We can all use a little more poetry in our lives … maybe a LOT more poetry.
And since we want everyone who reads the Ohioana Quarterly to become familiar with our Ohio poets, we want more poetry reviews.
We’ve been thinking about how to get more of those reviews into the OQ, so we’re taking a moment here in the Ohioana blog to provide a few resources to writers who maybe already review as well those who want to. These are interesting articles as well, and provide good insights.
From the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine: “100 Years of Poetry: Re-Reading Reviews” by Joel Brouwer. From the article: “What should a book review do? Analyze, empathize? Compare, contrast? Historicize, contextualize? Defend, demolish? When I started reviewing poetry, I had no idea. I flailed away blindly at each assignment until, somehow, I knocked it out.”
There’s plenty of good ideas here for poets who would like to see their books reviewed as well as hone the craft of writing poetry. By spending time evaluating the work of others, you get a lesson on improving your own work. You also support other poets by giving their work thoughtful consideration.
Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, an inspiring day of generosity across the globe. We hope you’ll support your favorite nonprofit organizations, including the Ohioana Library Association.
Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2019, Ohioana connects thousands of readers with Ohio writers through programs including the Ohioana Book Festival, the Ohioana Awards, and the Ohioana Quarterly, and promotes our state as one of America’s great literary centers.
For #GivingTuesday, we are partnering once again with The Columbus Foundation to help you give AND receive! On #GivingTuesday, when you give to Ohioana and one or more other nonprofits through the Foundation’s Giving Store, you’ll receive a $20 Charitable Gift Card as part of the “Give Two on #GivingTuesday” promotion. Redeemable at any of the 1,000+ nonprofits in The Giving Store, these gift cards make excellent presents or stocking stuffers, and are a wonderful way to keep the good going this holiday season.
2018 has been a banner year for the Ohioana Library Association. To our supporters, partners, patrons, friends, volunteers, board, staff, and fans, we cannot thank you enough for continuing to support Ohioana year after year.
As we head into Ohioana’s 90th Anniversary year, we hope to continue to bring together Ohio readers and writers with the Ohioana Quarterly, events such as the Ohioana Book Festival in April, and much more. Watch this space for many exciting announcements to come in 2019!
Happy Thanksgiving from Ohioana and Cleveland native Dav Pilkey, author of the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, read on YouTube by KK!
Happy Halloween! Here in Ohio, we enjoy all things spooky. Did you know that Ohio is the state with the most annual haunted house attractions, with 111 in total? It seems that we love being scared, and that goes for our literature as well. If you’re looking for a good book to scare you on Halloween night, look no further. Below is a list of Ohio authors that specialize in stories about the dark and creepy to satisfy your need for thrills and scares.
R. L. Stine
Few scary series are more iconic (or more chilling) than R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps. With over 230 books geared at grades 3-7, the Goosebumps series has something to scare everyone. Stine explores tales about everything from ghosts and werewolves to swamp monsters and mummies, and the books have even been adapted into a movie series.
Watch below to see R. L. Stine himself discussing the legacy of Goosebumps.
2. Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison was a master of sci-fi and speculative fiction, sometimes crossing into horror as well. He is the author of more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts, and our library specialist recommends that you start with the short story “I Have No Mouth but I Must Scream”.
3. James A. Willis
If you’re looking for strange and spooky stories based on Ohio fact, James Willis probably has a book for you! He is the author of The Big Book of Ohio Ghost Stories and Ohio’s Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State, among others. History and the paranormal mingle in Willis’s work, and are sure to prove fascinating to anyone familiar with some of Ohio’s notorious haunts.
4. Chris Woodyard
Since 1991, Chris Woodyard has been scaring residents of the Buckeye State with frightening stories that hit close to home. Make sure to explore her website, hauntedohiobooks.com, for tips on where to find ghosts in Ohio, how to write ghost stories of your own, and more.
5. Gary Braunbeck
Gary A. Braunbeck is a prolific author who writes mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mainstream literature. He is the author of 19 books and his fiction has received several awards, including the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction in 2003 for “Duty” and in 2005 for “We Now Pause for Station Identification”; his collection Destinations Unknown won a Stoker in 2006. His novella “Kiss of the Mudman” received the International Horror Guild Award for Long Fiction in 2005.
6. Lucy Snyder
Lucy A. Snyder is a five-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author, which should clue you in that she knows her stuff when it comes to scary stories! She wrote the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, and Switchblade Goddess, and the collections While the Black Stars Burn, Soft Apocalypses, Orchid Carousals, Sparks and Shadows and Chimeric Machines. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Apex Magazine, Nightmare Magazine, Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Weird Tales, Scary Out There, Seize the Night, and Best Horror of the Year.
7. Tim Waggoner
Shirley Jackson Award finalist Tim Waggoner has published over thirty novels and three short story collections of dark fiction. Most recently published is The Mouth of the Dark, the story of Jayce and his 20-year-old daughter, Emory, who is missing, lost in a dark, dangerous realm called Shadow that exists alongside our own reality. An enigmatic woman named Nicola guides Jayce through this bizarre world, and together they search for Emory, facing deadly dog-eaters, crazed killers, and — worst of all — a monstrous being known as the Harvest Man. But no matter what Shadow throws at him, Jayce won’t stop. He’ll do whatever it takes to find his daughter, even if it means becoming a worse monster than the things that are trying to stop him.
8. Laura Bickle
Laura Bickle specializes in dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs. She writes for adults and young adults, and her work has been included in the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project 2013 reading list and the State Library of Ohio’s Choose to Read Ohio reading list for 2015-2016.
9. Josef Matulich
These aren’t your typical horror stories! Josef Matulich is a master of both laughs and scares, combing humor with horror. Some of his titles include The Ren Faire at the End of the World and 44 Lies by 22 Liars.
10. Dayna Ingram
Dayna Ingram writes science fiction horror for young adults. Of her latest book, Kirkus reviews writes, “”Ingram gives a nightmarish twist to the familiar YA formula of teenagers facing martyrdom by an oppressive society…. An absorbing and poignant YA dystopian fantasy with a convincing heroine.”
Are you an author who was born in Ohio or has lived in Ohio for five or more years? Have you published a book in the last year? Then fill out an application to attend the 2019 Ohioana Book Festival – and hurry, the deadline is coming up on November 15th!
The Ohioana Book Festival is an annual celebration of literature, featuring all authors with Ohio connections. Authors of all genres for all age levels are welcome, from picture books to nonfiction. The 2019 Festival happens to be a very special occasion, as we will be holding it for the first time at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library in Downtown Columbus. Our new space will allow us to be bigger and better than ever!
At the Festival, you’ll be able to sell your new book, as well as up to four older titles if you’d like to. You will be able to interact with readers, as well as other Ohio authors. In addition, you may be able to tap into your expertise by participating in a panel or children’s room program.
The 2019 Ohioana Book Festival is taking place on April 27th, 2019 from 10am-4:30pm. You can find out more about applying on our application page or if you think you’re ready to apply, go ahead and download and fill out the application here. We hope to see you at the Festival!
It’s nearly here! Tomorrow night is the 77th Annual Ohioana Award ceremony, to be held at the Ohio Statehouse. This year’s crop of winners joins a prestigious club that includes such notable authors as Mary Doria Russell, Wil Haygood, Paula McClain, Toni Morrison, and Anthony Doerr.
The Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest, and among the most prestigious, state literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every notable Ohio writer of the past 77 years has been honored.
The first Ohioana Book Award, presented in 1942, was given in the category of nonfiction to James Reston’s Prelude to Victory.
Awards for juvenile literature and fiction were first presented in 1943, followed in 1944 by poetry and book about Ohio/an Ohioan, and in 2014, middle grade/young adult literature. To these juried awards, we added a Readers’ Choice Award in 2016, allowing readers to choose their favorite book from among the finalists selected by judges.
The 2018 honorees are:
Fiction: Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere Nonfiction: Deanne Stillman, Blood Brothers Poetry: Ruth Awad, Set to Music a Wildfire About Ohio or an Ohioan: Brian Alexander, Glass House Middle Grade / Young Adult: Tamara Bundy, Walking with Miss Millie Juvenile Literature: Sally Derby, A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices Reader’s Choice: Tamara Bundy, Walking with Miss Millie
Additionally, at the Ohioana Award ceremony, we also present the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, which is awarded annually to a writer under the age of 30 who has not yet published a book. This year’s winner is Christopher Alexander Gellert. He joins the likes of Jeannie Vanasco, Ellis Avery, Anthony Doerr, Shari Goldhagen, Bernard Farai Matambo, Sarah Menkedick, and many more writers who have gone on to publish award-winning books.
Congratulations to all of our winners! For more information about them, see the Fall issue of the Ohioana Quarterly. To learn more about previous winners of the Ohioana Awards, click here, and to watch previous ceremonies click here.
Have you ever wanted to tell everyone about a book that you really, really like? Maybe the book hasn’t gotten enough attention. Maybe the book’s Ohio connection isn’t very well known and you’d like to fix that.
Now’s your chance to spread the word: become a reviewer for the Ohioana Quarterly and let the world know about great books!
The OQ has been around since 1958, and was created to promote Ohio authors and books. Today, the publication is found in homes and libraries across the state. Each issue has unique features and interviews, a list of books received, literary goings-on around the state, and reviews of new books received by the library.
We are always on the lookout for thoughtful reviews to support our authors, and we pay in love as well as in a book and a contributor’s copy.
Would you like to help? You can learn more about writing reviews here.
You’re also always welcome to write to the editor, who can be reached at editor@Ohioana.org.
It’s Banned Books Week! BBW is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Though there are no Ohio-related books this year, there have been several included many times in the past. Some of them may surprise you!
Among the most frequently banned or challenged books in America are titles by celebrated, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, who was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. Her novels Beloved, Song of Solomon, and The Bluest Eye are multi-award winning stories about people of color; in particular, women of color. The American Library Association has pointed out the overwhelming tendency to ban books by writers of color; in 2016, the spotlight week was specifically shone on these writers in an attempt to “celebrate literature written by diverse writers that have been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.”
Morrison’s books are frequently singled out for sexual content and violence without considering the context. The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is an unflinching look at racism and domestic violence. Encouraging students to read this book, and other controversial literature, encourages them to start a dialogue about subjects which are too often ignored. In this era of movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo and the current political climate, The Bluest Eye is just one book that may foster students’ critical thinking skills. Morrison herself, when she accepted her Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, spoke of “Laureates yet to come,” those readers who confront hard-to-tell stories head on, and may grow up to change the world, and tell their own world-changing stories.
“Their voices bespeak civilizations gone and yet to be; the precipice from which their imaginations gaze will rivet us; they do not blink nor turn away.”
Another controversial Ohio author is Dav Pilkey, whose Captain Underpants books are beloved by millions of kids worldwide. He created this video in 2014 to express his feelings on banned books.
Captain Underpants has been banned frequently from schools, even reaching the #1 spot on ALA’s annual banned books list in 2012. Pilkey himself pointed out that his books “contain no sex, no profanity, no nudity, no drugs, and no graphic violence (at least nothing you wouldn’t see in a 1950’s Superman comic book).” So why are they banned so often? Pilkey thinks it’s a snap judgment based on the cover and title, and the penchant towards directing children to “real literature” rather than comics, despite the recognition in recent years of graphic novels as award-winning books of art and literature.
“My goal with Captain Underpants is to make kids laugh and to give children (and especially reluctant readers) a positive experience with reading at a crucial time in their development (ages 7 to 10). Children in this age group who hate to read are in great danger of becoming functionally illiterate adults. So when a child connects to a book — even if it’s a book that we as adults might not care for — it’s a BIG DEAL!”
Coming in at #94 on the list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2009 was the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. Stine grew up in Bexley, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. He began his career by writing humor books for children and created the humor magazine Bananas. Stine wrote his first horror novel for young people in 1986. He went on to create the Fear Street series in 1989 and Goosebumps in 1992. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and the Goosebumps series has been translated into 32 languages. Like Captain Underpants, it also inspired a film, with a sequel coming this October. Stine created an endowment fund for creative writing in his hometown of Bexley, received the Ohioana Career Award in 1999, and was a featured author at the 2009 Ohioana Book Festival.
Goosebumps has been banned because parents feel they are too frightening, or that they contain “satanic” or “occult” themes. With titles like It Came From Beneath the Sink! and Go Eat Worms! it seems odd that these complaints are taken seriously. Indeed, Stine says that he considers the banning of his books to be a point of pride.
“It is a badge of honor to have people try to ban your books from schools and school libraries, only because it means your books have become popular and are being noticed. Unpopular books seldom get banned. I’ve never noticed any kind of sales decrease because of these censorship campaigns. Usually they prove to be good publicity.”
Ultimately, Banned Books Week is a celebration of the freedom to read. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship. For more information on Banned Books Week, previous lists of banned/challenged books, and other ways you can celebrate the freedom to read, visit the Banned Books Week website.
Although autumn doesn’t officially start until September 22nd, it certainly already feels as if the seasons have changed. The chilly, rainy weather of this past week might bring to mind thoughts of changing leaves, pumpkin pie and shorter days. Here at Ohioana, it also reminds us of the myriad of literary events that happen around the state during the autumn. Whether you’re looking to hear your favorite author speak about their work, get a book signed, or buy something new to read, there should be something to satisfy you in the coming months. Check out our list below for some literary events around Ohio this fall that you shouldn’t miss.
Cleveland Public Poetry: Featuring Maxwell Shell
When: September 15th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Where: Literature Department, Main Library, 325 Superior Ave., 2nd FL
What: “Ohio Center for the Book and Cleveland Public Library invite you to celebrate the changing of the season amidst the readings of written and spoken-word poetry, with our special guest reader poet MaxWell Shell. After a brief Q&A, the mic will open for others to read an original or favorite work. Free refreshments and snacks provided. Door prizes, too!”
What: “In partnership with Columbus City Schools, Gramercy Books welcomes award-winning author and journalist, Wil Haygood, to Columbus East High School for his national book tour launch of Tigerland:1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing. Haygood will share the story of Columbus’ own East High School Tigers, who won baseball and basketball state championships in the midst of the racial turbulence and segregation of the late 1960s, and how they inspired a community.”
Admission: Free, but tickets must be reserved through Eventbrite
Where: Schottenstein Theatre at Bexley High School
326 South Cassingham Road
Bexley , OH 43229
What: “Join us in welcoming Columbus’ own, Wil Haygood, for a special afternoon featuring his new book, Tigerland:1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing, an emotional, inspiring story of two teams from a poor, black, segregated high school in Columbus, who, in the midst of the racial turbulence of 1968/1969, win the Ohio state baseball and basketball championships in the same year. This program, to include an author talk, reading and book signing, is presented in partnership with Bexley Public Library.”
What: “Wil Haygood, Pulitzer-nominated journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Butler and Showdown will be discussing his new book, Tigerland: 1968-1969: A City Divided, a Nation Torn Apart, and a Magical Season of Healing. Tigerland tells the story of Columbus’ East High School Tigers, baseball and basketball teams from a poor, black, segregated high school that each won two Ohio state championships in the same year, uniting a racially-charged community in the aftermath of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. Haygood is praised for connecting the civil rights movement and its iconic heroes with current events and enduring struggles. Above all, he brings the powerful perspective that this is the history of all Americans, shaping our national identity and common values. Haygood will be interviewed by his friend, Michael Carter, chief diversity officer at Sinclair Community College. Copies of Tigerland, in addition to other titles by Haygood, will be available for purchase. A book signing will follow the presentation.”
What: “This year’s festival will feature accomplished visiting writers, a book fair, a caucus for literary arts nonprofits, panels on many aspects of the literary arts, craft talks, workshops and readings in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.”
When: September 27th-30th, check website for times
Where: Varying locations, check website for more information
What: “CXC is a free, citywide arts festival hosted every year by people and places with a passion for cartoon arts. CXC connects the global family of cartoon storytellers, comic makers, and animators with the people who love and are inspired by their art. Together, they celebrate the stories that can only be told in visual media that are as diverse as the people who imagined them.”
What: “The Ohioana Book Awards are the second oldest, and among the most prestigious, state literary prizes in the nation. Nearly every notable Ohio writer of the past 76 years has been honored. Tickets for the Awards go on sale on September 15th.”
What: “The premiere event is the Books by the Banks Cincinnati Regional Book Festival held annually in downtown Cincinnati. The day-long festival, which is free and open to the public, features national, regional, and local authors and illustrators; book signings; panel discussions; and activities for the entire family to enjoy.”
What: The Pickerington Teen Book Fest is free and open to the public! Add this event now to your calendars, and get ready to spend one incredible day with twelve incredible authors of teen and young adult fiction!
It’s hard to believe summer is almost over! Though the calendar says there are still a few weeks left, many Ohio schools are already back in session. With Labor Day marking the unofficial end of summer, we thought we would take a look at some great books to enjoy during these final “dog days” of summer.
Most people tend to think of the “dog days” of summer as those days that are the most hot and humid. However, this ubiquitous phrase has its origins in astronomy. The ancient Greeks were the first to notice that the “dog star,” Sirius, rose and set with the sun during July and August. They thought this was the reason for extra heat during that time of year.
Over time, this phrase has come into more common use to describe the type of steamy weather Ohio has seen for much of this summer, when many our canine buddies want to lie around and enjoy some fun in the sun (or shade!). Of course, dogs are not the only ones who like lounging on a hot summer day. Here are some great hot weather reads to help soak up the last few days of sun:
Fun Dog, Sun Dog by Deborah Heiligman, illustrated by Tim Bowers
Meet Tinka – a dandy, sandy golden retriever, and the little boy who loves her, as they spend a busy, dizzy day at the beach. With rhyming text and adorable watercolors by Ohioan Tim Bowers, this is a story that the whole family will enjoy. Ohioana’s furry friend, Kirby thinks it’s a delightful “tail!”
This debut novel by the 2017 Ohioana Readers’ Choice Winner is the perfect choice for a scorching summer day. It’s the tale of the summer of 1984, when a blistering heatwave baked the small town of Breathed, Ohio. Fielding Bliss never forgot that summer – the year he became friends with the devil.
Last Summer with Maizonby Jacqueline Woodson
This first novel by Ohio native and 2018-19 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature tells the story of the beautiful friendship of Margaret and Maizon. The summer Margaret turns eleven, her father unexpectedly dies. Then Maizon is accepted at an expensive boarding school, far away from the place they have grown up together. This exploration of self-discovery and issues like racism and death is a realistic, touching look at the lives and friendships of young African-American girls, and their journey toward adulthood.
One Evil Summer (Fear Street #25) by R. L. Stine
In this fun entry from the Bexley native who has given kids nightmares for decades, it’s summer at the beach and Amanda Conklin is stuck in summer school. At least she doesn’t have to take care of her bratty little brother and sister – that’s Chrissy’s job. Chrissy is the perfect babysitter. But Chrissy has a secret – she’s a cold-blooded killer!
How to Survive a Summer by Nick White
This debut novel by OSU Assistant Professor Nick White centers around a gay conversion camp in Mississippi, and a man’s reckoning with the trauma he faced there as a teenager. It is the story of reconciling the past and learning from the present, of found family, and of working through trauma and grief to reclaim your own story from those who have stolen it.
The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan
In this novel by 2018 Ohioana Book Award Finalist Erin McCahan, it’s the summer after senior year, and Briggs Henry is out the door. He’s leaving behind his ex-girlfriend and his parents’ money troubles for Lake Michigan and its miles of sandy beaches, working a summer job as a personal assistant, and living in a gorgeous Victorian on the shore. It’s the kind of house Briggs plans to buy his parents one day when he’s a multi-millionaire. But then he gets there. And his eighty-four-year-old boss tells him to put on a suit for her funeral. So begins a summer of social gaffes, stomach cramps, fraught beach volleyball games, moonlit epiphanies, and a drawer full of funeral programs. Add to this Abigail, the mystifying girl next door on whom Briggs’s charms just won’t work, and “the lake effect” is taking on a whole new meaning.