Here Are the Winners of the 86th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

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James McBride won in the fiction category for "Deacon King Kong" - ANISFIELD-WOLF
  • Anisfield-Wolf
  • James McBride won in the fiction category for "Deacon King Kong"

The winners of the 2021 Anisfield-Wolf book awards, which are based in Cleveland and are the only literature prize specifically given for works that "confront racism and explore diversity," were announced this morning by the Cleveland Foundation.

Recognized in the 86th annual batch of honors:



  • Vincent Brown, “Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of An Atlantic Slave War,” co-winner, Nonfiction
  • Victoria Chang, “Obit,” Poetry
  • Samuel R. Delany, Lifetime Achievement
  • James McBride, “Deacon King Kong,” Fiction
  • Natasha Trethewey, “Memorial Drive,” co-winner, Nonfiction
“The new Anisfield-Wolf winners bring us fresh insights on race and the human condition,” jury chair Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a statement. “This year, we honor a brilliant military history, a breakout poetry collection that wrestles with mortality, a novel bursting with love and trouble centered around a Brooklyn church, and a memoir by a daughter reclaiming her mother’s story. All of which is capped by the lifetime achievement of Samuel R. Delany, who has broadened our humanity and sharpened our minds through his groundbreaking science fiction.”

All five jurors, including poet Rita Dove, novelist Joyce Carol Oates, historian Simon Schama and psychologist Steven Pinker, are featured in a short video on the selections, which can be viewed below.



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