Ohioana Book Awards
First given in 1942, the Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest, and among the most prestigious, state literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every major writer from Ohio in the past 80 years has been honored, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.
Six of the Ohioana Award winners, as well as the Marvin Grant recipient, were selected by juries. The Readers’ Choice Award was determined by voters in a public online poll. Nearly 4,000 votes were cast for this year’s Readers’ Choice Award.
Listed below are the 2021 Ohioana Book Award winners. Click on the title to learn more about the author and their winning book.
Fiction: Carter Sickels, The Prettiest Star
Nonfiction: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments
About Ohio or an Ohioan: Carole M. Genshaft, ed., Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals
Poetry: Marianne Chan, All Heathens
Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Jacqueline Woodson, Before the Ever After
Juvenile Literature: Thrity Umrigar, Sugar in Milk
Readers’ Choice: Tiffany McDaniel, Betty
Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant
Named for Ohioana’s second director, the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant is awarded to an Ohio writer age 30 or younger who has not yet published a book. The 2021 Marvin Grant winner is Hagan Faye Whiteleather.
A writer, editor, and professor based in Northeast Ohio, Hagan Faye studied English and Psychology at Kent State University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Environment with a Teaching Excellence degree distinction from Iowa State University. During her education she served as Editor-in-Chief of KSU’s literary arts journal, Luna Negra, and as Nonfiction Editor for ISU’s Flyway: Journal of Writing & Environment. Her in-progress memoir, Tangled in the Roots, explores the grounds and graves of Moultrie Chapel Cemetery, familial ties, parental loss, and the experience of providing end-of-life care. When she isn’t reading, writing, or out walking, she’s teaching creative and critical writing at her alma mater, Kent State. Her winning entry will appear in this fall’s Ohioana Quarterly.
The 2021 Ohioana Book Awards ceremony will be held on October 14 in the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse (tentatively in-person; please watch our website and social media for any possible changes). More information about the Awards and about purchasing tickets is coming soon. Congratulations to all of this year’s Ohioana Book Award winners!