Saturday, August 18th, 2018

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Anisfield-Wolf Awards

William and Sarah Bright
(Anisfield-Wolf Awards)

Ratanjit Sondhe and Lilly Okamura
(Anisfield-Wolf Awards)

Annette Gordon-Reed and Nam Le
(Anisfield-Wolf Awards)

Sally and Sandy Cutler
(Anisfield-Wolf Awards)

Anisfield-Wolf Awards

    More than 600 fans of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards turned out for the 2009 awards presented at the Cleveland Play House.
    Edith Anisfield-Wolf was astonishingly ahead of her time when she left a bequest, to be administered by the Cleveland Foundation, to fund an award for books written about racial and cultural diversity. 
    The guiding light for the award these past 10 years has been Mary Louise Hahn, who missed this year’s ceremony due to surgery, but whose fine hand was in every moment. Her skill at pulling everything and everyone together was much remarked upon by the evening’s speakers, including Louise Erdrich who also couldn’t  miss poking fun at Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the jury, with an Ojibwe word which means, “you’re looking good (pause) and you know it.” The irrepressible Skip, poked fun at himself too, noting that tickets for the evening were sold out within six days of his arrest in Cambridge. Yale classmate Sandy Cutler teased him earlier in the evening with “You’d do anything to have a beer in the Rose Garden.” 
    This year’s winners, each of whom received a cash prize and a glass rendering of their book’s cover, were: Louise Erdrich for “The Plague of Doves;” Nam Le, for “The Boat;” Annette Gordon-Reed for “The Hemingses of Monticello;” and Paule Marshall, who was given a lifetime achievement award for her books on the black experience in America. Her latest book is a memoir, “Triangular Road.” Book sales were handled by A Cultural Exchange. STORY BY MARTHA TOWNS/PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT MULLER

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