An Ohioana Weekend

Today is Ohioana Day.  The Ohioana Library will host a luncheon today in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium to honor the winners of this year’s awards, and it is an illustrious group indeed.


James McCormac, Dan Chaon, Sharon Draper, Rita Dove, and Michael J. Rosen (left to right) discuss the creative impulse

The weekend began with a bang last night with a reception to honor the award winners.  The evening featured a welcoming speech by Ohio’s gracious First Lady Frances Strickland — who has been a true and faithful friend to the Ohioana Library — good food, a fine selection of Ohio wines from Valley Vineyards, a fascinating and spirited panel discussion by some of the award winners, poetry readings, and a wonderful, moving performance of a song by Jorma Kaukonen, who has won this year’s Ohioana citation for music.


Jorma Kaukonen performs

I love Ohioana Day.  It makes me feel good that my home state has produced such creative people and fostered such talent.  I always come away with a deep respect for the thoughtfulness, humor, and discipline of the writers and artists who are recognized.  I also always learn something new about my state — whether it is about the humble insects humorously described by writer James McCormac during last night’s panel discussion, the deep Ohio roots still felt by Rita Dove, or the fact that Jorma Kaukonen, one of the founding members of the Jefferson Airplane and a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, helps to teach guitar to aspiring musicians at the Fur Peace Ranch Guitar Camp, located on 125 acres in Meigs County.  Who knew?

Congratulations to the Ohioana Library and all of the award winners on this special day!

2010 Ohioana Book Festival

The planning for the 2010 Ohioana Book Festival is well underway.  The Festival will be held on Saturday, May 8 at the Ohioana and State Library Building at 274 East First Avenue, just north of downtown Columbus.

Ohioana recently confirmed 10 featured authors for the Festival, and it is a pretty cool and diverse group.  The ten are, in alphabetical order, David Catrow, Dan Chaon, Jennifer Chiaverini, Lori Foster, Nikki Giovanni, Andrew Hudgins, Angela Johnson, Lisa Klein, David Lee Morgan, Jr., and Ted Rall.  So, you have a great mix of poets, novelist, political cartoonists, illustrators, a children’s author, and a sportswriter, all of whom have strong Ohio connections.

The Festival is an excellent opportunity to listen to people who care about writing and books, to browse the works of Ohio writers and poets, and to listen to presentations by individual authors and artists as well as panel discussions on a wide range of topics.  Last year’s Festival was a great success, and this year’s Festival promises to be even better.