Happy International Women’s Day!

Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? Nothing worthwhile happens overnight and change takes time — and work. Lots and lots of work.

In politics, Ohio can make a proud claim: Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) was the first woman to run for president of the United States. There’s some discussion about the legitimacy of her bid for office: Woodhull was under the age of 35 and of course women couldn’t vote so how could her bid for office be legitimate? Ooof. And some aspects of her personal life could be termed disorderly …  but when has that stopped members of the opposite sex from running for office?

Anyway.

Ohioana is sending love today to all of the women who write. Thank you today to Connie Schultz who writes about politics and who moderates a lively Facebook community. Thank you to Gloria Steinem, native of Toledo. Thank you Toni Morrison, for your amazing work. Toni Morrison won the Ohioana Book Award for Sula, and her mother, Mrs. George Wofford, accepted the award on Ms. Morrison’s behalf at the luncheon in 1975. Ms. Morrison also sent Ohioana a note in 1999, thanking us for honoring her:

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Ohio to be a gift to any writer’s imagination is high praise indeed. May we continue to serve as an inspiration.

 

The New Kid in Town

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It’s so exciting to have a new bookstore in town! Gramercy Books in Columbus suburb city Bexley opened its doors just about six weeks ago.

What? Aren’t independent bookstores dead? Didn’t they get buried in the rise of the big box stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders? Yes and no. Borders, of course, is gone. And you can buy books at the grocery or drug stores (nothing new there). What about online retailers like Amazon? And what about the rise of the e-book?

True story: independent bookstores began returning after the Great Recession of 2008, which seems to defy explanation and logic. Per the American Booksellers Association, 2009 was the year when independent bookstores experienced a resurgence in numbers and popularity.

Turns out people like stores that specialize in books. Don’t you make sure to visit bookstores when you travel? Of course you do.

Columbus is part of the trend, which is gloriously reassuring. We’ve got craft beer, vibrant arts scenes in different parts of the city, tech innovation – and an indy bookstore!

What makes the whole thing even more special is that store owner Linda Kass is also a novelist. Her book, Tasa’s Song, about music, survival, and World War II, has been the source of musical inspiration. If you visit her website to learn more about her book, you can hear original music composed by Charles Wetherbee of the Carpe Diem String Quartet.

Book stores inspire as well. There’s nothing like the experience of stepping into a well-stocked space and meeting a new book, sure to be your new best friend.

Congratulations to Linda Kass! We look forward to many visits and many purchases!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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People all over central Ohio are crossing the days off on their calendars and getting their wish list together. But it’s not the first month of winter and the days are getting longer, not shorter. So what are we talking about?

It’s spring in Columbus and that means the Ohioana Book Festival is fast approaching! If you haven’t yet jotted down the date, now’s your chance:

SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We’re back at the Sheraton this year, the one at Capitol Square. There’s parking all over the place, including the garage for the Columbus Commons. In fact, the Sheraton borders the Commons. Easy to find. There’s also parking under the Capitol if you would like to park there. And you might find a spot on the street. It could happen! Most wonderful time of the year, right?

 


So after you get your car parked, be ready for fun! We’ll have food trucks, workshops, stuff just for kids and teens and BOOKS AND AUTHORS!

Our authors are the best and the Ohioana Book Festival is a great place to meet your favorites. You can talk to them and get a signed copy of their books, for one. We also try to seat authors in similar genres together so that you’ll get a chance to talk to more than mystery author (if you like mysteries) or book illustrator (if you like great drawings). Our authors also present during festival so be sure to check the schedule to find who is talking about what – and when and where! The Sheraton’s not that huge, but why risk missing hearing one of your favorites speak?

The Book Festival is also heavy on SHOPPING! That’s right! It’s America’s favorite pastime and makes this event even more like that other most-wonderful-time-of-the-year. Heck, you can even get a huge head start on the one that begins in December by getting waaaaay ahead of the holiday rush.

So don’t forget: SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ohio is for book lovers

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The bad news: Valentine’s Day was yesterday.

The good news: Valentine’s candy is on sale and the cost of long-stemmed red roses is back down to pre-holiday levels.

The better news: In Ohio, love is always in the air.

February is still winter and the nights are still cold, speaking of the air. But you can warm up since Ohio is the home state of many romance writers. There are two state chapters of the Romance Writers of America, so it’s easy to find new authors if you want to combine your love of Ohio with your love of love. If you want to write romance novels or if you already do but would like some writer friends for hanging out and critiquing manuscripts, check out the Central Ohio Fiction Writers and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (NEORWA). These active groups host guest speakers, post frequently on social media, and have dedicated members who are published authors.

As we said, there are so many Ohio romance writers. Want to mention one of them here (wish we had space for everyone): Jenny Crusie. Jenny writes sharp, snappy dialogue and her stories are populated by equally intelligent heroines. Sometimes she writes on her own, but her collaborations are crackling good fun too! In Agnes and the Hit Man (doesn’t sound like romance is anywhere nearby, but it is!), Jenny wrote the dialogue for the female protagonist (Agnes) and her writing partner, Bob Mayer, wrote the male protagonist’s dialogue (the hitman). In addition to being a Wapakoneta native, Jenny’s won awards and earned her doctorate from Ohio State. Jenny also keeps up an active and engaging blog.

So even though the big day is over, the nights are still cold in Ohio. Warm up with a book about love!

 

Black History Month is something to celebrate!

Black History Month was much shorter when it began in 1926: it was only a week long. The celebration was the brain child of historian and educator Carter G. Woodson, who spent quite a bit of his youth in Huntington, West Virginia – one of Ohio’s neighbors to the south. February was chosen since it’s also the month of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

A new documentary was just released last week reminded us of one our books in the collection. The documentary is I Am Not Your Negro, which brings to life the words of James Baldwin. The book is Your Negro Tour Guide: Truths in Black and White. Written by Kathy Y. Wilson, the title is based on Wilson’s exasperation with a white newsroom colleague. Sick and tired of questions about hip-hop groups, Wilson advised the colleague to get a black friend and said “I’m NOT your Negro tour guide.” And a column was born. Ms. Wilson’s collection of essay, published by Emmis Books in Cincinnati in 2004. The review in Publisher’s Weekly noted that “Wilson writes in a voice that can fairly simmer with disgust, indignation and a powerful blast of irony.”

We also want to share some images from events and the collection.

Way back when, one of the librarians at Ohioana wrote to Mr. Langston Hughes. He wrote back, alerting her to the existence of some writers that he thought she ought to know about.

We also want to share a picture of Rita Dove, who was honored by Ohioana in 2010 — The honor was all OURS, however. And to celebrate Ms. Dove a bit more, here’s a link to a recent interview that the Poetry Foundation recently published. Good stuff here. Good to read and take to heart.

We love our old books at Ohioana, not only for what’s between the covers but for the covers themselves. We love this book for the paisley print, like fabric, and for the photo of the sweet and handsome man. While Dunbar’s use of dialect in written speech has long fallen from use, we can still appreciate his intent to write with love and compassion as well as his commercial and  popular success.  As Nikki Giovanni said of Dunbar, “He wanted to be a writer, and he wrote.”

Hello World!

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Hello to our Ohioana friends and family! Hope you are doing well and taking time to read lots of great books by Ohioans, about Ohio, or both!

We’re re-animating the Ohioana blog and will provide weekly updates on all things Ohioana:

• The 2017 Book Festival
• Other Ohioana events
• Oldies but goodies from the collection
• The latest from Ohio authors
• Book-related events from around the state

There’s no shortage of topics here at Ohioana. A quick trip to the stacks or a glance at the new books provides all the fodder we need to generate ideas. For example, we’ll be honoring Black History Month as well as observing Valentine’s Day in February. Spring is just around the corner and Ohioana is well-fortified with books on plants and nature, so we’ll see what we can share with you in March. The Ohioana Book Festival is on April 8 this year, and we’ll have updates and follow-ups on the blog.

The blog also gives us a chance to give some love to our friends, like the fine folks at the Book Loft (our bookseller for 2017) and our friends at the new Gramercy Books in Bexley. We’ll also revisit the current issue of the Ohioana Quarterly just as a reminder in case you haven’t had a chance to read it.

And we want to hear from you! Want to say “hi” and tell us what’s up? Send us an e-mail at ohioana@ohioana.org.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again next week!

2016 Ohioana Book Festival Authors Announced!

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The Ohioana Book Festival is celebrating its tenth birthday, and you’re invited! Join us at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a fun-filled day with more than 120 Ohio writers (including ten featured authors), panel discussions, special activities for children and teens, a book fair, and more! The book festival offers something for every reader of every age—and it’s FREE!

For the complete list of 2016 festival authors, see our February Newsletter here.

(Author lineup is subject to change without notice.)

Ohioana Announces 2016 Book Festival Featured Authors

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The 10th anniversary Ohioana Book Festival is less than three months away! The event, which is free and open to the public, is set for Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus. More than 100 Ohio writers will be there, and we are delighted to announce the first ten, our 2016 featured authors: poet and novelist Jill Bialosky, historian Douglas Brinkley, children’s author and illustrator David Catrow, journalist and nonfiction writer Mark Dawidziak, cozy mystery writer Amanda Flower, young adult novelist Mindy McGinnis, science fiction author John Scalzi, chef and cookbook author Del Sroufe, literary novelist Leah Stewart, and children’s poet and author Jacqueline Woodson. Watch here in the coming weeks for more authors and more details. And mark your calendar now for April 23!

2016 Ohioana Book Festival Applications Due December 31

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Next spring will mark a milestone for the Ohioana Book Festival as we celebrate its TENTH Anniversary! It has grown from only ten authors and 600 attendees in its inaugural year to more than 100 authors and nearly 3,500 attendees last April.

The 2016 festival will be held Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Columbus at Capitol Square. Once again, the festival will be packed with activities that include panel discussions, children’s and teen activities, and a book fair with an on-site Barnes & Noble store.

We are accepting applications for participating authors until December 31, 2015; please click here for details and the application form. We’ll review applications in January and notify those who are selected by mid-February.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at bookfestival@ohioana.org. We hope to see you at the festival!

Children’s Book Week 2014

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Children's Book Week logo showing open book and tagline "Coast to coast, cover to cover."As Children’s Book Week draws to a close, we wanted to highlight some of the incredibly talented children’s book writers and illustrators who have called Ohio home. Although we don’t have room to list everyone here, you may want to check out the Newbery and Caldecott winners and honorees listed below. Some are classic, some are contemporary…all are great.

  • Natalie Babbitt
  • Sharon Creech
  • Allan W. Eckert
  • Virginia Hamilton
  • Walter & Marion Havighurst
  • Lois Lenski
  • Robert McCloskey
  • Evaline Ness
  • Dav Pilkey
  • Mildred D. Taylor
  • Brinton Turkle
  • Jacqueline Woodson

 

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