Announcing the 2023 Ohioana Book Award Finalists

May 15, 2023
A man in a casual suit meets an Ohio author

A scene from the 2016 Ohioana Book Awards ceremony (Photoby Mary Rathkey)

Ohioana Library is pleased to announce the finalists for the 82nd annual 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, Nonfiction, Poetry, Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature, and Juvenile Literature. The sixth category, About Ohio or an Ohioan, may also include books by non-Ohio authors.

The recognition this year’s stellar list of authors has received includes the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN America Literary Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honors, the Edgar Award, and the Kirkus Prize. Four finalists have had their works adapted for film and television. One finalist is a former Governor of Ohio; another is CNN’s Presidential Historian. Eight authors are previous Ohioana Book Award winners.

On June 1, Ohioana will kick off the tenth annual “30 Books, 30 Days,” our popular feature in which we profile one award finalist every day on our social media. This year, we have thirty-three finalists, expanding the feature by three books and three days!

In mid-June we’ll launch the annual Readers’ Choice Award poll. First held in 2016, the poll allows the public to vote online for their favorite book from among all the finalists.

Winners will be announced in July. The 2023 Ohioana Awards ceremony will be held at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Thursday, September 21. The finalists are:


Hyde, Allegra. Eleutheria, Vintage

Ng, Celeste. Our Missing Hearts, Penguin

Okorafor, Nnedi. Noor, DAW

Scalzi, John. The Kaiju Preservation Society, Tor

Umrigar, Thrity. Honor, Algonquin Books


Brinkley, Douglas. Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening, HarperCollins

Gay, Ross. Inciting Joy: Essays, Algonquin Books

Macy, Beth. Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis, Little, Brown and Company

Millard, Candice. River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile, Doubleday

Mufleh, Luma. Learning America: One Woman’s Fight for Educational Justice for Refugee Children, Mariner Books

About Ohio or an Ohioan

Celeste, Richard F. In the Heart of It All: An Unvarnished Account of My Life in Public Service, The Kent State University Press

Dyer, Joyce. Pursuing John Brown: On the Trail of a Radical Abolitionist, The University of Akron Press

Ervick, Kelcey. The Keeper: Soccer, Me, and the Law That Changed Women’s Lives, Avery

Jarrett, Gene Andrew. Paul Laurence Dunbar: The Life and Times of a Caged Bird, Princeton University Press

Schulz, Kathryn. Lost and Found: Reflections on Grief, Gratitude, and Happiness, Random House

Schwartzman, Nancy and Nora Zelevansky. Roll Red Roll: Rape, Power, and Football in the American Heartland, Hachette Books


Fagan, Kathy. Bad Hobby: Poems, Milkweed Editions

Freeman, Siaara. Urbanshee, Button Poetry

Hindi, Noor. Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow., Haymarket Books

Jones, Saeed. Alive at the End of the World, Coffee House Press

Wagner, Sara Moore. Swan Wife, Cider Press Review

Juvenile Literature

Campbell, Marcy. Illus. by Francesca Sanna. The More You Give, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Hale, Shannon. Illus. by Tracy Subisak. This Book is Not for You!, Dial Books

Hoefler, Kate. Illus. by Jessixa Bagley. Courage Hats, Chronicle Books

Kuo, Julia. Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night, Greystone Kids

Wang, Andrea. Illus. by Hyewon Yum. Luli and the Language of Tea, Neal Porter Books

Woodson, Jacqueline. Illus. by Rafael López. The Year We Learned to Fly, Nancy Paulsen Books

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature

Brown, Echo. The Chosen One: A First-Generation Ivy League Odyssey, Christy Ottaviano Books

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. The School for Whatnots, Katherine Tegen Books

McCarthy, Cory. Man O’ War, Dutton Books for Young Readers

Nelson, Marilyn. Augusta Savage: The Shape of a Sculptor’s Life, Christy Ottaviano Books

Van Vleet, Carmella. Nothing is Little, Holiday House

Warga, Jasmine. A Rover’s Story, Balzer + Bray