The 2021 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

Highlighting the 2021 winners of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and their important work.

  • Fred Vigeant

Join host Henry Louis Gates, Jr., host of Finding Your Roots, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards jury chair, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, for a one-hour program celebrating the 86th Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and its honorees.

The honorees share readings of their award-winning works in the documentary. In addition, the film covers the inspiring history of the awards and its ties to Cleveland. The program also serves to amplify diverse voices and fosters dialogue about inclusivity that transcends the digital divide. During the current movement for racial equality, the necessity of these writings is as great as ever.

At a time when hosting an in-person awards ceremony is not possible because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ideastream Public Media, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and the Cleveland Foundation are partnering to offer this important film as an impactful, safe alternative. The special offers a unique opportunity to celebrate this year’s honorees and share significant literary works with the community in an accessible way.

Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and equity. Past winners have presented the extraordinary art and culture of peoples around the world, explored human-rights violations, exposed the effects of racism on children, reflected on growing up biracial, and illuminated the dignity of people as they search for justice. The Cleveland Foundation has administered the Anisfield-Wolf prize since 1963. Visit for more information.

Watch 86th Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Monday, January 17 at 9pm on WITF. This program, plus previous year’s documentaries are available for on-demand streaming through the PBS Video app.

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