Author: Ansfield-Wolf Book Awards
The Asterisk* is a production of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA), the only juried prize to honor outstanding books that further our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures. An asterisk is a reference mark, indicating an omission. With that definition in mind, each episode will delve into some of the holes in our knowledge about an esteemed AWBA winning book.The Asterisk* is hosted by Karen R. Long, the manager of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Long came to the Cleveland Foundation in 2013 after eight years as book editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. She continues as a literary critic and served until 2016 as a vice president for the National Book Critics Circle.For over 85 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged generations of minds. Cleveland poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prizes in 1935, in honor of her father, John Anisfield, and husband, Eugene Wolf, to reflect her familys passion for social justice. Today it remains the only American book prize focusing on works that address racism and diversity. Past winners have expanded the humanities, illuminated the extraordinary art and culture of peoples around the world and broadened our understanding of rights and identities as well as our sense of whom is entitled to them. The Cleveland Foundation, the worlds first community foundation, has administered the Anisfield-Wolf prize since 1963.
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Karan Mahajan (2017 Fiction)
Thursday, 26 October, 2023
Born in Stamford, Conn., Karan Mahajan grew up in New Delhi, where as a young teenager he covered cricket for an international sports network. His second novel, “The Association of Small Bombs,” won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Its chapter zero describes a 1996 car bomb blast in a New Delhi market, and the book becomes, as Elizabeth McCraken calls it, “a brilliant description of aftermath.” Both Mahajan has toggled between the literary and journalistic arts, and between India and the United States. He earned degrees from Stanford University and the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin. When the novelist was 12, Kashmiri separatists set off a car bomb a few miles from his home. The 9-11 attacks brought that memory to the fore. The Asterisk* caught up with Professor Mahajan in October 2023 via Zoom. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island where he teaches literary arts at Brown University. His third novel, “The Complex,” is due out in early 2025.