Ohioana Announces 2020 Book Award Finalists

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A scene from the 2016 Ohioana Awards ceremony (Photo by Mary Rathke)

The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020 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 and illustrators in five categories: Fiction, Poetry, Juvenile Literature, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Nonfiction. The sixth category, About Ohio or an 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 Pulitzer Prize, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Edgar Award, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. One author is a finalist for her debut book. Five are past Ohioana Book Award winners, and two received Ohioana’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant early in their writing careers.

Beginning June 15, Ohioana will profile all the finalists with the return of “30 Books, 30 Days,” a special feature on our social media in which one finalist is highlighted each day.

Later in June, Ohioana will launch its fifth Readers’ Choice Award poll, allowing the public to vote online for their favorite book from the finalists.

Winners will be announced in July, and the 2020 Ohioana Book Awards will be presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Thursday, October 15. The finalists are:

Fiction

DiFrancesco, Alex. All City, Seven Stories Press.

Hurley, Kameron. The Light Brigade, Gallery/Saga Press.

Montgomery, Jess. The Widows, Minotaur Books.

Scibona, Salvatore. The Volunteer, Penguin Press.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Red at the Bone, Riverhead Books.

Nonfiction

Abdurraqib, Hanif. Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest, University of Texas Press.

Brinkley, Douglas. American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, Harper.

Kaufman, Kenn. Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Salamon, Julie. An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer, Little, Brown and Company.

Vanasco, Jeannie. Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl, Tin House Books.

About Ohio or an Ohioan

Abbott, Karen. The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America, Broadway Books.

Brouwer, Sigmund. Moon Mission, Kids Can Press.

Grunenwald, Jill. Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian, Skyhorse Publishing.

McCullough, David. The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West, Simon & Schuster.

Ruffner, Howard. Moments of Truth: A Photographer’s Experience of Kent State 1970, Kent State University Press.

Poetry

Abdurraqib, Hanif. A Fortune for Your Disaster, Tin House Books.

Atkins, Russell. World’d Too Much: The Selected Poetry of Russell Atkins, edited by Kevin Prufer and Robert E. McDonough, Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

Selcer, Anne Lesley. Sun Cycle, Cleveland State University Poetry Center.

Townsend, Ann. Dear Delinquent, Sarabande Books.

Weigl, Bruce. On the Shores of Welcome Home, BOA Editions.

Juvenile Literature

Guidroz, Rukhsanna. Illus. by Dinara Mirtalipova. Leila in Saffron, Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Hoefler, Kate. Illus. by Sarah Jacoby. Rabbit and the Motorbike, Chronicle Books.

Houts, Michelle. Illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Sea Glass Summer, Candlewick.

Mora, Oge. Saturday, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Salas, Laura Purdie. Illus. by Angela Matteson. In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House, Wordsong.

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature

Daigneau, Jean. Code Cracking for Kids: Secret Communication Throughout History, with 21 Codes and Ciphers, Chicago Review Press.

Davis, Ronni. When the Stars Lead to You, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

McGinnis, Mindy. Heroine, Katherine Tegen Books.

Takei, George, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, Illus. by Harmony Becker. They Called Us Enemy, Top Shelf Productions.

Warga, Jasmine. Other Words for Home, Balzer + Bray.