May 10, 2021 — The Father of the Western Novel; the first Black woman to win a Nobel Prize in literature; the creator of the first superhero to see print; and the first African American to achieve national prominence as a poet: What do these people have in common? They are all from Ohio and honored on the Ohio Literary Trail.
Not only is Ohio a hub of great writers and influencers of the written word, but it is also home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of picture book art, one of the premier university poetry centers, and the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics.
The new book, The Ohio Literary Trail: A Guide, shines a spotlight on the Buckeye state’s role in shaping culture and literature worldwide through more than 70 sites located in 35 counties around the state. Designed to increase awareness of Ohio’s literary accomplishments and encourage exploration, the diverse Trail pays tribute to the authors, poets, illustrators, libraries, and creative influencers Tourists planning a literary-themed outing, as well as Ohioans who want to discover literary treasures they never knew existed in their own backyard, will find it here.
The digital Trail was introduced last summer by the Ohioana Library Association (a library dedicated to Ohio writers, books and contents) and the new book features locations and brief overviews of people and destinations. Developed from an Ohio poster map with 11 original literary destinations, the new and expanded Ohio Literary Trail includes museums, historical homes, libraries, historical markers, and more. Ohioana plans to continue to update the map online each year.
In southwest Ohio, you might choose to walk in the footsteps of author Harriet Beecher Stowe and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. A few hours to the east, you can discover the Zane Grey Museum honoring the Father of the Western Novel (which shares space with the National Road and Ohio Pottery museums.) In the heart of Ohio you can visit libraries that hold world-renowned collections of comics and theater history. Northwest Ohio is home to the largest collection of Nancy Drew-themed artifacts recognizing Millie Wirt, the original Carolyn Keene more 90 years ago. And Northeast Ohio was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning author and conservationist Louis Bromfield, whose beautiful farm and gardens are an Ohio State Park.
After exploring Ohio’s rich heritage, readers can turn their focus on Ohio’s current writers and books on Ohio topics. For a true literary celebration that unites readers and writers, the book features five annual festivals in each region of the state: the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus, Wooster’s Buckeye Book Fair, Books by the Banks in Cincinnati, the Athens Spring Literary Festival, and Claire’s Day in Northwest Ohio.
Also included in The Ohio Literary Trail: A Guide are lists of Ohioana Book Award winners by genre since the 1940s, and a list of Ohio’s most noteworthy authors, past and present, by genre and hometown. Now you are ready for your next book…hopefully by an Ohio author.
The 190-page paperback book is published by Arcadia Publishing/The History Press and has more than 90 black and white photos to accompany the travel text. It is being released May 10 and will be available at bookstores and online realtors for $21.99.
About the author
Betty Weibel has been a successful journalist, public relations professional and agency owner. During her career, she has promoted her home state of Ohio, earning national acclaim from the Public Relations Society of America for work on the Ohio Bicentennial celebration and Ohio Travel and Tourism. She volunteers her time as a board member for both the Ohioana Library Association and Ohio History Connection, which inspired her to develop a digital Ohio Literary Trail. Her love of travel writing lead to this book. For more information visit BettyWeibel.com