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Nigerian writer and Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka has been announced as the winner of this year’s 78th Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. 

“The 2013 Anisfield-Wolf winners are exemplars who broaden our vision of race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, there is exceptional writing about the war in Iraq, slavery on a Kentucky pig farm, the Filipino experience in the U.S., and the complexity of families in which a child is radically different from parents.”

Gates directs the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, where he is also the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor. He praised the singular achievement of Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian whose writing won a Nobel prize in 1986, three years after he won an Anisfield-Wolf award for his memoir, Ake: The Years of Childhood.

Cleveland Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald B. Richard said this year’s winners reflect founder Edith Anisfield Wolf’s belief in the unifying power of the written word.

“The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards rose from the philanthropic vision of one woman who realized that literature could advance the ongoing dialogue about race, culture, ethnicity, and our shared humanity,” Richard said.

The Anisfield-Wolf winners will be honored in Cleveland Sept. 12 at a ceremony at the Ohio Theatre hosted by the Cleveland Foundation and emceed by Jury Chair Gates. Stay tuned this week as we profile each of our 2013 winners.

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