Women’s Suffrage and the Ohio Women’s Convention

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Suffragettes representing counties of Ohio.

The Ohioana Library Association was founded by Martha Kinney Cooper, First Lady of Ohio; the first book in Ohioana’s collection, History of the Western Reserve, was donated by its author, Harriet Taylor Upton; Ohioana’s first executive director was Florence Roberts Head, who helped Martha Cooper found the library. These are a few of the extraordinary women who are responsible for Ohioana’s existence thanks to their intelligence, expertise and dedication to the literature of Ohio. In 1929, the year of Ohioana’s founding, these women had had the right to vote for less than a decade.

Martha Kinney Cooper, Harriet Taylor Upton and Florence Roberts Head.

In 1919 the Senate passed the Nineteenth Amendment, prohibiting the states and federal government from denying citizens the right to vote on the basis of sex. In August of 1920, the amendment was ratified, and women’s suffrage was adopted nationally. Yet the struggle for women’s suffrage began nearly a century earlier, when women’s conventions began to be established in protest of the discrimination women were experiencing across the country. One of the most significant of these conventions, and the first that was organized statewide, was the Ohio Women’s Convention at Salem. The Convention met April 19-20, 1850 in Salem, Ohio, where more than 500 women were in attendance.

The Salem, Ohio 1850 Women’s Rights Convention Proceedings, complied and edited by Robert W. Audretsch, gives a history and full account of the proceedings of the Ohio Women’s Convention. An excerpt from the text reads,

“It is quite likely that the women who met in Salem for the convention did not realize the history they were making. It was the first women’s rights convention held west of the Alleghenies; it was very likely the second such convention held in the U.S.; and it is probably the first public meeting in the U.S. where the planners, participants and officers were exclusively women.”

Cover page of The Salem, Ohio 1850 Women’s Rights Convention Proceedings.

Conventions like these provided a place for women to meet and discuss some of the ways in which they were being discriminated against – such as the denial of the right to vote, unequal wages, unequal educational opportunities, and women not having control over their property. These meetings illuminated the fact that individual women were not alone in feeling they were being treated unfairly, and that they no longer wished to stand for it.

Cover of A Voice of Their Own: The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910, from Ohioana’s collection.

The convention in Salem is regarded as a pivotal point for women’s suffrage in Ohio, which would continue earnestly for the next 70 years until the vote was secured. It’s unfortunate that many of the woman who organized and attended the convention did not see the day that women’s right to vote was recognized nationally – however, their efforts were essential in starting the conversation and movement that resulted in the nationwide change.

Cover page and inside front page of The Ohio Woman Suffrage Movement.

 One of the leading voices in support of women’s suffrage in Ohio leading up to 1920 was none other than Harriet Taylor Upton, who would become Ohioana’s first contributing author. Upton was born December 17, 1853, and during her life served as a key organizer and first president of the Suffrage Association of Warren, member and treasurer of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association. More of her life and efforts are detailed in The Ohio Woman Suffrage Movement, a document compiled by Florence E. Allen and Mary Welles to detail the history of suffrage in the state of Ohio.

During this year, the 100th anniversary of the passing of the nineteenth amendment, we remember those who stood up against great odds in order to bring women closer to equality. The texts and images featured in this post, as well as many others regarding Ohio’s women’s suffrage movement, can be found in the Ohioana Library Association’s collection.

Anniversary of Ohio’s Man on the Moon

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Front page of the The Columbus Dispatch’s souvenir moonwalk section.
Envelope of The Columbus Dispatch’s souvenir moonwalk section.

Fifty years ago this summer the course of history was changed forever. On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. This pivotal moment came after decades of preparation and planning and was a true feat of science and engineering – a remarkable achievement. The whole world watched on as the moment was punctuated by Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”.

It was an iconic moment that, in a way, all started in Ohio. Before the race to the moon, spacesuits and zero gravity, Neil Armstrong was born in the small town of Wapakoneta in Northeast Ohio on August 5, 1930. Due to his father’s job as an auditor for the State of Ohio, the family moved often during Neil’s childhood and he also called the Ohio communities of Warren, Jefferson, St. Marys and Upper Sandusky his home. By the 1940s the family had returned to Wapakoneta, where Armstrong attended high school and developed a passion for flying. At the age of 16t he earned his pilot’s license in advance even of being issued a driver’s license, practicing flight in the grassy airfields surrounding Wapakoneta. After high school, he went on to college at Purdue University and later joined the navy.

Biography of Neil Armstrong published by the State of Ohio.

After graduation and his service, Armstrong began his career in NASA at the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland. From there he held numerous other jobs and responsibilities at NASA, often acting as a test pilot, before eventually being selected for astronaut training in 1962. He served as a backup pilot on Gemini missions 5 and 11 and went to space for the first time as command pilot on Gemini 8. In 1968, Armstrong was offered the post of commander on Apollo 11, along with Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Commander Module Pilot Michael Collins. Less than a year later they would be the first humans to successfully land on the moon.

Articles from the Citizen Journal from July 1969 introducing the seven Ohioans who worked on the Apollo Program and the proposal of an Armstrong related museum in Wapakoneta.

With his accomplishments, Armstrong joined the leagues of other notable Ohioans involved in advancements in flight and space exploration. Col. John Glen, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker and Orville and Wilbur Wright are just a few air and space pioneers that Ohio claims.

Article from The Dispatch from July 1969 describing the ways in which Armstrong’s hometown was preparing for the big day.

In the days and weeks surrounding the Apollo 11 launch and first moonwalk, it seems natural that Ohioans across the state took a special interest in the event. This is apparent in the publications from the time such as The Columbus Dispatch and The Cincinnati Enquirer. Many newspaper articles and clippings pertaining to the event can be found in Ohioana’s collection. Articles covered all aspects of the moon mission from the astronaut’s daily routines while in space, to reports of how Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta was preparing for the momentous occasion.

There was no one prouder of Neil Armstrong that day than the family, friends and residents back in his hometown of Wapakoneta – or Wapak, as it’s known in the region. Mrs. Grover Crites, wife of Armstrong’s high school math and science teacher, was quoted saying, “There won’t be a dark house in the town of Wapak the night Neil walks on the moon.” Days before the moon mission, The Columbus Dispatch reported that “All 7,000 residents of Wapak … are excited, proud and concerned”. Two years later, in 1971, a museum dedicated to Neil Armstrong was opened in the town thanks to the help of members of the community and Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes. You can visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta today to see artifacts from Armstrong’s Apollo 11 and Gemini 8 missions. The museum, as well as the entire town of Wapakoneta, is holding celebrations of the moon landing anniversary all year. For more information visit: https://www.firstonthemoon.org/.

The anniversary of the moonwalk was celebrated everywhere this year – including in the 2019 Ohio State Fair’s annual butter sculpture depicting Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin.

All images courtesy of Ohioana’s collection.

OPHELIA’s Book-to-Movie Journey: An Interview with Lisa Klein

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By Kathryn Powers

Ophelia covers, courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

There are two sides to every story. The mad Prince of Denmark is the star of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but what if Ophelia had the chance to share her tale? This is the premise of Ophelia, the young adult novel by Columbus author Lisa Klein. Lisa was a professor of English before embarking on her career writing books for young readers. Dissatisfied with the original portrayal of Shakespeare’s Ophelia, she crafted a modern retelling of the classic tragedy. Ophelia became Lisa’s first published novel in 2006. And now—over a decade later—the book has made a remarkable journey to the big screen as a feature film!

After viewing the movie at Gateway Film Center, Ohioana’s office manager and kidlit enthusiast, Kathryn Powers, had the chance to interview Lisa regarding this exciting book-to-movie journey.    

1) The process of how a book becomes a movie is so mysterious! Can you describe how this happened with Ophelia?                  

Just after Ophelia was published, an independent producer “optioned” it, reserving the rights while he pulled a production together.  First came the script, which the producers used to attract a director, whose vision shapes the production. It’s important to sign well-known actors to round out the package and attract financiers. The producers have to scout locations for the filming, hire crew, and build sets. And everyone’s schedules have to match. It’s a complicated process, requiring patience and diplomacy.  Sometimes it falls apart (as when the director who was interested bows out), and the producer has to start over again. This happened more than once, which is why it took ten years to finally “greenlight” Ophelia!

2) Were you able to give any input regarding the Ophelia script?

Once I signed the contract, I effectively gave up creative control. I was shown the script early on, as a courtesy, and I offered some input.  A few of my suggestions were adopted. But the script is the creation of the screenwriter as much as the novel is the creation of the author, and I came to respect that distinction. The movie is not the book, but stands as its own wonderful reimagining of the Hamlet story.

3) Are there many differences between the book and movie?

Yes, several! The movie keeps the romance between Hamlet and Ophelia alive until the last possible moment (to please a movie audience), while the book emphasizes their conflict and Ophelia’s decision to go it alone.  The last quarter of the novel, which occurs in a convent, is reduced to a scene of a few seconds in the movie. My character Mechtild, an herbalist, is at the center of a new subplot, created to give the actress Naomi Watts a larger role. (She plays Queen Gertrude and her sister, Mechtild.)  There are other differences, but the story is still Ophelia’s, told in her voice.  And it’s visually stunning, so readers who prefer to bring a story alive in their own imaginations won’t be disappointed.

Ophelia official movie poster, credit to IFCFlims.

4) What was it like to visit the set in Prague?

Exciting and a bit unreal. My friend Jody Casella, who is also a writer, came with me. She kept pinching me (well, not literally) and saying “Can you believe these hundreds of people are all here making a movie because of a book you wrote?” We met Daisy Ridley and George McKay and Clive Owen and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy!) who were all very gracious. People kept thanking me for writing the book, and I was like, “Don’t thank me, thank Shakespeare. We all owe what we are doing to Shakespeare.”

5) Where can people view the movie?  

The movie is playing in select theaters through July, and is currently available for streaming online.

6) Additionally, is there anything you want to share with us about your writing or next projects?

It has been a thrilling journey having my book made into a movie, and now that I’ve seen it on the big screen and celebrated, it’s time to settle down and get back to my writing. What was I working on again? Oh, my first novel for adults, set in Venice in the 1500s.

To learn more about Lisa, Ophelia, and her other books, be sure to visit her website at http://www.authorlisaklein.com.

Announcing the 2019 Ohioana Award Winners!

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It’s that time of year again! It’s to the pleasure of everyone at Ohioana to announce the 2019 Ohioana Awards. Every year, the Awards recognize an outstanding title in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, About Ohio/Ohioan, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, Juvenile Literature. Readers are also invited to have their voices heard in voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. In addition, a young writer is chosen as the recipient of the annual Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant.

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. This year, more than 3,000 votes were cast for the Readers’ Choice Award.

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 75 years has been honored, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.

The Ohioana Awards will be presented Thursday, October 17, in the Atrium of Ohio’s historic Statehouse in Columbus. Tickets for event, which are open to the public and include a pre-awards reception, will go on sale in mid-September.

The 2019 Ohioana Award winners are as follows:

Fiction: Moriel Rothman-Zecher, Sadness is a White Bird

Nonfiction: David Giffels, Furnishing Eternity

About Ohio or an Ohioan: Wil Haygood, Tigerland

Poetry: Marcus Jackson, Pardon My Heart

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Ellen Klages, Out of Left Field

Juvenile Literature: Jacqueline Woodson, The Day You Begin

Readers’ Choice: Rachel Wiley, Nothing is Okay

Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant

Alongside the book awards, Ohioana has named David Grandouiller as the recipient of the 30th Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, a competitive prize for an Ohio writer age thirty or younger who has not yet published a book. Born in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and raised in Jamestown, Ohio, David is a 2017 graduate of Cedarville College. He writes essays and is currently in his third year as an MFA candidate in creative writing at The Ohio State University.

Ohioana Announces 2019 Book Award Finalists

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Winners will be announced in July, awards presented at Ohio Statehouse on October 17

2016 Ohioana Awards

Columbus, OH – May 17, 2019 —The Ohioana Library has announced the finalists for the 2019 Ohioana Book Awards. First given in 1942, the awards are the second oldest state literary prizes in the nation and honor outstanding works by Ohio authors in five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Juvenile Literature, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Nonfiction. The sixth category, About Ohio/Ohioan, may also include books by non-Ohio authors.

Among the literary honors this year’s finalists have previously received are the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Edgar Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Two authors have had books made into major motion pictures, while another was a writer for MTV’s iconic 1990s series Beavis and Butt-head. Four authors are finalists for their debut books, while six are past Ohioana Award winners.

Winners will be announced in July, and the 2019 Ohioana Book Awards will be presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Thursday, October 17. The finalists are:

Fiction

Felver, Brad. The Dogs of Detroit: Stories, University of Pittsburgh Press.

Ford, Jeffrey. Ahab’s Return: or, The Last Voyage, William Morrow.

Markley, Stephen. Ohio: A Novel, Simon & Schuster.

Rothman-Zecher, Moriel. Sadness is a White Bird, Atria Books.

Sittenfeld, Curtis. You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories, Random House.

Umrigar, Thrity. The Secrets Between Us, Harper.

Nonfiction

Giffels, David. Furnishing Eternity, Scribner.

Haygood, Wil. I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100, Rizzoli Electa.

Kuusisto, Stephen. Have Dog, Will Travel, Simon & Schuster.

Macy, Beth. Dopesick, Little, Brown and Company.

Orlean, Susan. The Library Book, Simon & Schuster.

About Ohio or an Ohioan

Congdon, Jane. How the “Wild” Effect Turned Me into a Hiker at 69, Bettie Youngs Books.

Haygood, Wil. Tigerland, Knopf.

Hazelgrove, William. Wright Brothers, Wrong Story, Prometheus Books.

Jackson, Lawrence P. Chester B. Himes: A Biography, W.W. Norton & Company.

Van Haaften, Julia. Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography, W.W. Norton & Company.

Poetry

Barngrover, Anne. Brazen Creature, University of Akron Press.

Bentley, Roy. Walking with Eve in the Loved City, University of Arkansas Press.

Jackson, Marcus. Pardon My Heart, Triquarterly.

Nezhukumatathil, Aimee. Oceanic, Copper Canyon Press.

Wiley, Rachel. Nothing is Okay, Button Poetry.

Juvenile Literature

Campbell, Marcy. Illus. by Corinna Luyken. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse, Dial Books.

Fleming, Denise. This is the Nest That Robin Built, Beach Lane Books.

Genshaft, Carole Miller. Aminah’s World, Ohio University Press Distributed Titles.

Mora, Oge. Thank you, Omu!, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Woodson, Jacqueline. lllus. by Rafael Lopez. The Day You Begin, Nancy Paulsen Books.

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature

Arnold, David. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, Viking Books for Young Readers.

Draper, Sharon M. Blended, Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

Houts, Michelle. Count the Wings: The Life and Art of Charley Harper, Ohio University Press.

Klages, Ellen. Out of Left Field, Viking Books for Young Readers.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Harbor Me, Nancy Paulsen Books.

Ohioana will profile all the finalists in the coming weeks. Beginning late in May, it will present “31 Books, 31 Days,” a special feature on the library’s Facebook page in which one finalist is highlighted each day.

In June, the public will have the opportunity to vote online for their favorite title from among the finalists for Ohioana’s 4th annual Readers Choice Award. Keep watching for more information on Facebook and Twitter!

A Statement from Ohioana

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The Ohioana Library Association thanks everyone who has expressed their views and concerns regarding diversity in our programming, particularly the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards held last October at the Ohio Statehouse, and the 2019 Ohioana Book Festival, held on April 27 at Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library.

This year marks Ohioana’s 90th anniversary. Throughout our history, Ohioana has served diverse communities and looked for new ways to reach out to those communities, both live and virtual. Our programming and events are open to all, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, or political beliefs.

More than 400 books every year are considered for the Ohioana Book Awards, which are the second oldest state literary prize in the nation. These books are nominated by authors, publishers, and the general public. There are only two criteria. First, the author must be an Ohioan or a non-Ohioan whose book is on an Ohio subject. Second, the book must have been traditionally published (not self-published) in the past year. Any author whose work meets these criteria is eligible. Five finalists are chosen by volunteer judges in each of six categories, and one in each is selected as the winner. Throughout the history of the book awards, the winners have reflected a variety of viewpoints and backgrounds, including persons of color and other minorities.

The Ohioana Book Festival is open to any Ohio author who has had a book traditionally published in the past year. Ohioana takes applications from authors from July to November, and participants are selected in December. While some authors are specifically invited, including past Ohioana Award winners, the majority are chosen via the open application process. Every festival has included authors of color, authors who are LGBTQAI+, and authors with disabilities. The number of participants in these groups can vary from year to year, based on how many authors in these groups apply with books that qualify.

The festival itself is free and open to the public. April 27’s event, presented for the first time at Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library, drew a record 4,400 attendees. They represented a wide and diverse audience of readers from Columbus and beyond, and 68% who took our on-site survey said it was their first festival. Reaching new audiences was an important goal in moving the festival to the Main Library.

We recognize we can do more to create a more diverse representation on all fronts: in our awards review process; in selecting authors for the book festival, including distributing the application in places where it can be found by writers who are not familiar with Ohioana or the festival; and in recruiting members for our board. Identifying ways to improve in these areas, and then implementing those identified changes, will be a major focus for the Ohioana Library over the coming months.             

We appreciate that several people, including those who have been among our biggest supporters and our most vocal critics, have expressed their willingness to help. We look forward to working with them and the community to discuss what next steps Ohioana can take, both formal and informal, to encourage greater diversity and inclusiveness.

Remembering Ellis Avery

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(Ellis Avery at the 2013 Ohioana Book Festival, photo credit Elizabeth Nihiser)

March is Women’s History Month, and today happens to be International Women’s Day. So it seems fitting to pay tribute to one extraordinary woman and writer, Ellis Avery. Sadly, Ellis passed away on February 15, at the young age of 46. In 2002, Ellis received the Ohioana Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant for a writer age 30 or younger who has not yet published a book. Five years later, she won the Ohioana Book Award in fiction for her debut novel, “The Teahouse Fire.” Ellis and Anthony Doerr are, to date, the only writers to have received both the Marvin Grant and an Ohioana Book Award. Among her other honors, Ellis was also the only author to have won two Lamba Literary Awards. Ohioana Director David Weaver spoke to Ellis in the fall of 2017, interviewing as part of a series of conversations with past Marvin Grant winners. The interview appears here for the first time.

How did winning the Marvin Grant impact you: your life, your career, your writing?

As it happens, I got the phone call about the Marvin Grant just after I had decided to splurge on a two-week writing class in Assisi, Italy, with literary hero Maxine Hong Kingston, in order to begin what would become my first published novel, THE TEAHOUSE FIRE.  The class seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I had just that morning bitten the bullet, charged it on my credit card, and decided to worry about paying for it later.  This was a “Leap, and the net will appear” decision for me: that very day, I received a call from Linda Hengst telling me that I had won the Walter Rumsey Marvin grant!

Do you recall how you felt when you learned you had won the grant? Were you able to attend the award ceremony and, if so, what was it like?  

I was floored and delighted when I received the call. Not only did the grant solve the immediate financial problem of how to pay for the class with Maxine Hong Kingston, it represented some of the first serious professional validation I had ever received.  Specifically, it made me take the opportunity to study with Hong Kingston more seriously, and it spurred me both to work all the harder on the novel I began in her class: the financial gamble that the class represented wasn’t just between me and my credit card; it was one that a whole community much larger than myself had chosen to take with me, and I owed it to them, as well as to myself, to take myself seriously.

The award ceremony was such a happy occasion! My partner came with me from New York, and my mother, now deceased, flew up from Florida to celebrate with us.  It was an honor to be welcomed into the community of Ohio writers in this manner, and, in an unexpected piece of good fortune, I got to reconnect at the ceremony with my beloved elementary school librarian from Columbus School for Girls, Marilyn Parker.  

What advice do you give young writers when they’re trying to break in? Are prizes such as the Marvin Grant helpful in giving a writer’s career a boost?

I encourage young writers trying to break in to be patient and persistent.  It’s really difficult to publish a first novel.  Subscribe to Poets and Writers and apply for everything you can: prizes like the Marvin Grant can offer financial support, a chance to be exposed to a new and perhaps life-changingly influential audience base, and most significantly, a huge psychological boost: that outside confirmation can help you shift from feeling like a grandiose nobody with a laptop to a true-blue capital-W Writer.  Two more pieces of advice: First, bump it with a trumpet.  The publishing world seeks quality work, but subject matter matters enormously, too.  I could have written a different first novel just as good as The Teahouse Fire but if it hadn’t been about Japan— if the publishing world hadn’t been persuaded that, because of its subject matter, it might be the next Memoirs of a Geisha— it could just as easily have died on the vine.  Second, if you have a project that keeps garnering the same feedback over and over— good, but not great, close, but no cigar—it may be a sign that it’s time to exercise the painful courage it takes to put that project in a drawer, start over, and write another, better book.  

Ohioana is proud of you as not only a Marvin Grant winner but an Ohioana Book Award winner. What does it mean to you to be claimed as “an Ohio writer”?

I’m so grateful for the support that the Ohioana Library has shown me over the years, both as a Marvin grantee and as an Ohioana Book Award winner.  As for being claimed as an “Ohio writer,” although I left Ohio at age eleven, I have fond memories of Columbus School for Girls and of my childhood neighborhood of German Village. Moreover, it’s an honor to imagine my novels on the same shelf as books by Toni Morrison, Sherwood Anderson, Jacqueline Woodson, etc.  But does that give me a sense of what “being an Ohioan” might mean?  I’m not sure.  I’ve resonated with elements of German Village everywhere I’ve lived—red brick and sycamores, 1880s architecture, the low-tech small-scale pleasures of walking and cycling and being known in one’s local haunts, of exchanging smiles with strangers on the street— but it seems solipsistic to imagine that  all Ohio writers have been stamped in the same way: there are as many Ohios as there are Ohioans.

Thank you, Ellis.

In 2007, the year she won the Ohioana Book Award, Ellis sent Ohioana a lovely note and a check for $1,000 – the same amount as she had received five years earlier for the Marvin Grant. She joked that it might not be something she could do every year, but she wanted us to know how much Ohioana’s support meant to her. A wonderful gesture that perfectly summed up Ellis. We’ll always remember her beautiful spirit and writing, through which her legacy will live on.

Read more about Ellis here: https://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/news/02/16/ellis-avery/?fbclid=IwAR1B05NeibOI8zon1w_UwsXnpVSTxge3hkOYnKtYs1_dIlvdN3l5S69XaRI

Celebrating a Forgotten Author for Black History Month

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A near capacity crowd was on hand February 20 as Ohioana presented, “From Prison to Prominence: The Life and Literary Work of Chester Himes” at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library. Author Yolonda Tonette Sanders, the creator of the “Protective Detective” mystery series, conceived the program, in which she “interviewed” Chester Himes, portrayed by Columbus actor Tony Roseboro. Questions from the audience, clips from the 1970 film version of Himes’ novel “Cotton Comes to Harlem,” and Ohioana Director David Weaver turning the tables on Sanders and interviewing her rounded out the evening.

The trailblazing Himes went from being an inmate at the Ohio Penitentiary to an influential writer and creator of the black detective genre. Himes is one of those authors who, after being largely forgotten over the years, is gaining new recognition and respect for his work.

The program was presented by Ohioana not only for Black History Month, but as part of the I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 celebration.

To read more about Himes, check out this great article from the February 14 issue of Columbus Alive:

https://www.columbusalive.com/entertainment/20190213/community-feature-ohioana-library-celebrates-unsung-harlem-renaissance-writer

Happy Holidays from Ohioana

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With 2018 winding down, it’s time to look back on the past year and all that has been accomplished. For Ohioana, 2018 was filled with many memorable and record breaking events. Read about them below, and check out our photo gallery of Ohioana’s 2018 In Review!

Winter
• Governor John Kasich named 2012 Ohioana Poetry Book Award winner Dave Lucas of Cleveland as Ohio’s second Poet Laureate.
• The Ohioana Quarterly began its seventh decade of publication, with our winter cover story about the historic Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton, the sixth in our series of “Ohio’s Literary Landmarks.” The issue also featured a look at Ohio poets and poetry.
• Morgan Peters, previously our Mount Intern and part-time Program Assistant, became Ohioana’s full-time Program Coordinator, bringing Ohioana’s staff to four people for the first time since 2013.
• The official poster of the 2018 Ohioana Book Festival poster was unveiled, designed by Cincinnati artist and illustrator Christina Wald.
• Elizabeth (Libby) Vasey, a recent Bachelor of Music graduate of The Ohio State University, joined Ohioana as our 2018 Ruth Weimer Mount Intern.

Spring
• Ohioana and the State Library of Ohio jointly presented an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of National Library Week and the kickoff the 2018 Ohioana Book Festival. The highlight of the event was the announcement of the 2019-20 Choose to Read Ohio list of twenty books. Nearly a dozen current and past CTRO authors attended, along with State Representatives Laura Lanese and Jay Lawrence.
• For the second consecutive year, the nationally-distributed comic strip Crankshaft, written by Tom Batiuk and illustrated by Chuck Ayers, featured characters at the Ohioana Book Festival for an entire week.
• The 12th annual Ohioana Book Festival was presented at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square on April 14. More than 120 Ohio authors participated, and our bookseller, The Book Loft of German Village, set a new festival sales record. Outreach and media activities helped the 2018 festival reach more than 50,000 people statewide.
• Thirty finalists were announced for the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards. The third annual Readers’ Choice Award was launched, inviting members and the general public to choose their favorite book among the finalists.
• Ohioana announced that the Columbus Metropolitan Library will be the new host venue for the Ohioana Book Festival, starting in 2019.

Summer
• Celeste Ng, Brian Alexander, Deanne Stillman, Ruth Awad, Sally Derby, and Tamara Bundy were announced as the juried winners of the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards. Tamara also was announced as the winner of the third Ohioana Readers’ Choice Award.
• Christopher Alexander Gellert of Cleveland was announced as the 2018 recipient of the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, awarded to an Ohio writer age 30 or younger who has not published a book.
• The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theater Research Institute at The Ohio State University, named in honor of the renowned and threetime Ohioana Award-winning playwrights, was profiled in the summer Ohioana Quarterly as our seventh “Ohio Literary Landmark.”
• Ohioana joined with more than twenty other organizations as a program partner for “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100,” a centennial celebration of the historic literary and art movement.
• Governor Kasich appointed Brian M. Perera of Upper Arlington and re-appointed Carol Garner of Mount Vernon as members of the Ohioana Board of Trustees.

Autumn
• Ohioana Director David Weaver joined Two Dollar Radio HQ owner Erik Obenauf to talk about Columbus books and authors for WOSU’s “Columbus Neighborhoods,” hosted by Charlene Brown.
• The 77th annual Ohioana Awards were presented before a sellout crowd in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium on October 18. All the book award winners were present, while Marvin Grant winner Christopher Alexander Gellert appeared on video. Special guests included Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas. The awards were streamed live by The Ohio Channel and can be viewed on their website: https:// www.ohiochannel.org/video/ohioanaawards-2018
• Ohioana held its 89th annual meeting at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Ellen McDevitt-Stredney was elected as a new trustee, joining re-elected board members Gillian Berchowitz, Louise Musser, John
Sullivan, and Jacquelyn Vaughan. Daniel Shuey, John Sullivan, Bryan Loar, and Jay Yurkiw were elected as officers for 2019-21.
• The fall issue of the Ohioana Quarterly profiled the 2018 Ohioana Book Award winners and featured a story by Marvin Grant recipient Christopher Alexander Gellert. There was also a two-part feature on the “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” project, including an interview with Larry James and Ohioana Award-winning author Wil Haygood, and a profile of two Ohio authors who were part of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes and Chester Himes, featuring rare items from the Ohioana Collection.
• Ohioana announced that children’s picture book illustrator Tim Bowers of Mount Vernon will design the official poster for the 2019 Ohioana Book Festival.

We are confident that 2019, Ohioana’s 90th anniversary, will be just as good. Happy holidays, and see you next year!

Poetry reviews

posted in: authors, Poetry, Reviews, Writing | 0

We can all use a little more poetry in our lives … maybe a LOT more poetry.

And since we want everyone who reads the Ohioana Quarterly to become familiar with our Ohio poets, we want more poetry reviews.

We’ve been thinking about how to get more of those reviews into the OQ, so we’re taking a moment here in the Ohioana blog to provide a few resources to writers who maybe already review as well those who want to. These are interesting articles as well, and provide good insights.

From Publisher’s Weekly: “What Poetry Reviews are for (and up Against)” by Craig Teicher. From the article: ” ‘The purpose of poetry reviewing is to keep the art of poetry alive,’ says Kevin Prufer, an editor, poet, and prolific reviewer for various literary magazines.”

From Writer’s Digest: “Reviewing Poetry Books: Why Does It Matter?” By Robert Lee Brewer. From the article, an interview with Jeannine Hall Gaily: “If you want to learn how to review a book, read the reviews in some of the literary magazines you already enjoy, but also pick up The New York Times Review of Books, The Women’s Review of Books, Poetry Flash, The Review Review, and The American Book Review.”

From the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine: “100 Years of Poetry: Re-Reading Reviews” by Joel Brouwer. From the article: “What should a book review do? Analyze, empathize? Compare, contrast? Historicize, contextualize? Defend, demolish? When I started reviewing poetry, I had no idea. I flailed away blindly at each assignment until, somehow, I knocked it out.”

There’s plenty of good ideas here for poets who would like to see their books reviewed as well as hone the craft of writing poetry. By spending time evaluating the work of others, you get a lesson on improving your own work. You also support other poets by giving their work thoughtful consideration.

 

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