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 81 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 2,000 votes were cast for this year’s Readers’ Choice Award.
Listed below are the 2022 Ohioana Book Award winners. Click on the title to learn more about the author and their winning book.
Fiction: Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land
Nonfiction: Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: Notes In Praise of Black Peformance
About Ohio or an Ohioan: Brian Alexander, The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town
Poetry: Felicia Zamora, I Always Carry My Bones
Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Jasmine Warga, The Shape of Thunder
Juvenile Literature: Andrea Wang, Watercress
Readers’ Choice: Manuel Iris, The Parting Present / Lo que se irá
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 2022 Marvin Grant winner is Louise Ling Edwards. Edwards, an essayist and poet living in central Ohio, received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in Creative Writing and Neuroscience and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University. During her MFA, she worked as the Production Editor and Online Editor for OSU’s literary magazine The Journal and received the Helen Earnhart Harley Creative Writing Fellowship Award in both creative nonfiction and poetry. She is also the recipient of the Charles W. Medick Scholarship, which is awarded to students with a visual disability.
Her writing focuses on the joys and paradoxes of living as a biracial and bisexual woman by exploring tensions between hunger and abundance, loneliness and belonging. Her in-progress collection of essays, “Paper House,” reflects her experiences living in China’s Shanxi Province for two years, and moves through both haunted and tranquil spaces of a homeland from which she has long been separated. Currently, she advises students at OSU through her role as the Undergraduate Fellowship Coordinator. Her winning entry will appear in this fall’s Ohioana Quarterly.
The 2022 Ohioana Book Awards ceremony will be held on October 26 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!