2011-04-30 / News

Free Ohioana Book Festival is May 7

COLUMBUS – Readers of all ages and interests are invited to the fifth annual Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, May 7th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The festival will be held at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center at 546 Jack Gibbs Blvd., Columbus, near downtown Columbus. The event is free and open to the public, no tickets or advance registration required.

Festival activities will include panels, roundtables, author readings and discussions, a book fair, entertainment, and a special area for children’s programming.

“We are so excited that more than one hundred nationally recognized authors – all of them Ohioans by birth or residents with books that have been published in the past year – will participate in our fifth festival,” said Linda R. Hengst, Ohioana’s Executive Director. “They represent every major literary field and genre - fiction (mystery, romance, fantasy, science fiction, and literary fiction), nonfiction (memoirs, history, and essays), poetry, and books for children and young adults.”

Ten writers - the festival’s featured authors - will come to Columbus early to participate in outreach programming in schools and other community venues and the media. These authors, all stars in their chosen literary field, include:

Carrie Bebris, a Montgomery County resident who grew up in Toledo, is the author six Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries including Pride and Prescience, which employs the beloved characters from Jane Austen’s novels.

Lisa Black, a Cleveland native, says that she spent the happiest five year of her life in a morgue. She is a professional forensic scientist now living in Florida and the author of five crime thrillers: three in the Theresa MacLean series, the most recent Trail of Blood and two as Elizabeth Becka, all set in her hometown of Cleveland.

Tim Bowers, a Troy, Ohio native and current Granville, Ohio resident, has illustrated more than 30 popular children’s books including First Dog and First Dog’s White House Christmas. His illustrations have also been used on a wide variety of products and his characters have appeared on hundreds of greeting cards.

Andrea Cheng, a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, is the author 17 books for children and young adults. Because of her diverse ethnic background and life experiences her books introduce youngsters other cultures and personal issues. Marika, inspired by her mother was a Cincinnati “On the Same Page” title in 2003 and her most recent book Only One Year is the story of a Chinese family.

Robert Greer, a Columbus native and Miami University graduate, is the author of the CJ Floyd mystery series, two medical thrillers, a literary fiction novel Spoon, and hundreds of articles for medical journals. Dr. Greer is the founder and current editor of The High Plains Literary Review. He is also a professor of pathology, medicine, surgery, and dentistry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Ted Gup used his investigative journalist experience in writing his most recent book, A Secret Gift: How One Man’s Kindness - And a Trove of Letter - Revealed the Hidden Story of the Great Depression, which tells the story of his grandfather and the people of his hometown, Canton, Ohio, during the 1930s. He was a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist for The Washington Post and Time magazine and is a frequent contributor to various other publications including the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated. He is currently the Chair of the Journalism Department at Emerson College.

J. Patrick Lewis, a resident of Westerville, Ohio, has authored more than 40 books for young people who love his poems, riddles, and stories. His more recent children’s book, First Dog and First Dog’s Christmas he co-authored with his daughter Beth Zappitello. Gulls Hold Up the Sky:

Poems 1983-2010 is Lewis’s first poetry book for adults.

Sandy Plunkett, an Athens, Ohio resident, is a self-taught illustrator and comic book artist who began his career age 18 with Marvel Comics. His work also appeared on countless posters, album covers, and political cartoons. His book The World of a Wayward Comic Book Artist: The Private Sketchbooks of S. Plunkett features nearly 400 selections from sketchbooks he kept over the past 20 years and gives a fascinating look at his creative process.

Bev Shaffer is a chef, traveling culinary instructor, the director of the Mustard Seed Market and Café Cooking Schools in Akron and Solon, as well as the author of four very popular cookbooks. Her most recent book is Cakes to Die For. Bev is the author of the popular weekly “Ask Bev” column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She has been the recipient of many awards and commendations.

Maggie Smith, a Columbus native and current resident, is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and The Ohio State University. She is the author of three volumes of poetry, Lamp of the Body, The List of Dangers, and Nesting Dolls and her work has appeared numerous journals including The Paris Review, Gettysburg Review, and Prairie Schooner. Smith was the recipient of a 2011 Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition to the featured authors there will be more that ninety additional fair authors at the festival. The festival program will include twenty-two workshops, panel discussions, and reading and conversations. Some of the programs include: Mentors & Muses: Literary Influences with J. Patrick Lewis and Lisa Black, The Power of Words with Carrie Bebris and Bev Shaffer, Real People, Real Stories with Andrea Cheng and Ted Gup, and How We Write, What We Write with Tim Bowers and Robert Greer. The Aldus Society will do a workshop on Book Collecting as well as book appraisals from 11:30 to 2:00.

Kent State University Library and Information Science students and faculty along with local librarians will provide many lively activities for youngsters, including meeting costumed book characters, story times, and book related arts and crafts.

The most recent books of all of the festival authors will be available through the on-site Barnes and Noble Bookstore.

“The Ohioana Book Festival will be a wonderful experience for individuals,” said Hengst, “and a great day for a family to celebrate as part of this Mother’s Day weekend.”

More information about the festival and the day’s program can be found at www.OhioanaBook- Festival.org .

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