16 noted for cultural contributions to state

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bill Eichenberger


The author of what poet William Stafford called one of the "most neglected books of the 20 th century" is among 16 people to be honored Oct. 22 for achievements in music, literature and the arts and humanities.

The object of Stafford’s praise is Hanger Stout, Awake! — a comic novel written in 1967 by former North Side resident Jack Matthews. The book follows the exploits of a gas-station attendant in a Midwestern town.

"I visualized Hanger’s filling station . . . somewhat as I remembered the Sohio Station on E. Main Street in Urbana, where our family lived until 1964, when I joined the Ohio University English Department, the author said.

Matthews, who lives near Athens, will receive an Ohioana Career Award during a celebration at the State Library of Ohio.

He has written more than 20 books, including the novels The Tale of Asa Bean and Sassafras; the short-story collections Bitter Knowledge, Tales of the Ohio Land and Crazy Women; and several books about reading and collecting books.

In her New York Times review of Crazy Women, Doris Grumbach praised the writer for "straightforward language" that "reaches a point at which his facts take on ominous overtones, allow suggestions of horror, despair, threat to enter through the clear, undecorated logic of events."

The Ohioana Library Association, founded in 1929, is a statefunded organization in the State Library, 274 E. 1 st Ave., that houses literature produced mostly by Ohioans.

Since 1942, the association has annually bestowed awards to people who have lived or worked in the state.

The other 2005 winners:


• Margot Kahn (Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant for promising writers younger than 30) of Cleveland for an unpublished manuscript, Horses That Buck, a novel.

• James Reiss (Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award) of Oxford for six books of poetry and work with Ohio’s Poet in the Schools Program.

• Alfred Tibor (Pegasus Award) of Columbus for a lifetime of service to the arts and humanities. The artist and sculptor, a Holocaust survivor, once explained his motivation: "I would like to speak after I am gone."

• Bill Thompson III (James P. Barry Award for Editorial Excellence) of Marietta for his work as editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest, a bimonthly magazine that has grown from a circulation of 5,000 to 100,000 under his stewardship.

• Jan Wahl (Alice Louise Wood Memorial Award for Children’s Literature) of Toledo for 100-plus books, including the recent Humphrey’s Bear, The Enchanted Sled and Candy Shop.

Single works

• Louise Borden (juvenile literature) of Cincinnati for The Greatest Skating Race. She recently published The Journey That Saved Curious George.

Anthony Doerr (fiction) of Parma for his debut novel, About Grace. He previously won the fiction award for his collection of short stories, The Shell Collector.

Diane Gilliam Fisher (poetry) of Brimfield for her collection Kettle Bottom.

• Julie Salamon (nonfiction) of Seamon for Rambam’s Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary To Give.

• William Souder (about Ohio/Ohioans) of Stillwater, Minn., for Under a Wild Sky: John James Audubon and the Making of "The Birds of America."

• Paul Zimmer (nonfiction) of Canton for his collection of autobiographical essays, Trains in the Distance. He won a 2005 Pushcart Prize for his essay The Mechanics.


• Celeste Friedman of Newark for musical performance of her ‘O’ Is for Ohio, a chronicle of the state’s history in story.

• Mark Phillips of Athens for music. The composer’s work has been featured at the Blossom Festival, the Chautauqua Summer Music Festival and at the University of Memphis, Tenn., where his latest composition, Dreams Interrupted, was performed at the Imagine 2005 Festival.

• Sue Studebaker of the Dayton area for historic preservation of decorative arts. She is the author of Ohio Samplers: Schoolgirl Embroideries, 1803-1850 and Ohio Is My Dwelling Place: Schoolgirls Embroideries, 1800-1850. The Montgomery County Historical Society presented her (and her husband) a Heritage Award for restoration of Quaker Hill, their 1797 home.

• Jud Yalkut of Dayton for visual arts, including the experimental films Diffraction Film, Vision Cantos and, most recently, Light Display: Color. The artist has had work displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Pompidou Center in Paris and elsewhere.