Presenting the winners of the 2020 Ohioana Awards


It’s that time of year again! The Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Ohioana Awards. Each year, juried awards are given to books in six categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, About Ohio/Ohioan, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Juvenile Literature. Fans have the opportunity to make their voices heard by selecting the Readers’ Choice Book Award from among all thirty finalists in an online poll. Finally, we present a special prize for emerging writers, the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant.

Ohioana Book Awards

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 78 years has been honored, from James Thurber to Toni Morrison.

Six of the Ohioana Award winners, as well as the Marvin Grant recipient, were selected by juries. The Readers’ Choice Award was determined by voters in a public online poll. Nearly 3,000 votes were cast for this year’s Readers’ Choice Award.

Listed below are the 2020 Ohioana Book Award winners. Click on the title to learn more about the author and their winning book.

Fiction: Salvatore Scibona, The Volunteer

Nonfiction: Jeannie Vanasco, Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl

About Ohio or an Ohioan: David McCullough, The Pioneers

Poetry: Hanif Abdurraqib, A Fortune for Your Disaster

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Jasmine Warga, Other Words for Home

Juvenile Literature: Oge Mora, Saturday

Readers’ Choice: Kenn Kaufman, A Season on the Wind

Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant

Named for Ohioana’s second director, the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant is awarded to an Ohio writer age 30 or younger who has not yet published a book. The 2020 Marvin Grant winner is Brendan Curtinrich. A native of Geauga County in northeast Ohio, Brendan studied creative writing at Hiram College and holds an M.F.A. in creative writing and environment from Iowa State University. He has served as a nonfiction editor at Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment and is currently a contributing editor at Split Rock Review. A triple-crown backpacker, he writes primarily about ecological issues, particularly the ways human animals affect and are affected by the world around them. His work is published or forthcoming in Trail Runner magazine, Appalachia, Gigantic Sequins, Sierra, and Footnote.

Information and rules of eligibility for the Ohioana Book Awards and the Marvin Grant can be found via the links below.