Ohioana Day, 2011

Yesterday was Ohioana Day, and we celebrated the occasion with a wonderful reception and awards ceremony.  I was glad to share the event with some of my friends from the firm as well as a hundred of my fellow book-lovers.

Ted Gup accepts his award

This year the Ohioana Award for Fiction went to Anthony Doerr, for Memory Wall: Stories; the Ohioana Award for Non-Fiction was given to Ted Gup for A Secret Gift:  How One Man’s Kindness — and a Trove of Letters — Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression; the Ohioana Award for Poetry was conferred upon David Young for Field of Light and Shadow:  Selected and New Poems; The Ohioana Award for Juvenile Literature went to Tricia Springstubb for What Happened on Fox Street; and the Ohioana Award for Books About Ohio and an Ohioan was presented to Arnold Adoff and Kacy Cook for Virginia Hamilton:  Speeches, Essays, and Conversations.  In addition, Laura Maylene Walter was awarded the Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant that is given to a writer under the age of 30.

The evening included some fine food prepared by Metro Cuisine, some fine wine from Valley Vineyards in Morrow, Ohio, and some excellent music by a jazz combo.  The highlight, as always, was listening to the authors as they accepted their awards and then as they spoke candidly, humorously and often movingly about what it is like to live the life of a writer during a panel discussion afterward.  When David Young, in response to a question about a place that was meaningful to him, read a poem about a visit to a family member’s gravestone, I think everyone in the audience and on the stage was deeply touched by the moment.

If you are a book lover who enjoys listening to authors and celebrating their accomplishments, it’s time for you to discover the Ohioana Library Association.

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!