Tag: National Book Critics Circle Award

Professor and Poet Elizabeth Alexander Named President of Mellon Foundation

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Elizabeth Alexander (photo via elizabethalexander.net)

by Robin Pogebrin via nytimes.com

Elizabeth Alexander, whose memoir was a finalist in 2016 for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and who wrote and recited an original poem at Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural, will be the next president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the country’s largest humanities philanthropy.

“All of the things that I’ve cared about my whole life and worked toward my whole life Mellon does,” said Ms. Alexander in a telephone interview, citing areas like higher education and scholarship, arts and cultural heritage, and diversity.

She added that “arts and humanities are not the most protected entities right now.”

Ms. Alexander succeeds Earl Lewis, who has served since 2013. She will start in March, becoming the foundation’s first female president.

“She has deep experience in cultivating partnerships that extend and amplify creative vision,” Danielle Allen, the foundation’s chairwoman, said in a statement, adding that Ms. Alexander “brings an artist’s forward-looking energy to institutional purpose.”

Ms. Alexander, who has written six books of poetry and two essay collections, was most recently a humanities professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Before that, she served as the director of creativity and free expression at the Ford Foundation, where she helped design Agnes Gund’s $100 million Art for Justice Fund.

“This appointment is a milestone in the history of American philanthropy,” said Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation. “It’s the combination of being both rooted in the arts and grounded in the humanities and understanding philanthropy that is going to make her a success.”

Ms. Alexander has also worked closely with the Poetry Center at Smith College; the nonprofit Cave Canem, which trains aspiring poets; and Yale University, where she spent 15 years on the faculty and helped rebuild the African-American Studies department.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/arts/design/mellon-foundation-president-elizabeth-alexander.html

Acclaimed Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to be Awarded Honorary Doctorate by John Hopkins University

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Negozi Adichie (photo via venturesafrica.com)

article by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of widely-acclaimed novels “Americanah” and “Half of a Yellow Sun”, , has recently been named as one the distinguished achievers to be awarded honorary degrees, this year, by the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, United States. The honorary degrees will be conferred at the university’s commencement ceremony on the 18th of May, 2016.

Adichie will be awarded alongside seven other recognized individuals, visionaries who have made a mark in various fields. They include groundbreaking filmmaker Spike Lee, the founding director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Laurie Zabin, Nobel Prize winner, Richard Axel, amongst others.

Ronald J. Daniels, President of the Johns Hopkins University, describes the group as people who have challenged the status quo and changed the world for the better. They have made a lasting impact on the arts, public health, the law, neuroscience and the resilience of communities here in Baltimore and across the globe.”

This is a very well deserved honor for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As one of the world’s leading feminists and an insightful cultural critic, she has become quite influential on the global stage over the years, continually gaining recognition. The author who earned a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins’ Writing Seminars in 2003, is no stranger to awards and has amassed quite a number already. Her novel, Americanah, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2013. In 2008, she won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

To read more, go to: http://venturesafrica.com/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-will-be-awarded-an-honorary-doctorate-by-johns-hopkins-university/

Ta-Nehisi Coates Earns Nomination for National Book Critics Circle Award

Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015. (Photo Credit: Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times)
Ta-Nehisi Coates in 2015. (Photo Credit: Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times)

Ta-Nehisi Coates, already a National Book Award winner for “Between the World and Me,” now has a chance to add a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism to his mantel. Mr. Coates’s book, a meditation on racism in America written in the form of a letter to his son, joins works by the novelist Lauren Groff, the memoirist and critic Vivian Gornick and the poet Ada Limón among those nominated for the awards.

The awards, determined by a jury of critics and book review editors, honor excellence in six categories – autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The winners will be named on March 17. On Monday, however, the group announced the recipients of its two annual citations: Wendell Berry, an environmentalist, farmer and novelist, won the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, while Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction critic for The Washington Post, captured the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

Besides Ms. Groff’s nomination for “Fates and Furies,” the fiction finalists include: Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout,” Valeria Luiselli’s “The Story of My Teeth,” Anthony Marra’s “The Tsar of Love and Techno” and Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen.”

Nominees in other categories follow:

Nonfiction

Mary Beard, “SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome” (Liveright)

Ari Berman, “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Jill Leovy, “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America” (Spiegel & Grau)

Sam Quinones, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury)

Brian Seibert, “What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Continue reading “Ta-Nehisi Coates Earns Nomination for National Book Critics Circle Award”

Pomona College English Professor Claudia Rankine Wins National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

Professor and National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Claudia Rankine
Professor and National Book Critics Circle Award Winner Claudia Rankine (PHOTO: kcrw.com)

Claudia Rankine, the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College in Claremont, California, won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for her book Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014).

Rankine’s poetry recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Citizen is her fifth published poetry collection.1416441763-citizen

Earlier this year, Professor Rankine made literary history when she was the first author to have a work nominated as a finalist in two categories in the 39-year history of the National Book Critics Circle Awards.

Professor Rankine is a native of Jamaica. She is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and holds a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Columbia University.

article via jbhe.com

“Walking Dead” Actress Danai Gurira Wins Whiting Writing Award

Danai Gurira, best known for her role of Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead, has been awarded the Whiting Writers Award.

For those who may not be familiar, Danai Gurira, who made her Broadway debut in 2010 in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson, is an accomplished playwright in her own right.  She co-wrote In the Continuum with Nikkole Salter which received the Obie Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for writing.  Gurira also received a Helen Hayes Award for her performance in In The Contiuum.  Other work written by Gurira includes Eclipsed and The Convert.

Another woman of color honored was Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt a non-fiction writer.  She graduated from Harvard and was a Fulbright Scholar

Continue reading ““Walking Dead” Actress Danai Gurira Wins Whiting Writing Award”