Authors Honored for Books Dealing With Racism

The Cleveland Foundation has announced the winners of the 2007 Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. The awards, created in 1935, recognize outstanding works that contribute to society’s understanding of racism and foster an appreciation of diversity.

In the fiction category there were two awards. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was honored for his novel Half of a Yellow Sun, a story that takes place during the Biafran War in 1967. Adichie is currently conducting graduate work in African studies at Yale.

Martha Collins’ book-length poem Blue Front examines the 1909 lynching of a black man in Cairo, Illinois. Collins is the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College.

Scott Reynolds Nelson won the award in the nonfiction category for Steel Drivin’ Man, the historical portrayal of John Henry, a black man who, as a member of a chain gang, built railroads in Virginia. Nelson is a professor of history at the College of William and Mary.

The foundation also bestowed its lifetime achievement award on historian Taylor Branch for his trilogy on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.