Celebrate #NationalBookLoversDay With 7 Famous UC Authors

August 9 is #NationalBookLoversDay and the University of Cincinnati alumni family has contributed some enticing options to help you celebrate. Here are eight of our favorites!

April Lindner (A&S ’98)

April Lindner is the author of three young adult novels: “Love, Lucy,” a retelling of “A Room With a View,” “Catherine,” a contemporary retelling of “Wuthering Heights”; and “Jane”, a retelling of “Jane Eyre”. She also has a novella, “Far From Over,” that was published in 2016.

Lindner is also a poet with two collections in print: This Bed Our Bodies Shape, and Skin, winner of the Walt McDonald First Book Prize from Texas Tech University Press. She also writes literary criticism and edits poetry anthologies.

Beverly Helmbold Erschell (DAAP ’71)

Artist Beverly Erschell is known for her use of brilliant color, strong form and intriguing subject matter. Her paintings are in numerous corporate collections as well as the permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center and Weston Art Gallery, and at the Dayton Art Museum.

But Erschell is also a writer. "The Lucky Greyhound" tells the story of Beverly’s adopted greyhound, Maple, recounting entertaining events in Maple’s life and her various careers, from racing to artistic model to household pet. The book also references the greyhound adoption movement in the U.S. and the physical and temperamental characteristics of the breed.

Darwin Turner (A&S '47, A&S '49, Hon. Doc '83)

Many Bearcats know that Darwin Turner was UC’s youngest graduate, earning his bachelor’s degree at age 16 and a master’s two years later. But Turner also went on to write 20 books in his lifetime. He edited more than a dozen works of African American literature and published his own writing, including a collection of his poems in "Katharsis" in 1964; a book on American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel "The Scarlet Letter" in 1967; and a literary critique, "In a Minor Chord: Three Afro-American Writers and Their Search for Identity", in 1971. Turner became the chair of the Afro-American Studies Department at the University of Iowa in 1972 and was a professor there for nearly two decades. In 1981, he was made the University of Iowa Foundation Distinguished Professor of English.

Harry Graff (A&S '33, A&S '34)

A high school valedictorian, Harry Graff enrolled at UC at age 16. In the 1940s, he edited the local WPA publication Cincinnati: A Guide to the Queen City and Its Neighbors, the final volume in the prestigious American Guide Series. The regional supervisor for the WPA Federal Writers’ Project, Graff went on to be the state director, editing selections for the book, writing some of the content and selecting photos. Later, he opened the PR/advertising firm Harry W. Graff Inc. in New York, helping several international airlines develop U.S. routes, and wrote several books on travel management.

Leah Stewart (Creative Writing professor, head of UC English Dept.)

Leah Stewart teaches creative writing and serves as head of the Department of English in the UC College of Arts & Sciences. Her sixth book, “What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw,” was featured in The New York Times Book Review . Her career as a fiction writer began in 2001 with the publication of the thriller “Body of a Girl,” which The Philadelphia Inquirer called, “a remarkable debut…the beginning of a special career of notable novels.” Browse Professor Stewart’s other novels.

Mary Pledge Peterson (A&S '65)

Mary Peterson grew up in Richmond, Va., but has lived in Cincinnati since 1959. She earned her master’s degree in economics from UC where she also taught for 10 years. Writing has always been a pastime for her. Her column, “Cooking for Two,” was published in the Cincinnati Post and Home Cooking Magazine for many years.

Mary wrote a book of 97 short vignettes titled "Life is so daily in Cincinnati", revealing the city in all its character and charm. Showcasing a wide range of topics — from sports to the arts, from people to weather, from architecture to animals — it covers all things Cincinnati.

Paul Phillips (CCM ‘82)

Paul Phillips began his career in Germany as Conducting Assistant to Michael Gielen at the Frankfurt Opera and 1st Kapellmeister at Stadttheater Lüneburg. Upon his selection for the Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductors Program, he returned to the U.S., holding several positions prior to his appointment as Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Brown University in 1989.

An award-winning composer, Phillips has written orchestral works, ballet, opera, choral music, song cycles, keyboard and chamber music. North Cambridge Family Opera commissioned his opera “Weedpatch,” which premiered in March 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His reduced orchestration of Stravinsky’s opera “Mavra,” has been performed at Glyndebourne and other leading opera houses, while his book “A Clockwork Counterpoint: The Music and Literature of Anthony Burgess”, a groundbreaking examination of the work of the British composer-novelist best known as the author of “A Clockwork Orange,” has been hailed in the press as “prodigiously researched, elegantly written” and “seamlessly fascinating.”

William Strunk Jr. (A&S 1890)

William Strunk Jr. was the author of a highly esteemed book found on the desks of most writers and editors. In 1918, he self-published The Elements of Style to aid students at Cornell University, where he earned his Ph.D. and taught for 46 years. He had hoped the book would speed up his grading by allowing him to mark rule violation numbers rather than writing drawn-out explanations. His most famous student, E.B. White, updated the book after his professor’s death in 1959 and published it under both of their names. After almost 60 years in print, the updated version has sold more than 10 million copies.

Bonus fact: Strunk also worked in Hollywood as an adviser on the MGM production of “Romeo and Juliet” in 1935!

What other UC authors come to mind for you? Share them on social media by using the hashtag #NationalBookLoversDay and #thyloyalchildren. To check out other Bearcat authors. Click here.

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