The Awards will be presented on
Tuesday, September 14th at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave. in Cleveland.
Recipients include Elizabeth Alexander, the poet, essayist, playwright and teacher who
received national notoriety last year with the penning of Praise Song for the Day the poem read during the Inaugural ceremonies for President Barack Obama. Alexander will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Poetry.
Novelist Kamila Shamsie will be honored for her latest work Burnt Shadows,
published in 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing. On its author Website, Bloomsbury describes the novel as “an epic narrative of disasters evaded and confronted, loyalities offered and repaid, and loves rewarded and betrayed.” A native of Pakistan, Shamsie is also the aut
hor of In the City by the Sea, Kartography, Salt and Saffron and Broken Verses.
Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Non-Fiction is William Julius Wilson. In describing Wilson, the press information states, “Wilson is the author of a number of c
ritically acclaimed and culturally challenging works, including the 1978 publication The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions. In this work, Wilson argued that the significance
of race was declining and an African-American’s class was comparatively more important in determining his or her chances in life. His most recent book, More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, was published in 2009. A sociologist, Wilson holds a Ph.D. from Washington State University. In 1996 he joined the faculty at Harvard University, where he is among an exclusive group to hold the highest professional distinction of University Professor. Among his many honors, he is a recipient of the Burton Gordon Feldman Awards for “outstanding contributions in the field of public policy.”
Rounding out the honorees is Oprah Winfrey receiving the Lifetime Achievement A
ward. In announcing Winfrey’s selection the Wolf jury notes, “Winfrey, often called the “most influential woman in the world,” is a television host, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Her difficult childhood – born out of wedlock, raised in poverty, sexually abused – is well documented and she is widely respected for overcoming hardship. Through her television talk show, Winfrey launched Oprah’s Book Club and single-handedly brought the joys of reading to millions of people around the world and re-engaged those whose interest may have waned over time. Her commitment to issues of diversity and human cultures runs through the topics she addresses on her show, the books she recommends, and the cultural arts she financially supports, including the 2009 movie Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire and the Broadway production of The Color Purple.”
Previous winners of the prize which “remains the only juried American literary competition devoted to recognizing books that have made an important contribution to society’s understanding of racism and the diversity of human cultures” include Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Diaz, Gwendolyn Brooks and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Prize was established in 1963 by Elizabeth Anisfeld Wolf.
For more information on the Awards visit here.