Dear readers, the fate of this year’s Readers’ Choice award lies in your hands. Yes, YOU can cast YOUR vote to decide which of the incredible books nominated for the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards will be THE book, the ONE book to win a very special kind of nod.
Ohioana began this program in 2016 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of our awards program. This year, we have a poll that will stay open until Friday, June 29, at 3:00 p.m. You can access the poll here to vote for your favorite of 30 available titles. One vote per computer, please.
Our winner in 2017 was Tiffany McDaniel for her novel The Summer That Melted Everything. For 2016, the winner was Mary Doria Russell for her novel Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral.
The Readers’ Choice award is a great way to include more people in the process of giving awards to those who richly deserve them. We hope you will vote for your favorite too!
It’s true: all the best movies come from good books.
Writers know what they are doing: they create conflict and plot and characters that readers love, and then Hollywood options the work and reaps the reward.
Another reaper-of-rewards is author and Ohio native Ernest Cline. Born in Ashland, Ohio (home to a really cool hot air balloon festival every summer!) and former resident of Columbus, Mr. Cline now calls Austin, Texas, home. He owns a DeLorean which means he totally WINS and OWNS and even PWNS (if he wants to) American popular culture from the 1980s.
Cline used to work at CompuServe, which was founded in Columbus in 1969. It was a ground-breaking tech communications company, and the perfect place to work if you loved tech and info and the infinite possibilities they presented. This speculative way of looking at the world found its way into Cline’s first book, Ready Player One, which was published in 2011. Columbus is there too, as the city of escape for protagonist Wade Watts.
A lover of all things tech, geek, nerd, and 1980s, Cline was especially thrilled to work with the great filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, the force behind so many of our cultural touchstones.
Ernie also tweets now and then and can be found on Twitter as @erniecline.
Our own Jacqueline Woodson has received honors and awards for her insightful work for many years. Ms. Woodson has over 5 million copies of her books in print, four Newberry Honors, and she is the winner of the National Book Award for Brown Girl Dreaming.
And she owns all of 2018!
In January, Ms. Woodson was named the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, for 2018–2019. Her appointment was official at an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, January 9 at the Library of Congress, presided over by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
The National Ambassador for Young People program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and CBC’s charitable arm, Every Child a Reader. The Librarian of Congress selects the Ambassador based on the recommendations of an independent committee comprised of various children’s literature experts including educators, librarians, and booksellers. Among the criteria for the Ambassador post are: contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens, and dedication to fostering literacy in all forms.
Woodson has chosen the phrase “Reading = Hope x Change,” as her platform as Ambassador. “I definitely believe that reading can change us and shape us in so many ways, and through it we can be exposed to people and places and ideas that we might not otherwise come across or confront in real life,” she said. “A platform about the importance of reading and having conversations across the lines of books is really important to me.”
Check out this super-great illustrated press release from her publisher, Nancy Paulson of Nancy Paulson Books, an imprint of Penguin.
Jacqueline Woodson was born in Ohio, so we are pleased and proud to be able to claim her as our own!
The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2018 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:
Ford, Jeffrey. A Natural History of Hell: Stories, Small Beer Press.
Lang, Ruth Emmie. Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance, St. Martin’s Press.
Ng, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere, Penguin Press.
Olmstead, Robert. Savage Country, Algonquin Books.
Umrigar, Thrity. Everybody’s Son, Harper.
Bahney, Jennifer Bowers. Betrayer’s Waltz, McFarland.
Batchelor, Bob. Stan Lee: The Man Behind Marvel, Rowan & Littlefield Publishers.
Logsdon, Gene. Letter to a Young Farmer, Chelsea Green Publishing.
Ricca, Brad. Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, St. Martin’s Press.
Stillman, Deanne. Blood Brothers, Simon & Schuster.
About Ohio or an Ohioan
Alexander, Brian. Glass House, Picador.
Blunk, Jonathan. James Wright: A Life in Poetry, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Chernow, Ron. Grant, Penguin Press.
Merry, Robert W. President McKinley: Architect of the American Century, Simon & Schuster.
Reston, James Jr. A Rift in the Earth: Art, Memory, and the Fight for a Vietnam War Memorial, Arcade Publishing.
Awad, Ruth. Set to Music a Wildfire, University of Southern Indiana Press.
Fagan, Kathy. Sycamore, Milkweed Editions.
Nordgren, Sarah Rose. Darwin’s Mother, University of Pittsburgh Press.
Pitinii Davis, Allison. Line Study of a Motel Clerk, Baobab Press.
Smith, Maggie. Good Bones, Tupelo Press.
Carson, Mary Kay. Photos by Tom Uhlman. Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Derby, Sally. Illus. by Mika Song. A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices, Charlesbridge.
Daywalt, Drew. Illus. by Adam Rex. The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors, HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray
Dougherty, Shawn. Illus. by Leah Busch. Wake, Blue Manatee Press.
Rylant, Cynthia. lllus. by Brenden Wenzel. Life, Beach Lane Books.
Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature
Bundy, Tamara. Walking with Miss Millie, Nancy Paulsen Books.
McCahan, Erin. The Lake Effect, Dial Books for Young Readers.
Rogerson, Margaret. An Enchantment of Ravens, Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Rubini, Julie K. Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller, Ohio University Press
Springstubb, Tricia. Illus. by Eliza Wheeler. Cody and the Rules of Life, Candlewick Press.
Ohioana will profile all the finalists in the coming weeks. Beginning Monday, May 21, we will present “30 Books, 30 Days,” a special feature on our Facebook page in which one finalist is highlighted each weekday through Friday, June 29.
Winners will be announced in July, and the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards will be presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Thursday, October 18.
Yes, just like Nelson in his famous song, Ohioana is on the road again!
To be exact, a number of Ohioana Book Festival authors are on the road! Our round of outreach appearances with festival authors kicked off April 4 at Upper Arlington Public Library with Hanif Abdurraqib, Ruth Award, and Kristen Lepionka in a lively “New Voices: Ask the Authors” conversation moderated by Ohioana Director David Weaver.
Next week will bring more live author appearances, all of them free and open to the public, just like the Ohioana Book Festival itself. There will be several appearances by authors on radio, too. You can check out the complete list of outreach and media activities on the festival schedule page – just scroll down to Ohioana in the Community:
It’s all part of the fun and excitement leading up to the main event – the 2018 Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, April 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square. We’ll see you there!
Welcome to the official poster of the 2018 Ohioana Book Festival!
This wonderful and whimsical depiction of book-loving animals in a spring-green landscape is the work of artist Christina Wald. You can also find Christina on Twitter at @yellokat_cwald.
Christina very graciously accepted the challenge of creating a festival poster that that would both inspire and delight. And so she did, with a reading rabbit, a book-bearing giraffe, and a happy bird with a volume clutched in its claws. There’s even a unicorn!
However, unlike unicorns, the authors and artists who will attend this year’s book festival are hardly rare or mythological. You can walk right up to one and shake her hand at the upcoming festival if you want to!
You can also read more about our poster artist in the next issue of the Ohioana Quarterly, which will be published shortly before the festival, to learn about her creative process. Christina loaned us one of her preliminary sketches for the poster to illustrate the story. It’s always exciting to learn about an artist’s creative process and even to see the steps they take to get to the end!
Ohioana lost a very dear friend this week: former librarian Barbara Meister. She loved books as much as any human on the planet.
Barb starting working at Ohioana back when it was downtown on the river. And because Ohioana moved during her tenure, Barb is the one who moved the books. She personally handled each and every volume in the collection and prepared them for their journey.
Those books could not have had a better caretaker because Barb loved books. She loved them for what’s between the covers and for the covers themselves. She had a grand fondness for beautiful leather and gold-leaf volumes from the early 1900s. It was probably because of her love of the Victorians. As she once told me, her grandparents were Victorians. I think Barb loved the surface orderliness of that era.
Barb also loved Russian authors (who wrote about a world that was anything but orderly) and presented the cats in her care with names like Sasha and Vanya.
She loved the work of our friend and Ohio author Michael Dirda, and was so happy when he would come in for a chat or a program.
Barb was a great mentor and caregiver for our interns, teaching them everything she could about the joys of books and the proper care and feeding of same.
The last time that I saw her, she was talking to Courtney Brown, our Library Specialist. These two professionals were comparing notes about books and all things libraries.
“Isn’t it the best?” said Barb, “Isn’t it great?!”
Truly, Barbara Meister was the right person in the right job. She loved books. And she will be missed.
This year’s event will return to the Sheraton Columbus Capital Square on April 14. It’s an all-day extravaganza that features panel discussions, activities for kids, and books for sale. It’s also a great opportunity to meet authors and talk to them about their books. You’ll come away with autographed copies and an appreciation for what goes into your favorite fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. With over 100 authors, you’re sure to meet your favorites and also find new ones.
And plenty of your old favorites will return, like our friend Library Mouse — and FOOD TRUCKS! We’re hoping for a return visit from Schmidt’s (mmmm …. puff pastry!) as well as other TBA food trucks.
The Book Festival is always a good time for everyone. We hope you’ll make room on your calendar for your first visit or for your 12th (or somewhere in between). The energy that YOU bring makes all the difference!
For the second time in Ohio’s history, a poet laureate has been named. Serving a two year term is Dave Lucas, a native of Cleveland, award-winner (including an award from Ohioana in 2012), published writer and teacher.
It is of course a great honor to the individual, but it’s also a great benefit to the people of Ohio. We will be able to learn from this creative writer who will share his love of words during his tenure.“Our state’s poet laureate has an opportunity to engage Ohioans of every age in unique and challenging ways,” said Governor Kasich. “I’m confident Mr. Lucas will fulfill the special calling that comes with this honor, to help us look at our world from a new perspective and I wish him the best in his new role.”
During his time as poet laureate, Lucas said he wants to help Ohioans use poetry to understand and enhance their lives. He is planning a multimedia project involving people from diverse places and backgrounds allowing them to experience a variety of opinions about poetry.
Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Named by Rita Dove as one of thirteen “young poets to watch,” he has also received a “Discovery/The Nation Prize and a Cleveland Arts Prize. A co-founder of Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery and Cleveland Book Week, he teaches at Case Western Reserve University.
In our parallel trajectory, many Ohioans have been the recipients of the Oscar, including Clark Gable, George Chakiris, Eileen Heckart, and Paul Newman. Halle Berry made history in 2002 as the first (and thus far only) African American winner of the Best Actress award. Composer Henry Mancini is our state’s all-time winner at the Oscars, receiving four statuettes for his music, including the Best Song of 1961, “Moon River,” one of the classics of the American popular songbook.
An Oscar winner whose name you might not be as familiar with is author and screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart. Stewart was born in Columbus on November 30, 1894 (just twelve days before and two miles away from other future celebrated writer – James Thurber). After graduating from Yale and serving in the Navy in World War I, Stewart settled in New York and began to write. His quick wit soon led him to becoming a member of the Algonquin Round Table, the celebrated literary circle that also included Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, and Ernest Hemingway.
Stewart turned to writing plays, and success on Broadway led him eventually to Hollywood. Among his notable screenplays in the 1930s were The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Marie Antoinette, Holiday, and the 1939 classic, Love Affair (remade in 1957 as An Affair to Remember).
In 1940, M-G-M hired Stewart to adapt Phillip Barry’s play The Philadelphia Story for George Cukor’s film version starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and James Stewart (who was no relation). The film was a critical and popular smash, and earned six Oscar nominations, including the two Stewarts, both of whom won – James Stewart for Best Actor and Donald Ogden Stewart for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The host at that year’s awards ceremony was comedian Bob Hope (another Ohioan, from Cleveland). Hope would later recall it as “one of those bathos-drenched evenings where winners thanked everyone from their producer, director, and co-stars down to the ‘little people’ – by which I assumed they meant pygmies, dwarves, and elves.” Then Donald Ogden Stewart’s name was called.
Walking to the podium and taking the Oscar in his hand, Stewart said, “There’s been so much niceness here tonight that I’m proud to say I’m totally responsible for the success of The Philadelphia Story. Nobody lifted a damn finger to help me.”
The audience broke up in laughter and gave Stewart a huge ovation. Hope would remember it as one of the favorite moments of his record-breaking nineteen times as the awards host.
Stewart continued writing screenplays throughout the 1940s, working with top-flight directors such as Cukor and Michael Curtiz, and stars such as Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, William Powell, and Lana Turner. Then came the second “Red Scare” of the early 1950s. Stewart, who had been actively involved in the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League during World War II, admitted that at one time he had belonged to the Communist Party. Blacklisted by Hollywood studios, Stewart and his wife moved in 1951 to England, where he remained until his death in 1980 at the age of 85.
While not as well remembered today as some of his contemporaries, many of the films for which Stewart wrote his sparking screenplays continue to entertain. As his biography on the Internet Movie Database states, Stewart was “noted for his satirical observations of American high society, best exemplified by The Philadelphia Story.”
So as this movie-laden holiday season takes us into a new year, and as Hollywood prepares for the 90th anniversary Oscar ceremony on March 4 – Ohioana raises its glass to Donald Ogden Stewart.