The 76th Ohioana Awards

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Ohioana award winners, L to R:  Marisa Silver, Douglas Brinkley, Teri Ellen Cross Davis, C.F. Payne, Tiffany McDaniel, Ohioana Executive Director David Weaver, Ashley Bethard, and Sally Derby

What a great night! Food, friends, music, awards — and BOOKS! Once again, we gathered in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse to honor the recipients of one of the oldest state literary awards in the nation. We were only missing author and speaker J.D. Vance, who had a previous engagement, but he created a wonderful video for us.

There was a surprise video visit, however, from author and Governor John Kasich, who showed his appreciation for the authors and for the literary heritage of the state.

Here are our awardees and their books:

Juvenile Literature: C.F. Payne, Miss Mary Reporting. Sponsor: Margaret
W. Wong & Associates
Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Sally Derby, Jump Back, Paul
Reader’s Choice: Tiffany McDaniel, The Summer That Melted Everything
About Ohio or an Ohioan: J.D.Vance, Hillbilly Elegy. Sponsor:
Huntington Bank
Poetry: Terry Ellen Cross, Haint. Sponsor: Ohio Arts Council/Poetry Out
Loud
Fiction: Marisa Silver, Little Nothing. Sponsor: Vorys, Sater, Seymour &
Pease LLP
Nonfiction: Douglas Brinkley, Rightful Heritage. Sponsor: Porter Wright

Thanks to all who attended and THANK YOU to our wonderful sponsors:

Awards: 

The Columbus Foundation

Huntington

Ohio Arts Council

Vorys

Event:

Honda

Porter Wright

Table Sponsors:

Crabbe Brown James

Ice Miller

Margaret W. Wong & Associates

Media Associates and In-Kind:

Ohio Channel

Ohio Magazine

90.5 WCBE

PXP Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing an evening of fun and books: The 2017 Ohioana Awards!

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Join us for one of Ohioana’s most elegant evenings: the 76th Ohioana Awards on October 6.

We’ll gather in the Statehouse Atrium on Friday, October 6,  from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and honor our writers and Ohioana’s grand tradition of recognizing some deserving and creative people.

Tickets are $50 and available for purchase. The cost includes wine and hors d’oeuvres. The Awards Ceremony is always a good time for everyone, and we hope you’ll join us!

This year’s event includes winners in seven categories:

Fiction
Marisa Silver, Little Nothing, Blue Rider Press.

Nonfiction
Douglas Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, Harper.

About Ohio or an Ohioan
J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, Harper.

Juvenile Literature
C.F. Payne (illustrator) and Sue Macy (author), Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber, Paula Wiseman Books.

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature
Sally Derby, Jump Back Paul, Candlewick.

Poetry
Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Haint: Poems, Gival Press.

Reader’s Choice
Tiffany McDaniel, The Summer That Melted Everything, St. Martin’s Press.

 

 

 

Ohioana Announces the 2017 Ohioana Awards

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The Ohioana Library has announced the winners of the 2017 Ohioana Awards, including seven book awards and the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant.

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 2017 winners are:

Fiction: Marisa Silver, Little Nothing

Nonfiction: Douglas Brinkley, Rightful Heritage – Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America

Poetry: Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Haint

About Ohio/Ohioan: J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy – A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Sally Derby, Jump Back, Paul – The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar

Juvenile Literature: C.F. Payne, Miss Mary Reporting

Reader’s Choice: Tiffany McDaniel, The Summer That Melted Everything

Six of the awards were selected by juries, while the Readers’ Choice Award was chosen by voters in an online poll.

“It was tough for judges to make a decision,” said Ohioana Executive Director David Weaver. “This year’s thirty finalists included winners of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Newbery Medal, and the Pushcart Prize; a Guggenheim Fellow; two U.S. Children’s Poet Laureates; CNN’s Presidential Historian; and five authors whose titles made either the New York Times or Amazon 2016 year-end “best” list. It was truly an outstanding year for Ohio authors and books.”

 

In addition to the book awards, Ohioana announced Ashley Bethard as the 28th winner of the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, a competitive prize for Ohio writers age 30 or younger who have not yet published a book. The grant, named for Ohioana’s second director and endowed by his family, has helped launch a number of notable literary careers, including Anthony Doerr. Doerr won the grant in 2000 at age 26 and has gone on to become one of America’s leading contemporary authors, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for All the Light We Cannot See.

The Ohioana Awards will be presented Friday, October 6, in the Atrium of Ohio’s historic Statehouse in Columbus. Tickets for event, which include a pre-awards reception, will go on sale August 25.

Amy Gustine on her short story collection, You Should Pity Us Instead

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We asked Amy Gustine, one of our Ohioana Award Fiction finalists, to provide some insight about her work. Amy, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. We appreciate your work and your support of Ohioana!

Ohioana: What inspired you to write your stories?
Amy Gustine: The collection is made up of stories written over the course of ten years, so each one has its own origin story. In general, though, I’m intrigued by the unanswered questions and the peripheral people in news stories—the things happening behind the scenes. The title story, for example, started with wondering about the experience of being married to someone like Christopher Hitchens, a very vocal, public atheist intensely critical of religion. As the story developed, obviously it wasn’t Christopher Hitchens’ actual spouse I was interested in, but rather the person I imagined in Molly, whose ambivalence sometimes clashes with her husband Simon’s unyielding certainty. I’m generally interested in morality—its source, its internal conflicts—and so that also was a natural fit for this story. The character of Adoo in the story was inspired by an article I happen to read about an uncontacted tribe of people infected by the common cold in Peru. Except for a small number of children, the tribe perished, and the children had to be placed in adoptive homes in the U.S. and Canada. As so often happens in my work, many seemingly disparate incidents or people I read or hear about come together like puzzle pieces to create something new.

Ohioana: How does a sense of place inform your work? If that place happens to be Ohio, would love your thoughts on that.
Amy Gustine: I grew up in Toledo, Ohio in a small family of introverted homebodies and I don’t have any aunts, uncles or first cousins. For me, then, place has always started at home, and setting and society were for a long time overshadowed in my imagination by intimate relationships. I’ve worked consciously to step out of the house, to look up and down the street and across town imaginatively, but even that process started with my family. My grandparents were working people. During the Depression one of grandfather’s picked up bricks for a dollar a day and was involved with the early union movement in Toledo. One of my grandmother’s was the first woman to work at a large chemical lab in town. This type of family experience fed an interest in local history, which led to stories on things like the famous 1934 Auto-Lite strike here in Toledo, a defining moment in the development of labor protections. One of my great aunts was a scab in that strike, and the rift it caused never completely healed. So relationships are always the starting point in my work, and setting follows from them. Beginning with the characters is the only way I’m able to enter the work emotionally, to attach myself enough to walk the long fictional road, but I have found that I’ve grown more sensitized over the years to the way that place creates character, the way the physical and social landscape shapes us. That’s where setting becomes interesting to me—where it impacts character.

Ohioana: Can you tell us about your writing process?
Amy Gustine: People talk about being a planner or a “pantser.” In other words, you either figure the plot and characters out ahead of time, or you start writing and see where it goes, flying by the seat of your pants. E.L. Doctorow famously split the difference, saying that writing was like driving at night in fog: you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. I’d say my process is closest to Doctorow’s, but more serpentine and loopy. I’m driving at night, in the dark, consulting a map I drew that is in fact just the roughest sketch of what I assume the landscape and roads look like. I discover the flaws in the map as I write, the forks in the road, the detours and potholes. I spy interesting stops and surprise exits, too, then I realize I forgot something at one of those stops and have to double back. In other words, I plan, then I write, then I re-plan, then I write some more, and on and on as I narrow down the project. I’m always too ambitious to begin with, and inevitably have to be content with the destination I achieve rather than the one I hoped to reach.

Ohioana: What would you like to tell us about the publishing process?
Amy Gustine: My publishing experience with Sarabande Books was uniformly wonderful. The managing editor at the time, Kirby Gann, made significant editorial suggestions about one of the eleven stories in the collection, and his comments proved very astute. The revisions made it a much better work. Each of the other stories was thoroughly, carefully line-edited, which I really appreciated. When the book came out I felt confident that it truly was the best it could be. I learned some things about promoting a book by working with Sarabande’s publicist, the fantastic Ariel Lewiton, but I would certainly be keen to know more. It’s kind of an opaque process for a writer outside the central literary world of New York City.

Ohioana: What would you tell anyone who wants to write a novel or story collection?
Amy Gustine: Read novels and stories you like two and three times. Read them first for fun, then again to spot what I call “the strings”—like a puppet in a theatre. There are so many choices when you construct something out of nothing. Point of view. Order of scenes. Which scenes to relate in detail, which to summarize. What part of the characters’ past to relate. What tone to use. How to divide up the text into chunks—sections, chapters, parts. How to label those parts, or whether to label them at all. The choices are so staggering, and each work so magically unique in its success, that the aspiring writer has a tremendous uphill learning curve. They’ll have to grab on and start learning in earnest. Part of this will be giving up a great deal of the innocent, easy pleasure of letting a great author chauffer you around town without paying attention to the route.

Ohioana: What are you currently working on?
Amy Gustine: I’m writing a novel about a real person—a politically and cultural important woman with a complex, controversial legacy. The novel spans a lot of time, involves a lot of hot-button issues, and features a lot of major historical events, so the road is long, curvy, bumpy, and I don’t have a great map. It feels less like driving and more like crawling on my knees.

Ohioana: Any inspirational quotes from other writers that you enjoy?
Amy Gustine: I got that last one from Vladimir Holan. “From the sketch to the work one travels on one’s knees.”

One of my favorites is Ernest Hemingway’s dictum: “The first draft of anything is shit.” That might sound depressing, but it’s just the opposite for me. The idea that I have to write something good today is paralyzing. It’s especially terrifying during the first draft of a long project. When I think of Hemingway’s words, I think okay, so I’m going to write a piece of shit today. Tomorrow I’ll worry about trying to polish a turd into a golden nugget. That gets SOMETHING on the page to work with, and something is always infinitely better than nothing.

A couple of other helpers I cling to include:

“When you get stuck, go back to the physical world.”
–Ron Carlson

“Write simple sentences. Report. Don’t moralize. No pretensions.”
–Gail Godwin

It’s YOUR turn!!

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Calling all readers! Earlier this week, Ohioana launched our second annual Readers’ Choice Award online poll – and we want to hear from you! Created last year in celebration of the Ohioana Awards’ 75th anniversary, the poll invites readers to choose their favorite book from among the thirty award finalists selected by our judges (our inaugural winner: Mary Doria Russell, for Epitaph).

Voting is open until Monday, July 3, at noon. We will announce the favorite in each of the award categories, but only ONE book – the one receiving the most votes overall – will win the prize! What will it be: a collection of poems – or a novel? A children’s picture book – or a biography? YOU decide!

So play your part in this year’s Ohioana Book Awards celebration! Go online and vote today (only one vote per computer).

Tiffany McDaniel: The Summer That Melted Everything

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In recognition of the five finalists in fiction for the Ohioana Book Award, we’re featuring a question and answer with each author over the next few weeks.

This week’s post features Tiffany McDaniel. Tiffany  is an Ohio native whose writing is inspired by the rolling hills and buckeye woods of the land she knows. A poet and artist, she is the winner of The Guardian’s 2016 “Not-the-Booker Prize” for her debut novel, The Summer that Melted Everything. The novel was also a Goodreads Choice Award double nominee in both fiction and debut categories, is a current nominee for the Lillian Smith Book Award, and has recently been announced as a finalist for the Ohioana Literary Award and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award for Outstanding Debut.

Ohioana: What inspired you to write your novel?

Tiffany McDaniel: The Summer that Melted Everything started as a title.  It was one of those hot Ohio summers that I felt like I was melting to a puddle on the green grass and dandelion ground.  A little arranging of words and the title was born.  I always say what inspires me are the characters.  I’m inspired by their very presence, to do right by them and to write their truths to the best of my ability.

O: How does a sense of place inform your work? If that place happens to be Ohio, would love your thoughts on that.

TMcD: I have eight completed novels (yet to be published) and so far they’ve all taken place in Breathed, Ohio, a fictional town based on my childhood summers and school-year weekends I spent on the hilly acreage my father was left by his parents.  The acreage is in the southeastern portion of Ohio, in the foothills of the Appalachians where the nights are mythical and starred while the hills sing you to sleep.  It is a landscape that has shaped me as an author.  I always say cut me open and fireflies will fly out of me in a moonshine madness.

O: Can you tell us about your writing process?

TMcD: I never outline. I think planning a story too much can domesticate it, and I like to preserve the story’s wild soul so it can beat on with the thunder.  I like for the story to evolve with each new word and page that I write.  It’s like turning on a faucet.  Sometimes you only have a drop of water.  Others times you have a flood.  The thing about writing is that you just have to be present and ready with a big ol’ bowl to catch whatever comes out of that big ol’ faucet.

O: What would you like to tell us about the publishing process?

TMcD: While The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel, it’s actually my fifth or sixth novel written.  I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen and wouldn’t get a publishing contract until I was twenty-nine for The Summer that Melted Everything.  For me, it was a long eleven-year journey full of lots of rejection and perseverance.  I was told my writing was too dark and too risky.  For the most part, publishing has been an uphill battle, but the struggle has made me the author I am today.  An author who knows the value of determination and the value of each and every reader.

O: What would you tell anyone who wants to write a novel?

TMcD: To never give up.  Like I said, it took me eleven years to get a publisher.  If you’re really serious about being a published author, be willing to put in the hard work and have plenty of patience should it come to that.  The biggest thing is to never get discouraged.  Don’t let rejection destroy you.  Let it empower you.

O: What are you currently working on?

TMcD: I’ve returned to that very first novel I wrote when I was eighteen.  It’s inspired by my mother’s coming-of-age in southern Ohio from the 1950s to the early 1970s.  It feels like a good time to return to this story and to these characters.

O: Any inspirational quotes from other writers that you enjoy?

“Don’t talk about it; write.” Ray Bradbury, author of Dandelion Wine, one of my favorite books

“If you don’t like my peaches, don’t shake my tree.”-Shirley Jackson, author of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, another favorite book of mine.

My last quote isn’t from the author speaking outside of a work, but rather from a poet speaking within his work.  From Ohio poet James Wright.  From his poem, “To a Blossoming Pear Tree”:

“For if you could only listen,
I would tell you something,
Something human.”

It’s a beautiful quote because something human is the best thing we can hope to tell each other.

Ohioana Library Announces 2017 Book Award Finalists.

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The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 Ohioana Book Awards. First given in 1942, the awards are the second oldest state literary prizes in the nation and honor outstanding achievement 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.

This year’s finalists include such notable names as Douglas Brinkley, Martha Collins, Sharon Creech, J. Patrick Lewis, Loren Long, Candice Millard, Donald Ray Pollock, Julie Salamon, J.D. Vance, and Jacqueline Woodson. Six authors are finalists for their debut books, while nine are past Ohioana Award winners.

Ohioana will profile all the finalists in the coming weeks. Beginning Monday, May 23, it will present “30 Books, 30 Days,” a special feature on its Facebook page in which one finalist is highlighted each weekday thru Friday, June 30.

Winners will be announced in July, and the 2017 Ohioana Book Awards presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Friday, October 6.

 

Fiction

Poetry

Juvenile Literature

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature

Nonfiction

About Ohio/Ohioan

 

Toni Morrison and the Nobel Prize

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Today we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize in Literature!

Unlike other literature prizes that are awarded for a specific book, the Nobel Prize in Literature is awarded for a body of work. When Morrison won the award in 1993, she had published six novels: The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987) and Jazz (1992). All six books are part of Ohioana’s collection, and some of our copies are signed by the author:

TMorrisonSig

Morrison, who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, is the last American to win the Literature prize. To learn more about the Nobel Prize, other Literature winners, and Morrison’s award, visit www.nobelprize.org.