The Asterisk* is a production of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA), the only juried prize to honor outstanding books that further our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. An asterisk is a reference mark, indicating an omission. With that definition in mind, each episode will delve into some of the holes in our knowledge about an esteemed AWBA winning book.
The Asterisk* is hosted by Karen R. Long, the manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Long came to the Cleveland Foundation in 2013 after eight years as book editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. She continues as a literary critic and served until 2016 as a vice president for the National Book Critics Circle.
For over 85 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged generations of minds. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. Past winners have expanded the humanities, illuminated the extraordinary art and culture of peoples around the world and broadened our understanding of rights and identities as well as our sense of whom is entitled to them. The Cleveland Foundation, the world’s first community foundation, has administered the Anisfield-Wolf prize since 1963.
Sonia Sanchez (2019 Lifetime Achievement)
Sonia Sanchez, the 2019 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winner for Lifetime Achievement, joins The Asterisk* to talk about the importance of sound, cadence and naming her subjects, plus how she infiltrated the male-dominated sphere of American poetry.
Eric Foner, the 2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winner for Lifetime Achievement, joins The Asterisk* to discuss the Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol, his marriage to a fellow historian and his place among the most influential American historians of the last half-century.
With more than two dozen books to his credit, AWBA jury chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. says Foner “is the dean of Reconstruction historians, and is one of the most generous, and genuinely passionate, professors of his generation.”
In arguably his most influential book, “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution,” Foner tracked the warp and weave in the struggle for freedom and equality long after the Confederacy expired. It won the Bancroft Prize, the Francis Parkman Prize, a Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Avery O. Craven Prize and the Lionel Trilling Award. The book is still considered the premier synthesis of the years 1863-1877.
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What a fabulous new entry into the Podcast scene. Based on the first one, this will be a must listen for future episodes. Important context for understanding today’s world.