Celebrating the 80th Ohioana Book Awards!

October 22, 2021
A screencap from the 2021 Ohioana Book Awards ceremony.

The Ohioana Library has been giving awards to recognize outstanding literary achievement since 1942. But 2021’s event was truly special as we virtually celebrated the awards’ 80th anniversary!

Ohioana’s Executive Director, David Weaver, served as master of ceremonies, with help from Ohioana board members and representatives of sponsors who introduced the award winners.

The award ceremony began with the presentation of the 2021 Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant to Hagan Faye Whiteleather. A competitive award for an emerging Ohio writer aged 30 or younger who has not yet published a book, the Marvin Grant has helped launch the careers of many successful authors, a number of whom have returned later as book award winners.

The presentation of the Ohioana Book Awards followed:

Readers’ Choice: Tiffany McDaniel, Betty

About Ohio or an Ohioan: Carole M. Genshaft, ed., Raggin’ On

Nonfiction: Aimee Nezhukumatathil, World of Wonders

Fiction: Carter Sickels, The Prettiest Star

Poetry: Marianne Chan, All Heathens

Juvenile Literature: Thrity Umrigar, Sugar in Milk

Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature: Jacqueline Woodson, Before the Ever After

After the ceremony, Dan Shellenbarger, head of the Ohio Channel and creator and host of their discussion program, Book Notes, moderated an authors’ roundtable with the winners in which they discussed their creative inspiration and their writing process.

As we did in 2020, we moved the awards ceremony online, due to the recent upsurge of COVID-19 cases. The Ohio Channel, our media partner, streamed the entire program live on Facebook and YouTube to thousands of viewers in Ohio and beyond. If you missed the program, or would like to see it again, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRu542oeE9A.

Copies of all of this year’s winning titles are available from our official bookseller, the Book Loft of German Village, at www.bookloft.com.

While we missed celebrating in person with authors and attendees, the virtual awards event was nonetheless a great success. Our thanks to everyone who made it so—sponsors, partners, presenters, and the Ohioana board and staff. And of course, all of this year’s award winners— congratulations once again!

Hopefully, we’ll be back live and in person next October at the Ohio Statehouse. We’d love to have you join us as we celebrate the 2022 Ohioana Book Awards!