Authors @ Alden – OHIO University Libraries


On April 16, 2018, Ohio University Libraries hosted Nigerian author Chuma Nwokolo, who discussed his new book, “The Extinction of Menai.”

Nwokolo was interviewed by Ghirmai Negash, professor of English and African Literature in the Department of English and associate director of African Studies Program. Negash asked Nwokolo about his book, which tells the story of twins Humphrey, a London writer, and Zanda, a journalist in Abuja, Nigeria, who were separated at birth. The men are descendants of a fictionalized ethnic group in Nigeria that was subjected to a deadly pharmaceutical trial. Years later, few members of the Menai remain.

Nwokolo, the author of several books, began his first United States tour at Yale University. During his time in America, he also visited Wesleyan University, St. Lawrence University, Loyola University New Orleans and Queens College, City University of New York.

To watch the talk, click here.

Image from the Mahn Center’s Brown Family Collection—courtesy Ohio University Libraries.

We are proud to celebrate the digitization of the Brown Family Letters.  It’s a collection that spans from 1839 to 1866 and gives a very local and personal perspective of the impact of the Civil War on a local family.

Stacey Lavender and Karmen Beecroft begin Authors@Alden with a brief discussion of the composition of the collections—letters, artifacts and books— which mostly originate from Ohio.

Beecroft discusses the task of standardizing names in a collection that are spelled differently each time they are written, untangling the genealogy by using outside databases, and deciphering the handwriting of many different writers. Following the presentation Professor Shelley Delaney, subject librarian lorraine wochna, and students Jackson Savage, Rachel Gaunce, and Nick Wilson dramatized a selection of the letters. Along with engaging the audience with Ohio’s rich, diverse history, the event and exhibit serve as an introduction to the importance of the Libraries’ Special Collections.

Watch the presentation here!


Authors@Alden Activity; Summer Series (July 11, 2017)

Digital projects librarians, Karmen Beecroft and Stacey Lavender, will explore the culture of letter writing from home and at the front lines of war—in particular, the Civil War.

In the days when writing a letter was the only means to send a message over the many miles that separated the communities of early America, letter writing was an important form of communication. Today, many of those letters that survived provide detailed records of Americans’ home life, their beliefs and political viewpoints.

With the availability of over 1,000 transcripts of the Brown Family Collection and many of the other Civil War letters in the Mahn Center—and the soon-to-be released digital copies—those collections have a high level of interest among students, researchers and community members.

“This activity will serve as a primer on how to begin interacting with documents of this type, because they are everywhere in archives and special collections. This is what you need to know in order to be a successful primary source researcher…” said Beecroft.

Watch the presentation here!



June 15th, Authors @Alden Summer Series featured the work of Ian Adams and Randall Schieber, well-known Ohio environmental and commercial photographers, talking about their recent publication, “Ohio in Photograph: A Portrait of the Buckeye State.”

Evan Shaw, the interviewer, led us through a fantastic conversation that centered around location scouting, Ohio history, and how hard work and luck go hand in hand!

The large format book is filled with 288 full-color photographs and is available through the Ohio University Press.

Watch the interview here!



Thomas Schiff, alumnus, photographer, author of,  “The Library Book”

Thomas Schiff is an alumnus from the College of Business Administration 1970, he is from and lives in Cincinnati.

During his time at Ohio University in addition to business classes he studied photography under  Clarence White, Jr. and Arnold Gassan.

During the 1980’s Schiff began using a Hulcherama 360 panoramic camera.  Schiff worked to establish Images Center in Cincinnati and he is the founder of FotoFocus, a lens based art biennial, also in Cincinnati.

He visited Alden Library on March 30, 2017 and discussed his newly published, The Library Book, a study of libraries from the 18th century to present.  The Library Book shows us an evolution of architecture and an evolution of library usage.

Watch the interview here!


 Kyle Kondik, political analyst and author of “The Bellwether”

Kyle Kondik will be discussing his book, The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President”, with Ohio University Professor Thomas Suddes.
Kondik, political analyst, alumni, and former editor of The Post will discuss why, in relation to presidential elections, Ohio has served as a microcosm of the nation.

Kondik is an Arts and Sciences alumnus from 2010 and former editor of The Post, Ohio University’s student operated newspaper.
Watch the interview here!



Robert Gipe, author and illustrator of, “Trampoline”.

July 12, 2016 OHIO Libraries welcomed Robert Gipe to discuss his new and first novel, “Trampoline”.  Dawn Jewell, the center character of the book, navigates the rural Kentucky               community that she lives in,  her Grandmother’s protesting of strip mines, her mother’s struggle with drug addiction, and Dawn’s own internal journey as a 15 year old young woman.

The delightful conversation, led by OHIO Associate Professor of Sociology, Rachel Terman, covers Gipe’s journey through jobs, as a community playwright, participant in writers workshops, and as a teacher.

Watch the interview here!




Sharon Hatfield, alumna, writer, editor

On Thursday, June 16, 2016, OHIO alumna Sharon Hatfield, an award-winning reporter, editor and author, will discuss her book titled, “Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell,” in the 1951 Lounge, on the fourth floor of Alden Library, from 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Kelee Riesbeck, managing editor and writer for and WOUB radio host, will interview Hatfield, and the interview will be followed by an audience Q&A session.

Watch the interview here!



Authors@Alden with Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee and interviewer Dr. Charles Ping. Photo by Ben Siegel

The Sage in the Cathedral of Books (May 19th, 2016)

The Ohio University Libraries were honored to host Dr. Hwa Wei Lee, interviewer Dr. Charles Ping, author Yang Yang, and translator Dr. Ying Zhang to discuss The Sage in the Cathedral the biography of Dr. Lee.  The biography is not only his personal story, but also a story of his amazing achievements, such as receiving the highly prestigious Melvil Dewey Medal from the American Library Association in 2015, and contributions to international librarianship, especially between the U.S. and China.

Watch the interview here!



Dr. Ronald Calinger

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Ohio University Libraries will host the Authors@Alden series featuring Dr. Ronald Calinger, alumnus (’63) and professor emeritus of history at the Catholic University of America, who will speak on the life, work and contributions of Swiss-born mathematician, physicist and theoretical astronomer Leonhard Euler (1707-1783), which inspired his latest book, “Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius in the Enlightenment.

The event will include an interview by Dr. Bob Klein, associate professor of mathematics and mathematics education, followed by a question and answer session.

Watch the interview here!




Dr. Stanley Plumly, OHIO alumnus and guest of Authors@Alden, speaks about his latest work, "The Immortal Evening," in the Class of 1951 Lounge of Alden Library, February 2, 2016.

Dr. Stanley Plumly

Ohio University Libraries hosted alumnus Dr. Stanley Plumly, Maryland’s award-winning poet laureate and distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Plumly spoke with Dr. Jill Allyn Rosser about his latest work titled, “The Immortal Evening: A Legendary Dinner with Keats, Wordsworth, and Lamb.” The conversation ranged from Benjamin Robert Haydon’s painting career to his friendships with Keats, Wordsworth, and Lamb and touched on Dr. Plumly’s own history, beginning with  growing up in Barnesville, OH.

Watch the interview here!


Sam CrowlSam Crowl (April 3, 2014)

Ohio University Libraries will host Dr. Sam Crowl, Trustee Professor of English Literature, Shakespeare, and Renaissance Drama at Ohio University on the next edition of the Authors @ Alden series. Dr. Crowl will discuss his recently published book, Screen Adaptations: Shakespeare’s Hamlet: the Relationship between Text and Film (London: Bloomsbury/Arden, 2014) with the Libraries’ Instruction Coordinator lorraine wochna from 5:30-6:30 on Thursday, April 3rd on the 4th floor of Alden Library.

Dr. Crowl is also the author of Shakespeare Observed: Studies in Performance on Stage and Screen as well as numerous essays, articles, reviews, and interviews on aspects of Shakespeare in performance. He has lectured widely on Shakespeare at universities and conferences.

Watch the conversation here!



President Emeritus Charles J. Ping (December 5, 2013)

Ohio University Libraries hosted Dr. Charles J. Ping, president emeritus of Ohio University, in the next edition of the Authors @ Alden series. Dr. Ping discussed his recently published memoir, A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency,1975-1994, transcribed from a series of recorded videotaped interviews with Dr. Samuel Crowl, current trustee professor emeritus and former dean of University College, and Doug McCabe, Ohio University Libraries’ curator of manuscripts.

Dr. Ping served as Ohio University President for 19 years, making his presidency the longest in University history. Dr. Samuel Crowl with facilitate the event and discuss highlights from the book that documents Ping’s leadership and transformed OHIO into the University we know today.

Watch the conversation here!



Kevin Haworth (October 20, 2013)

View the recorded version of the original Kevin Haworth webcast on our YouTube channel.

Kevin Haworth, assistant professor of English at Ohio University discussed his personal approach to creative writing and how he uses library resources to develop and inspire his work.

His most recent book, Famous Drownings in Literary History, is a compilation of powerful short stories on modern Jewish American life. Haworth is also the author of The “Discontinuity of Small Things,” a story of the Holocaust set in Denmark in the summer of 1943. It was awarded the Samuel Goldberg Prize for best Jewish fiction by a writer under 40, and was the runner up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.


CWalker Photo

Carl Walker (September 28, 2013)

View the recorded version of the original Carl Walker webcast on our YouTube channel.

Carl Walker, in collaboration with local historian Betty Hollow, is the author of Soulful Bobcats: Experiences of African American Students at Ohio University. 1950-1960.

Soulful Bobcats is a compilation of 18 personal narratives about life as an African-American student at Ohio University prior to the Civil Rights movement. The narratives explore the many challenges faced by African-Americans as they paved the way for diversity on a predominately white campus.



Katherine Ziff (April 16, 2013)

View the recorded version of the original Katherine Ziff webcast on our YouTube channel.

Local author Katherine Ziff discussed her research and her book, Asylum on the Hill: History of a Healing Landscape. Much of Ziff’s extensive research on the Athens Lunatic Asylum was done through the asylum archives at the Robert E. and Jean R. Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections at Alden Library. Katherine Ziff is a scholar of psychiatric history and asylums. Asylum on the Hill, published in 2012, is considered one of the most detailed accounts on the history as well as the revolutionary practices in psychiatry and patient care that took place at the Athens Lunatic Asylum.