Author Marlon James at a reading in St. Paul, Minnesota,...

Author Marlon James at a reading in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2014. James was announced as a 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner on April 1 for his novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings." Credit: MCT / Renee Jones Schneider

Marlon James’ novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings," about an assassination attempt on Bob Marley, and historian Richard S. Dunn’s “A Tale of Two Plantations," an account of slave life in Jamaica and Virginia, are among the books honored by the 80th annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, announced April 1. 

The awards, given by the Cleveland Foundation, recognize “literature that confronts and examines diversity.” Two books of poetry were also recognized: Jericho Brown’s “The New Testament” and Marilyn Chin’s “Hard Love Province.”

The lifetime achievement award went to historian David Brion Davis, whose groundbreaking trilogy of books, beginning with “The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture” in 1967, has advanced scholarship about slavery in the Americas. Davis’ most recent book in the trilogy, “The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation,” won a National Book Critics Circle award in March.

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are granted by a panel of judges chaired by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who directs the Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research at Harvard. The other judges are poet Rita Dove, novelist Joyce Carol Oates, psychologist Steven Pinker and historian Simon Schama. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Cleveland on Sept. 10. Past award winners include Nadine Gordimer, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison and Wole Soyinka.

Top Stories