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Reader Series: Exploring Diversity Through the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners

At a time when everyone is working to understand diversity and incorporate the concept into each of our personal and professional lives, one of the most effective ways is to read a range of authors who celebrate diversity and justice. There is no more powerful archive of such books than the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award cannon of winners. Founded in 1935 by Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield-Wolf, the distinguished literary prize remains the first and still only award given to honor books that “make important contributions to the understanding of racism and the appreciation of the rich diversity of human culture.” Our reading group will start with the history of the award and the exceptional authors who have won over the years, from Cleveland’s own Langston Hughes to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Zora Neal Hurston. Then we will delve into reading, explicating and discussing the five 2022 winners and where they fit into today:

Feb 21 - 1-hour introductory session


Mar 21 - The Renunciations by Donika Kelly (Poetry)

Apr 18 - Of Fear and Strangers by George Makari (Nonfiction)

May 16 - The Trees by Percival Everett (Fiction)

Jun 20 - All That She Carried by Tiya Miles (Nonfiction)

Jul 18 - Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed (Lifetime Achievement)

These compelling works will provide a platform for a group journey to lead reading group participants into a deeper, richer understanding of the individual books and give us a clearer, sharper context of the challenges we face in the volatile, fast-changing world today. As intelligent readers, we know that books represent an effective source for solutions to prejudice, racism and xenophobia while giving us great comfort, enjoyment and hope for the future.

Instructor: Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in publications including American TheatreChristian Science MonitorHistory Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice (Skyhorse) was published in May 2018. Johnston wrote The Way I Saw It, the memoirs of the late Marc Wyse, co-founder of Wyse Advertising, which was published in 2013. He teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction workshop courses at Cleveland State University and writing workshops for Literary Cleveland and the William N. Skirball Writers Center at the Cuyahoga County Public Library South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch. He was recently named to the Board of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

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Details: Reader Series: Exploring Diversity Through the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winners takes place Tuesdays February 21 (1-hour intro session), March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, and July 18 from 6:30-8:30pm in person at Lake Erie Ink, 2843 Washington Blvd, Cleveland Hts OH 44118.

Genre: Reader Series

Level: All levels of readers are welcome.


Format: Reader Series classes take you on a deep dive into specific topic or author to gain a more advanced understanding of literature and the world. Experienced instructors will provide history, context, and analysis, and guide in-depth discussion that will help make you an instant expert in a single subject or author's body of work.

Each participant can decide how they choose to engage with the classes. You can read the books ahead of time, read them as the class progresses, or read them after the class has concluded. No matter your level of prior knowledge, you will receive a wealth of materials and insights in a condensed period, like a master class or a great course, only right here in Cleveland.

Location: This class takes place in person at Lake Erie Ink, 2843 Washington Blvd, Cleveland Hts OH 44118.

Size: Limited to 15 participants (including scholarships).

Suggested Sequence: Follow this class with a craft and/or generative nonfiction workshop, a feedback course, or a publishing course.

Scholarships: Is cost a barrier? Don't worry! Scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 1.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email info@litcleveland.org.

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