Ohio Author Profiles
Ohio has a rich literary heritage as well as some wonderful contemporary authors. Learn more about them here! You can sort by various categories and see who has participated in our annual book festival by using the category search on the left, or search by keyword (including partial author names) by using the search field on the right.
If you would like to know which Ohio authors and illustrators are available for school and library visits or workshops, visit our School & Library Visits page here.
We continue to add authors, so check back soon!
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David S. FitzSimmons
David FitzSimmons is an award-winning free-lance photographer and writer. His nonfiction picture books have won twelve national book awards, including an IBPA Best Picture Book award in 2016. His Curious Critters children’s picture books have sold over 100,000 copies. A life-long educator, David has taught on all grade levels and now frequently visits schools to talk about connecting children and nature.
Charlene Fix is the author of several books and chapbooks of poems: Taking a Walk in My Animal Hat (Bottom Dog Press, 2018), Frankenstein’s Flowers (CW Books 2014), Flowering Bruno (XOXOX Press 2006), Mischief (Pudding House Press 2003), Charlene Fix: Greatest Hits (Kattywompus Press 2012), and a prose homage: Harpo Marx as Trickster (film studies, McFarland 2013). Charlene won The Louis Hammer Memorial Award in 2011 and the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award in 2007 from the Poetry Society of America as well as poetry grants in poetry from the Ohio Arts Council and The Greater Columbus Arts Council. Her poems have appeared in various literary magazines including Poetry, Literary Imagination, Hotel Amerika, Forklift Ohio, The Cincinnati Review, Rattle, and The Journal, as well as some anthologies including The Ides of March (Columbus Creative Cooperative) and The Poet’s Quest For God: 21st Century Poems of Faith, Doubt, and Wonder (Eyewear Publishing). Charlene co-coordinates Hospital Poets (The Ohio State University’s Medicine and the Arts) and workshops and performs with House of Toast Poets. She is an Emeritus Professor of English at Columbus College of Art and Design.
Erin Flanagan’s next novel, Blackout, is forthcoming in fall 2022 with Thomas & Mercer. She is the author of the novel Deer Season and two short story collections–The Usual Mistakes and It’s Not Going to Kill You and Other Stories–all published by The University of Nebraska Press in their Flyover Fiction series. She contributes regular book reviews to Publishers Weekly and other venues, and is an English professor at Wright State University.
Julie Flanders is an academic librarian by day and a writer the rest of the time. She is also an animal lover and has written features about pets and the importance of animal rescue for media outlets such as Best Friends Animal Society and Cat Fancy. Julie is a television addict, an avid walker, and an obsessive fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Although a lifelong Ohio resident, Julie nevertheless has an ongoing love affair with the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Julie’s novels include the paranormal thrillers Polar Night and Polar Day as well as the historical love story The Ghosts of Aquinnah. She is also the author of the horror novella The Turnagain Arm, and her horror short story “Cardinal Sin” is part of the Mayhem in the Air anthology. Julie is a history buff who loves incorporating history into her stories, which she calls “mysteries untethered by time.” For more about Julie and her books, go to julieflanders.net
Deborah Fleming’s research interests include Anglo-Irish literature, environmental studies, and modern poetry, especially the work of William Butler Yeats, Robinson Jeffers, and Eamon Grennan. After earning her PhD in English at Ohio State University in 1985, she published “A man who does not exist”: The Irish Peasant in the Work of W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge with the University of Michigan Press and articles on Yeats, Jeffers, Grennan, Orwell, and Aldo Leopold. In 2015 she published Towers of Myth and Stone: Yeats’s Influence on Robinson Jeffers with the University of South Carolina Press. She has edited two collections of essays published by Locust Hill Press, Learning the Trade: W. B. Yeats and Contemporary Poetry and W. B. Yeats and Postcolonialism. She has published two collections of poetry, Morning, Winter Solstice (Vineyard, 2012) and Into a New Country (Cherry Grove, 2016) and two chapbooks by Finishing Line Press, Migrations (2005) and Source of the River (2018). In 2014 she published a novel, Without Leave (Black Mountain Press), winner of the Asheville Award, and in 2019 a collection of environmental essays, Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio’s Natural Landscape with Kent State University Press. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Council of Learned Societies. Three of her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Currently she is Editor and Director of the Ashland Poetry Press.
Amanda Flower, a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over twenty cozy mystery novels, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. In addition to being an author, Amanda has been a librarian for fifteen years and is starting an organic farm of her very own with her family in Northeast Ohio.
Lynette (Lyn) Ford shares “Home-Fried Tales,” adaptations of folktales “from many places and many faces,” as well as her own original stories and personal narratives. Lyn’s rhythmic, interactive storytelling style encourages language and literacy skills, creative writing, and an appreciation for the oral tradition among all types of learners. Lyn’s storytelling is rooted in her family’s multicultural Affrilachian oral traditions, her research and interest in heritage and folklore, and her own love of stories.
Lyn’s work has been publicized on the PTO Today web site, and in Columbus Monthly and Columbus Parents magazines. Lyn has written for Storytelling Magazine, a national publication; her work is also included in story anthologies and resources for educators, including: the award winning The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum, Literacy in the Storytelling Classroom (both from Libraries Unlimited), and Social Studies in the Storytelling Classroom (Parkhurst Brothers, Inc.); Sayin’ Somethin’: Stories from the National Association of Black Storytellers (National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc.); The August House Book of Scary Stories (August House), and its accompanying enrichment guide for teachers, and the 2011 publication Storytelling and QAR Strategies (Libraries Unlimited). Lyn’s CD, When the Gourd Broke, won a 2009 NAPPA Honors Award.
Lyn is also a Thurber House mentor to young writers. In 2012, Lyn was among the first 30 teaching artists from across the country to participate in professional-development sessions on the arts and Common Core State Standards at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Lyn’s participation as an Ohio Teaching Artist in The Ohio State-Based Collaborative Initiative of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has provided additional opportunities for Lyn to share professional development workshops for educators and other mentors, in interactive sessions pertinent to benchmarks of academic content standards and diverse ways of learning. Lyn makes connections between the oral tradition and core reading and writing skills, in conjunction with the 21st Century Learning Skills:
- Collaboration and teamwork
- Creativity and imagination
- Critical thinking
- Problem solving
In the summer of 2007, Lyn received an Oracle Award for Leadership and Service from the National Storytelling Network. Lyn received a 2008 Friend of Education Award from Reynoldsburg public schools, for her ongoing contribution of creative learning and enrichment experiences as Herbert Mills Elementary School’s storyteller in residence. In 2012, Lyn was inducted into the National Association of Black Storytellers’ Circle of Elders. In 2013, Lyn received the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence award, for her continuing efforts and achievements in storytelling. In 2016, Lyn was recognized by the National Storytelling Network’s Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance (YES) for her past work as co-chairperson, advisor, and special projects chairperson.
For more than 25 years, Lyn has provided stories for public libraries’ summer reading programs, keynote and closing presentations, and workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and storytelling conferences and festivals. Lyn has appeared at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and presented workshops for the National Storytelling Conference. Lyn has also been a storyteller-in-residence at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. Lyn was named the winner of the Liars’ Contest (for tall tales, not lies!) at the 2005 National Association of Black Storytellers Conference and Festival; she has also shared stories and workshops at the TalkStory Festival in Hawaii, and at other national gatherings, including the St. Louis Storytelling Festival, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah, the Eugene (Oregon) Multicultural Festival, the Northlands Storytelling Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, the Cape Clear Storytelling Festival in Ireland (with a return visit in Fall 2018), and the 2018 Sydney International Storytelling Conference in Australia. Since 2016, Lyn has been a keynote speaker or workshop facilitator for the Transformative Language Arts Network’s (Goddard College) Power of Words Conference; Lyn has also offered writing sessions through the Transformative Language Arts Network’s online classes, and spoken/written word sessions through the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina.
Lyn’s first publication as an individual author, 2012’s Affrilachian Tales: Folktales from the African-American Appalachian Tradition, has received a 2013 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award, and a 2013 Storytelling World Resources Award. The book is a compilation of stories from Lyn’s childhood memories, enriched with information on Affrilachian culture, and published by Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. Lyn’s second collection of Affrilachian folktales and family folkways, Beyond the Briar Patch: Affrilachian Folktales, Food and Folklore, received the 2015 Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award. Both books, as well as Lyn’s collection of original, creepy twists on folk and fairytales, Hot Wind, Boiling Rain (which includes variants, resources, and creative writing exercises for older students and adults) are available from Parkhurst Brothers, Inc. through its website at http://www.parkhurstbrothers.com, Amazon.com, and other book merchants. 2017 saw the publication of a book co-authored with friend and fellow storyteller/teaching artist Sherry Norfolk: Boo-Tickle Tales: Not-So-Scary Stories for Ages 4-9, by Parkhurst Brothers. Lyn and Sherry are also proud of three recent or in-the-works publications: Storytelling Strategies for Reaching and Teaching Children with Special Needs (2017, ABC-CLIO); Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Story: Authentic Folktales and Discussion Guides (2020, ABC-CLIO), and Speak Peace: Words of Wisdom, Work, and Wonder, from Parkhurst Brothers Publishing (Fall, 2019).
Lyn is currently a member/committee member of the following organizations: The Storytellers of Central Ohio and their community outreach committee, Columbus Story Adventures; The Ohio Storytelling Network; the Northlands Storytelling Network; The National Association of Black Storytellers; The National Storytelling Network, and the Transformative Language Arts Network (a partnership with Goddard College).
Lyn’s work has also branched out even further. Lyn is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher, sharing pre- and post-test relaxation techniques, workshops, keynotes, and icebreakers that incorporate both story and laughter exercises. Lyn is also a member of the Writers Council of the National Writing Project, which is comprised of writers who “want to bring greater attention to the importance of writing and the work of NWP…Writers Council members share NWP’s belief that writing is vital to thinking, creating, communicating, and participating in the world.” (quoted from the NWP website).
Jeffrey Ford (well-builtcity.com) was born on Long Island in New York State in 1955 and grew up in the town of West Islip. He studied fiction writing with John Gardner at S.U.N.Y Binghamton and has been a college English teacher of writing and literature for thirty years. He is the author of eight novels including The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass, The Shadow Year, and the forthcoming Ahab’s Return: or, The Last Voyage. His short story collections include The Empire of Ice Cream, The Drowned Life, and A Natural History of Hell. Ford’s short fiction has appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies such as The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Conjunctions, and The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Both books and stories have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Ford is the recipient of the Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson Award, Hayakawa, World Fantasy, Nebula, and Gran Prix de l’Imaginaire awards. He lives in Ohio in a hundred and twenty year old farm house surrounded by corn and soybean fields and teaches part time at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Lori Foster, a popular and prolific author, Foster has produced more than seventy novels since her first book was published in 1996. She writes romantic novels as Lori Foster, and in recent years has also branched out into the genre of urban fantasy under the name L.L. Foster. Her 2008 book Hard to Handle reached #2 on the New York Times best-seller list. Foster lives in West Chester, Ohio. Visit her website, http://lorifoster.com/.
Jessica is an experienced science educator and an award-winning author of books for students and teachers. Her teaching career began as a middle school math and science teacher in Memphis, TN through the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education program. She also taught in Anchorage, AK at the middle school and elementary levels. Additionally, she spent five years in the College of Education and Human Ecology, School of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University where she directed NSF-funded projects and provided professional development for elementary and middle school teachers. She is currently the Director of Studies and Lower School Science Specialist at the Columbus School for Girls in Columbus, OH.