Tom Batiuk, Medina County, The Complete Funky Winkerbean, Volume I
May 2012 Issue
In addition to Les Roberts
(whom you read about in the May issue of Ohio Magazine), nine other writers will share the spotlight at
the Ohioana Book Festival to discuss their recent works.
A native of Akron, Tom Batiuk spent several years as a high school teacher before creating Funky Winkerbean, the celebrated comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate to more than 400 newspapers nationwide. He’s been recognized for his bold yet sensitive approach to real-life issues, and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2008. Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean, which began in 1972 as a laugh-a-day look at high school life, matured into a series of real-life stories, highlighting such sensitive social issues as alcoholism, cancer, teen-dating abuse, teen suicide, guns in the school and teen pregnancy. The groundbreaking series has placed Batiuk at the forefront of a new genre in comic art history. Numerous honors he has received include the Ohioana Citation and the 1996 Governor’s Award for the Arts.
Jeni Britton Baur, Franklin County, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Entrepreneur and best-selling author Jeni Britton Bauer started making ice cream in 1996. Over the past 15 years, she has perfected her craft, building a community of devotees who scan her website, blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed daily for what is sure to be their next addiction. Her creative recipes are inspired by the ingredients available any given day at the market. At Jeni’s, everything is made by hand and in house, right down to the name of the ice cream, which is hand-written on every pint). Along with a thriving retail and mail-order business, Baur currently has eight stores in central Ohio, one in Chagrin Falls and one in Nashville.
Cinda Williams Chima, Cuyahoga County, The Gray Wolf Throne
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Cinda Williams began writing poetry and stories in third grade, and novels in junior high school. Her Heir Chronicles young adult contemporary fantasy series includes The Warrior Heir, The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir, with two more books forthcoming. Chima’s best-selling young-adult fantasy Seven Realms series launched with The Demon King, The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne. (The Crimson Crown is scheduled to be published this fall.) Chima was a recipient of the 2008 Lit Award for Fiction from the Cleveland Lit, Her novel, The Exiled Queen, won the 2011 Teen Buckeye Book Award.
Casey Daniels, Cuyahoga County, Wild, Wild Death
Casey Daniels once applied for a job as a tour guide in a Cleveland cemetery. She didn’t get the job, but she did get the idea for the heroine in her popular Pepper Martin mystery series. (Martin works at a historic cemetery and solves mysteries for the ghosts there.) Wild, Wild Death, the eighth book in the series, was published in January. Daniels has also written historical and contemporary romances, as well as books for young adults and a children’s book.
Nancy Petro, Franklin County, False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent
Nancy Petro, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Denison University, has more than 35 years of full-time experience in marketing, publishing and business management. She played an active role in the political career of her husband, former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, and shares his unsettling awakening to the issue of wrongful conviction. Petro worked with her husband on the book False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent. She continues the advocacy with a focus on increasing awareness of wrongful conviction and the importance of criminal justice reform. A Tiffin native, Petro lives in Columbus.
Donald Ray Pollock, Ross County, The Devil All the Time
Born in 1954 and raised in Knockemstiff, Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver. At age 50, he enrolled in the creative writing program at The Ohio State University. While Pollock was a student there, Doubleday published his debut short- story collection, Knockemstiff, and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. His second book, The Devil All the Time, published in July, was listed by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the Top 10 books of the year.
Emilie Richards, Cuyahoga County, Sunset Bridge
Emilie Richards lived in Cleveland for 12 years, where she raised her children and enjoyed a prolific writing career. She is the author of more than 60 novels, including, romantic suspense, mysteries, and women’s fiction. Richards is also a quilter and has published five Quilting Along With Emilie Richards books, which have been published in more than 16 languages in more than 20 countries. Richards is a past winner of the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, the highest prize given to romance authors. Prior to her writing career, Richards worked as a therapist in a mental health center, a parent services coordinator for families enrolled in Head Start and in several pastoral counseling centers. She currently lives in Virginia.
Michael J. Rosen, Perry County, The Hound Dog’s Haiku and Other Poems for Dog Lovers
A Columbus native, Michael J. Rosen is an award-winning writer, poet and illustrator, with more than 80 works published to date. Rosen is the former literary director for Thurber House, where he edited several compilations of Thurber’s work and helped create the Thurber Prize for American Humor. Among the awards Rosen has received are the National Jewish Book Award, the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Book Award and several Ohioana Awards. He has been a fellow of both the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Robin Yocum, Franklin County, Favorite Sons
Robin Yocum was born in 1955 in Steubenville, and grew up in Brilliant. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University in 1978. After spending two years writing for the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette and the Martins Ferry Times Leader, Yocum spent a decade as a crime and investigative reporter with the Columbus Dispatch. He received numerous writing awards from the Associated Press and the Press Club of Ohio. Yocum is the author of two nonfiction books, Dead Before Deadline and Insured for Murder, which he co-authored with Dispatch reporter Cathy Candisky. In 2011, Favorite Sons, his first novel, was named Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense by USA Book News.