gesture Life: A Novel
* 2000 – Ernest Gaines , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 1999 – John Lewis, Michael D'orso for Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement
* 1999 – John Hope Franklin , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 1999 – Russell Banks for Cloudsplitter: A Novel
* 1998 – Gordon Parks , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 1998 – Walter Mosley for Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
* 1998 – Toi Derricote for The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
* 1997 – Albert L Murray , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 1997 – James McBride for The Color of Water 10th Anniversary Edition
* 1997 – Jamaica Kincaid for Autobiography of My Mother
* 1996 – Dorothy West , Lifetime Achievement Award
* 1996 – Madison Smartt Bell for All Souls' Rising
* 1996 – Jonathan Kozol for Amazing Grace: Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation
* 1995 – William H. Tucker for The Science and Politics of Racial Research
* 1995 – Brent Staples for Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White
* 1995 – Reginald Gibbons for Sweetbitter: A Novel (Voices of the South)
* 1994 – David Levering Lewis for W. E. B. Du Bois: A Reader
* 1994 – Judith Ortiz Cofer for The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women
* 1993 – Marija Alseikaite Gimbutas for The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization
* 1993 – Sandra Cisneros for Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories
* 1993 – Kwame Anthony Appiah for In My Father's House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture
* 1992 – Marilyn Nelson Waniek for Homeplace
* 1992 – Elaine Mensh, Harry Mensh for The IQ Mythology: Class, Race, Gender, and Inequality
* 1992 – Peter Hayes for Lessons and Legacies I: The Meaning of the Holocaust in a Changing World (Lesson & Legacies) (v. 1)
* 1992 – Melissa Fay Greene for Praying for Sheetrock: A Work of Nonfiction
* 1992 – Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man, Special Achievement Award
* 1991 – Forrest G. Wood for The Arrogance of Faith: Christianity and Race in America from the Colonial Era to the Twentieth Century
* 1991 – Walter A. Jackson for Gunnar Myrdal and America's Conscience: Social Engineering and Racial Liberalism, 1938-1987 (Fred W Morrison Series in Southern Studies)
* 1991 – Carol Beckwith, Angela Fisher, Graham Hancock for African Ark: People and Ancient Cultures of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
* 1990 – Dolores Kendrick for Women of Plums: Poems in the Voice of Slave Women
* 1990 – Hugh Honour for The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV, Part 1 (Menil Foundation)
* 1989 – Peter Sutton for Dreamings: The Art of Aboriginal Australia
* 1989 – George Lipsitz for A Life In The Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition
* 1989 – Henry Louis Gates Jr. for Collected Black Women's Narratives (Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers)
* 1989 – Taylor Branch for Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63
* 1988 – Abigail M. Thernstrom for Whose Votes Count?: Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights (Twentieth Century Fund Books/Reports/Studies)
* 1988 – Toni Morrison for Beloved
* 1988 – Walter F., Jr. Morris for Living Maya
* 1988 – Nadine Gordimer for Sport of Nature
* 1987 – Gail Sheehy for Spirit of Survival
* 1987 – Arnold Rampersad for The Life of Langston Hughes: Volume I: 1902-1941, I, Too, Sing America (Life of Langston Hughes, 1902-1941)
* 1986 – Northland Editors for Kachinas: A Hopi Artist's Documentary
* 1986 – James North for Freedom Rising
* 1986 – Donald Alexander Nazis in Skokie: Freedom, Community and the First Amendment
* 1985 – David S. Wyman for The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945
* 1985 – Breyten Breytenbach for Mouroir: Mirrornotes of a Novel
* 1984 – Humbert S. Nelli for From Immigrants to Ethnics: The Italian Americans
* 1984 – Jose Alcina Franch for Pre-Columbian Art
* 1983 – Wole Soyinka for Ake: The Years of Childhood
* 1983 – Richard Rodriguez for Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez
* 1982 – Peter J. Powell for People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1879
* 1982 – Geoffrey G. Field for Evangelist of Race: The Germanic Vision of Houston Stewart Chamberlain
* 1981 – Jamake Highwater for Song from the Earth: American Indian Painting
* 1980 – Tepilit Ole Saitoti for Maasai
* 1980 – Richard Borshay Lee for The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society
* 1980 – Urie Bronfenbrenner for The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design
* 1979 – Phillip V. Tobias for The Bushmen: San Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa
* 1978 – Maxine Hong Kingston for The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
* 1978 – Allan Chase for LEGACY OF MALTHUS (Illini Books)
* 1977 – Michi Weglyn for Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America's Concentration Camps
* 1977 – Richard Kluger for Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality
* 1977 – Jamaica Kincaid for The Autobiography of My Mother
* 1976 – Raphael Patai for The Myth Of The Jewish Race: A Biologist's Point Of View
* 1976 – Thomas Kiernan for The Arabs: Their history, aims, and challenge to the industrialized world
* 1976 – Lucy S. Dawidowicz for The War Against the Jews: 1933-1945
* 1975 – Leon Poliakov for The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalistic Ideas In Europe
* 1975 – Eugene D. Genovese for Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
* 1974 – Louis Leo Snyder for The Dreyfus case: A documentary history
* 1974 – Albie Sachs for Justice in South Africa (Perspectives on Southern Africa)
* 1974 – Michel Fabre for The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright
* 1974 – Charles Duguid for Doctor and the Aborigines
* 1973 – Lee Rainwater for Behind Ghetto Walls: Black Family Life in a Federal Slum
* 1973 – Betty Fladeland for Men and Brothers
* 1973 – Pat Conroy for The Water is Wide
* 1972 – Donald L Robinson for Slavery in the structure of American politics, 1765-1820
* 1972 – Naboth Mokgatle for The Autobiography of an Unknown South African
* 1972 – David Loye for The healing of a nation
* 1972 – John S. Haller for Outcasts from Evolution: Scientific Attitudes of Racial Inferiority, 1859 - 1900
* 1972 – George M. Fredrickson for The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914
* 1971 – Anthony Wallace for Death and Rebirth of Seneca
* 1971 – Stan Steiner for La Raza: The Mexican Americans
* 1971 – Carleton Mabee for Black Freedom: The Nonviolent Abolitionists from 1830 through the Civil War
* 1971 – Robert William July for A History of the African People
* 1970 – Audrie Girdner for The Great Betrayal: The Evacuation of the Japanese-Americans during World War II
* 1970 – Florestan Fernandes for The Negro in Brazilian Society
* 1970 – Vine Deloria for Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto
* 1970 – Dan T. Carter for Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South
* 1969 – Stuart Levine, Nancy O. Lurie for The American Indian Today
* 1969 – Leonard Dinnerstein for The Leo Frank Case
* 1969 – Gwendolyn Brooks for In the Mecca; Poems
* 1969 – E. Earl Baughman, W. Grant Dahlstrom for Negro and White Children: A Psychological Study in the Rural South
* 1968 – Erich Kahler for The Jews among the Nations
* 1968 – Raul Hilberg for The Destruction of the European Jews
* 1968 – Robert Coles for Children of Crisis: A Study of Courage and Fear
* 1968 – Norman Rufus Colin Cohn for Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
* 1967 – Oscar Lewis for La Vida
* 1967 – David Brion Davis for The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
* 1966 – Amram Scheinfeld for Your Heredity and Environment
* 1966 – Claude Brown for Manchild in the Promised Land
* 1966 – Baldry for Unity Mankind Greek Thought
* 1966 – Alex Haley for The Autobiography of Malcolm X
* 1965 – James W. Silver for Mississippi: The Closed Society
* 1965 – Abram L. Sachar for A History of the Jews, Revised Edition
* 1965 – James M. McPherson for The Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil War and Reconstruction
* 1965 – Milton M. Gordon for Assimilation in American Life: The Role of Race, Religion and National Origins
* 1964 – Bernard E. Olson for Faith and Prejudice
* 1964 – Harold R. Isaacs for The New World of Negro Americans
* 1964 – Nathan Glazer, Daniel P. Moynihan for Beyond the Melting Pot, Second Edition: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians, and Irish of New York City
* 1963 – Theodosius Dobzhansky for Mankind Evolving
* 1962 – John Howard Griffin for Black Like Me
* 1962 – Dwight L. Dumond for Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America
* 1962 – Gina Allen for The Forbidden Man
* 1961 – Louis B. Lomax for The Reluctant African
* 1961 – E. R. Braithwaite for To Sir with Love
* 1960 – John Haynes Holmes for I Speak for Myself
* 1960 – Basil Davidson for Lost Cities of Africa
* 1959 – George Eaton Simpson, J. Milton Yinger for Racial and Cultural Minorities:: An Analysis of Prejudice and Discrimination
* 1959 – Martin Luther King Jr. for Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
* 1958 – South African Institute of Race Relations for Handbook on Race Relations
* 1958 – Jessie B. Sams for White Mother
* 1957 – Father Trevor Huddleston for Naught for Your Comfort
* 1957 – Gilberto Freyre for The Masters and the Slaves: A Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization
* 1956 – George W. Shepherd for They Wait in Darkness
* 1956 – John P. Dean, Alex Rosen for Manual of Intergroup Relations
* 1955 – Lyle Saunders for Cultural Differences and Medical Care
* 1955 – Oden for Meeker
* 1954 – Langston Hughes for Simple Takes a Wife
* 1954 – Vernon Barlett for Struggle for Africa
* 1953 – Han Suyin for Many Splendoured Thing
* 1953 – Farley Mowat for People of the Deer
* 1952 – Laurens Van Der Post for Venture to the Interior
* 1952 – Brewton Berry for Race Relations
* 1951 – John Hersey for The Wall
* 1951 – Henry Gibbs for Twilight in South Africa
* 1950 – Shirley Graham for Your Most Humble Servant
* 1950 – S. Andhil Fineberg for Punishment Without Crime
* 1949 – Alan Paton for Cry, the Beloved Country
* 1949 – J.C.Furnas for Anatomy of Paradise
* 1948 – Worth Tuttle Hedden for The Other Room
* 1948 – Kenneth R., Philp for John Collier's Crusade for Indian Reform, 1920-1954
* 1947 – Pauline R. Kibbe for Latin Americans in Texas
* 1947 – Sholem Asch for Prophet
* 1946 – Wallace Stegner for One Nation
* 1946 – St. Clair Drake for Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City
* 1945 – Kenneth B. Clark for Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power
* 1945 – Gwethalyn Graham for Earth and High Heaven
* 1944 – Ronald Takaki for A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
* 1944 – Maurice Samuel for The World of Sholom Aleichem
* 1944 – Roi Ottley for New World A-Coming
* 1943 – Zora Neale Hurston for Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography
* 1942 – James G Leyburn for The Haitian People
* 1942 – Leopold Infeld for Quest: An Autobiography
* 1941 – Louis Adamic for From Many Lands
* 1940 – Edward Franklin Frazier for The Negro Family in the United States (The African American Intellectual Heritage Series)
* 1937 – Julian Huxley for WE EUROPEANS: A SURVEY OF 'RACIAL' PROBLEMS.
* 1936 – Harold Foote Gosnell for Negro Politicians (The Rise of Negro Politics in Chicago)

 

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