I’m One of the Recipients of the 2016 Governors Awards for the Arts in Ohio

Which is a nice thing to be able to announce after a morning of writing on a novel.

The official announcement is here, and I’m cutting and pasting it below for those of you who don’t want to link through, and adding with some personal comments.

Now, the announcement:



Columbus, Ohio: Nine winners have been selected to receive awards at the 2016 Governors Awards for the Arts in Ohio on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. The 2016 award recipients and categories, including city and county, are:

Arts Administration: Gary Hanson, executive director, The Cleveland Orchestra Cleveland (Cuyahoga)

Arts Education: Joe Deer, professor, Wright State University Dayton (Montgomery)

Arts Patron: George Barrett, chairman/CEO, Cardinal Health Dublin (Franklin)

Business Support of the Arts (small): First-Knox National Bank Mount Vernon (Knox)

Business Support of the Arts (large): Premier Health Dayton (Montgomery)

Community Development & Participation: Harmony Project Columbus (Franklin)

Individual Artist (two winners):
Janice Lessman-Moss, professor of textile arts, Kent State University Kent (Portage);
John Scalzi, author Bradford (Darke)

Irma Lazarus Award: James Conlon, music director, Cincinnati May Festival Cincinnati (Hamilton)

The Governor’s Awards Selection Committee, comprised of four Ohio Arts Council (OAC) board members and three members selected by the Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) Foundation, recommended winners after reviewing 88 nominations submitted by individuals and organizations from across Ohio.

Award Ceremony and Luncheon | Wednesday, May 18

The award ceremony will take place during a luncheon Wednesday, May 18, at noon at the Columbus Athenaeum in downtown Columbus. Winners will receive an original work of art by photographer and visual artist Paula Kraus of Dayton, Ohio. The Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation host the luncheon to honor this years winners and acknowledge continued support by Ohios elected officials. The Governors Awards luncheon is held in conjunction with Arts Day, a daylong arts advocacy event sponsored by Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation.

About the Ohio Arts Council
The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Find us onFacebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit the OAC website at oac.ohio.gov

About the Ohio Citizens for the Arts/Foundation
Through the efforts of thousands of individuals and arts and education organizations, Ohio Citizens for the Arts advocates on behalf of arts and culture, and funding for the same, through the Ohio Arts Council. The Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation formed in 1990 as a companion organization, leverages additional support for the arts and arts education.


And now, my thoughts:

Wheeee! This is pretty exciting. This is a definitely-not-trivial award in the state of Ohio, and to be entirely honest, when I was told that some folks here in the Dayton area wanted to nominate me for it, I wasn’t expecting much. To have it awarded to me is an actual and genuine thrill.

Also, and I’m not entirely sure about this so someone else will have to double-check, but: I do believe this is the first time that a science fiction writer has won this particular award. If that’s correct that makes this award doubly exciting for me. I’m delighted to see my particular brand of literature get recognition, and happy to be an ambassador of it here in Ohio, along with other writers of the genre here in the state, including Tobias Buckell, Kameron Hurley and Mike Resnick among so many others. It’s fun to think the future is starting off in Ohio.

(“But Scalzi,” I hear you say. “Didn’t you swear off awards for this year?” Indeed I did, for awards where the nomination was for work I did in 2015. This is something of a career award, encompassing my entire time as published science fiction author, which as it happens is contiguous with my time in Ohio, as moved here in 2001, and had Old Man’s War, my debut novel, published in 2005. It’s a slightly different animal, then, and I’m happy to accept it.)

I’ll undoubtedly have more to say about this as time goes on, but for right I’ll just say thank you to the Ohio Arts Council and congratulations to the other recipients, particularly Janice Lessman-Moss, the co-winner of the individual artist category. I look forward to seeing all of them in May.

74 Comments on “I’m One of the Recipients of the 2016 Governors Awards for the Arts in Ohio”

  1. WTG, Scalzi! :)

    Is that bit about “Swearing off awards” like Ewan MacGregor saying, “I don’t do stupid dumb summer blockbusters –

    “What? George Lucas wants ME? For Star Wars? To play Obi-Wan Kenobi? Yes! Yes! Yes! Where do I sign?”


  2. That’s so great, and so well-deserved, not just for your writing but for your work as a kind of writing advocate or mentor: someone who spreads the good word in a no-nonsense, practical sort of way.
    Also, kittens.

  3. Wow-wow-wow – what a wonderful way to start 2016!

    Heartiest congratulations to you, sir, on a very well-deserved award. I’m simply delighted that both SF as a genre and you as a representative of the genre are receiving recognition on this level.

    Looking forward to reading your additional comments/observations on it in the future, too!

  4. I looked for your story “Bradford (Darke)” but could not find it. I am sad.

    Also, someone who is blessed needs to update your wikipedia page awards list.

    BTW – well done!

  5. Congratulations! But is Irma Lazarus related to Lazarus Long? [Irma Lazarus Award: James Conlon, music director, Cincinnati May Festival Cincinnati (Hamilton)]. The author of aphorisms such as “Always store beer in a dark place,” and “By the data to date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man–man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.”?

  6. Fantastic! And until you mentioned that there may not previously have been any honorees who were science fiction authors, I hadn’t even considered that aspect–and it IS very exciting!

  7. Congratulations on such a prestigious award! You do the science fiction genre proud!

  8. Congratulations Sir!. I’ve been binge reading the Old Mans War series. I’m about halfway through The End of All Things. Great Stuff. I see why you won the award.

    NK — PLEASE, Don’t vote for Kasich!!!

  9. Hobnobbing with CEOs & the Governor…who ARE you….CONGRATS on a wonderful achievement & honor! Better get that Tux now…..(P.S. don’t screw this up)

  10. Hearty congratulations from a fellow Ohioan!

    Our state has good support for the arts, as it well should.

    I note with interest that Gary Hanson is also a recipient this year. I have a slight acquaintance with him from years of volunteering for The Cleveland Orchestra. He and his wife are very gracious people, and he was a fantastic Executive Director for us – we have the youngest fan base of any major orchestra in the US and maybe in the world. ‘Hope you and Krissy get to chat with them at the ceremony; maybe you can get some comp tickets! Srsly, Athena needs to take in a concert at Severance Hall.

    On a broader note, I remember years ago, when extreme conservatives wanted to cut all government funding and recognition for the arts in Ohio … they could never get it past the also-conservative staunch supporters of our (world’s best! no exaggeration!) orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and all our other great institutions. I’m so happy that cutting recognition of the arts isn’t much of a topic any more and I wish it never would be again. We have so many, many creative folks of all stripes here and they (i.e., you!) deserve to shine!

  11. Hi John, and also my friend Old Aggie :)
    Congratulations on your award. thanks also for your comments about Janice Lessman-Moss. I am a weaver and live in Portage Co. so I know of her, and am looking forward to hearing her as the Keynote speaker at the 2015 Complex Weavers Seminars later this spring. I’m totally jazzed to be even a little familiar with both recipients of the Individual Artist Award. And as as musician and a friend of The Cleveland Orchestra I say Amen to Old Aggie’s comment :)
    John, you are in rare company… and you totally deserve it!

  12. Congratulations!

    On a side note, one must observe that given the prefecture containing Bradford, can we fairly say that you are now versed in “Defense Against the Darke Arts?”

    [Two shows tonight, folks. Try the vegan veal substitute.]

  13. Congrats!

    Now, either your co-winner needs to create a textile art of OMW-verse, or your next book needs to contain a textile artist who somehow saves a planet.

  14. Do you get a red sash or tiara you can wear about town. A symbolic “Ohio Artist’s Mace” would be cool also.

  15. Congratulations, that’s wonderful! Always nice to hear good things coming from the old home state. Glad they are honoring James Conlon as well, after decades directing the May Fest.

  16. Well, if Kasich can’t be President, he can at least give out awards. Maybe when you meet him, you can lure him over to the Darke side.

  17. Congratulations! But I think the future already started in Ohio, since that’s where we got the Wright Brothers and blimps.

  18. Congratulations! It is gratifying to see worthwhile people recognized for their efforts. I just saw the good news as I was grabbing a link to direct some friends to When The Yogurt Took Over. The yogurt is the anti-Trump.

  19. When I read Old Man’s War 7 or 8 years ago I noticed that you mentioned Dayton and Greenville Ohio my first thought was “Is this guy local?”. I attended your book signing at Books & Company recently and truly enjoyed your talk. Congratulations, it is well deserved.

  20. Congratulations on the Ohioana award! Not to douse the joy too much, but there has been a previous science fiction winner– Lois McMaster Bujold, about ten years ago. Of course, she has now deserted Ohio for Minnesota.

  21. Congratulations, John. So what if you “swore off awards”? You deserve this award, now bask in the glory and limelight for a while…….Like Steve said, when he first read “Old Man’s War”, I had the same question….how does this guy know about Greenville? Then I saw from here that you live in Bradford. When I was in high school, there was a “battle of the marching bands” at the Bradford Pumpkin Festival in October. I remember competing twice there, but my golly, that’s back in 1968 and 1969……I think you were still running around the playgrounds then………no, I’m not quite as old as John Perry….

  22. That’s some pretty distinguished company all those professors ‘n’ shit are in.

  23. Well earned, sir! Huzzah! And, luncheon. So pretty much a double win. In all seriousness, congratulations on the recognition. Has to feel pretty good. :)

  24. Hey, being second after Bujold is no small feat. Not terribly surprised she won it before leaving OH. Well deserved award in both cases.

  25. I’m picturing Scalzi balling his fist and shouting “Darn you Lois McMaster Bujold! can there be nothing in which you don’t best me and do it first!?” or somesuch

  26. The Ohioana book award is a thing separate from the Governor’s Award, actually. Also Ms. Bujold, who is fabulous, has not been awarded that award — nor, for that matter, have I.

    Likewise, Ms. Bujold has not won the Governers Award previously.

    Ms. Bujold is noted as an “Ohioana Author” on an “Ohioana Authors” site along with a number of other notable writers (I am not there). This may be the source of confusion.

    So at the moment my claim to be the first SF author recipient of the Governors Award appears to stand.

  27. The OAC award is great recognition; congratulations … reading the past winners, it looks like “Individual Artists” in the various category are awarded at irregular intervals, right? There’s not one “individual artist – writer” every year, so that takes above the “this year’s best” category, so that’s actually even more impressive.

    On the Ohiana list, Toni Morision – pretty impressive company with Ms. Bujold.

    Of course, also John Jakes, who certainly qualfiies as speculative fiction author (although it looks like his award was for one of his historical series).

    Didn’t see Roger Zelazny on either list, which seems sort of an oversight; he grew up in Ohio, and went to Case.

    As always, congrats on well-deserved recognition.

  28. Congratulations!
    Well done, sir! Well done! And I’m sure the kittens would approve, if they cared about such things. Perhaps they’ll strop their jaws on the frame.

  29. Congratulations!
    This is a lame place to post this, but hopefully the award has you in a generous mood. I only found you through twitter,(I read but don’t have an account) and your blog, and want to start reading your novels. Do you have one you suggest I start with?

  30. Congratulations.

    Helen Hooven Santmyer won the Governer’s award in 1985. (And the Ohioana award in 1983.) Her second novel (published in 1929) was a ghost story.

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