Pride Month provides Ohioans with a chance to either revisit or to learn about all the LGBTQ+ literary figures who were born in Ohio or have called the Buckeye State home. And before you say “What about….?!”, we acknowledge this is ONLY a very small selection! Consider this an enticement for you to explore well beyond this list!*
Kazim Ali is an editor, translator, and author of several books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His first collection of poems, The Far Mosque, won the Alice James Books’ New England/New York Award. His fourth collection of poems, Sky Ward, won the 2014 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry. His recent books include the memoir Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water, the novel The Secret Room, and the collection of poems The Voice of Sheila Chandra. He was for several years an assistant professor at Oberlin College. Watch an interview with Ali at the Academy of American Poets. Read “The Earthquake Days.”
Ruth Awad is a Lebanese American poet living in Columbus. Her collection of poems Set to Music a Wildfire won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She was a 2021 NEA Poetry fellow. Read “The Years of Water & Light.” Read “Guns Won’t Feed You, But Hold Out Your Hands.”
e.E. Charlton-Trujillo is a Mexican American writer and filmmaker. Their first novel Prizefighter en Mi Casa won the Delacorte Dell Yearling Award, and Parent’s Choice Silver Honor. Fat Angie, the first book in their Fat Angie series, won the ALA Stonewall Book Award, and Westchester Book Award, and was a 2017/2018 Choose to Read Ohio selection. Listen to an interview with Charlton-Trujillo at Teaching Books.
Hart Crane was a widely influential poet born in Garrettsville in 1899 and raised in Cleveland. Among his best-known works are The Bridge and “Voyages.” He died by suicide in 1932.
Kamden Ishmael Hilliard is the 2020-2022 Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing at the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Their first collection of poems, MissSettl, will publish June 14, 2022, from Nightboat Books. Read a review of MissSettl on Harriet Books. Read “Ride W Favor.”
Raechel Anne Jolie is the author of Rust Belt Femme which won the Independent Publisher Book Award in LGBTQ Nonfiction and was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR. They live in Cleveland Heights. Watch Jolie talk about and read from Rust Belt Femme for Lakewood Public Library.
Mary Oliver was born in Maple Heights in 1935. She wrote over 30 collections of poems including the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Primitive and the National Book Award-winning New and Selected Poems, two books of essays, and two books on writing. She died in 2019. Read “Death at a Great Distance.” Read “The Moths.”
P. Craig Russell was born in Wellsville in 1951. Perhaps best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman on the graphic novels Coraline, American Gods, and The Sandman, as well as numerous other comic books and adaptations, he was the first openly gay mainstream comic book illustrator. The Art of P. Craig Russell: A Retrospective was published in 2007. Watch an interview with Russell on The Comics Cube.
Phil Stamper was raised near Dayton. He is the author of Small Town Pride, just published by HarperCollins in May 2022, The Gravity of Us,and As Far as You’ll Take Me. Read an excerpt from The Gravity of Us at Teen Vogue.
*You can also check out our post from 2021 for additional authors! Explore the world of queer comics with the conversation between Dr. Valentino Zullo and Ohio Center for the Book Coordinator Don Boozer from earlier in 2022 as part of Cleveland Public Library’s Book Drops.