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Orlando Patterson Receives Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award

Orlando Patterson receives Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award

Sociologist and novelist Orlando Patterson has received the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award. Patterson is among the six awardees named this year and joins a list of previous recipients including Paule Marshall, George Lamming, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, and Toni Morrison.

Lillian Faderman (The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle) and Mary Morris (The Jazz Palace) for fiction, Rowan Ricardo Phillips (Heaven) for poetry and Brian Seibert (What the Eye Hears: A History of Tap Dancing) for non-fiction comprise the remaining 2016 awardees. 

“The new Anisfield-Wolf winners broaden our insights on race and diversity,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., who chairs the jury. “This year, we honor an essential new history of gay America, a novel rich in the melodies of Jazz Age Chicago, a fluid, mesmerizing account of tap dancing and poetry with an intoxicating eye on heaven. All is capped by the lifetime achievement of Orlando Patterson, an unparalleled sociologist of race and class and place.”

Patterson has been praised for his globally influencing works on slavery and freedom. He has been celebrated for both his fiction and non-fiction. His acclaimed pieces of non-fiction include The Sociology of Slavery, Slavery and Social Death and Freedom in the Making of Western Culture. Patterson has penned three novels: The Children of Sisyphus, An Absence of Ruins and Die the Long Day.

Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, where he has lectured for over four decades, beginning in 1969.

The Anisfield-Wolf awards, named in honour of poet and philanthropist Edith Anisfield Wolf, recognize books that have made significant contribution to and understanding of racism and the rich diversity of human culture. The award is presented by the Cleveland Foundation. The 2016 awards will be staged on September 15, 2016 at the Ohio Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio.