Writing the American Story: Diverse Voices in Distinguished Books

Sun. March 25, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Sponsored by: Allison Partners and UVA Arts & the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts

Hosted by: Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards presented by the Cleveland Foundation


2017 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recipients Peter Ho Davies (The Fortunes), Tyehimba Jess (Olio), and Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures), accompanied in conversation with Award jury member Rita Dove, will share their writing and insights about race and culture, with a particular focus on the August 2017 events that took place in Charlottesville.

This discussion of their work, reflections on obstacles to racial justice, and writing that helps make the American story a complete story will be the official closing program of the Festival, and seeks to support and celebrate diversity while working towards understanding the invasive and structural roots of racism. Following the discussion, speakers will welcome audience questions. Book sales and signing will follow. 

Why should you attend?

“Davies writes with a rare emotional resonance and a deft sense of structure; it’s hard not to be in awe of the way he’s composed this complex, beautiful novel. The Fortunes is a stunning look at what it means to be Chinese, what it means to be American, and what it means to be a person navigating the strands of identity, the things that made us who we are, whoever that is.”—NPR

Olio is one of the most inventive, intensive poetic undertakings of the past decade… Through photos, drawings, interviews, foldouts, tables, facts, fictions, and yes, so many strong poems… Olio assembles and raises the voices of an essential chorus: ‘Listen to how we sing while we/ promises unto ourselves not to die.'”—The Boston Globe

“Shetterly shines a much-needed light on the bright, talented, and wholly underappreciated geniuses of the institution that would become NASA… [Her] highly recommended work offers up a crucial history that had previously and unforgivably been lost. We’d do well to put this book into the hands of young women who have long since been told that there’s no room for them at the scientific table.”—Library Journal

“Through works that blend beauty, lyricism, critique, and politics, Ms. Dove has illuminated American poetry and literature and cultivated popular interests in the arts.”—Barack Obama, National Medal of Arts commendation

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. For 83 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged our minds. 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. To learn more, visit Anisfield-Wolf.org.