The 2023 Fogle Author Series at Rodman Public Library features three writers with Ohio ties, including Kinley Bryan (July 18), James De Monte (August 28), and James Renner (September 11).
Separate registration is required to attend all Fogle Author Series events.
Growing up in Portage County, Kinley Bryan was fascinated by tales of several of her ancestors who were sailors on the Great Lakes.
Her great-grandfather, Walter Stalker, was captain of the four-masted schooner Golden Age, the largest sailing vessel in the world when it launched in 1883. His wife, Annabel, served as the ship’s cook. They were aboard during the Great Lakes Storm of November 1913.
A graduate of Woodridge High School and Kent State University, Bryan applied her love of writing to a career in corporate communications for a time and lived in an old cottage on Lake Erie, which further fostered her love for inland seas.
However, when her fascination with historical fiction became too great to ignore, she turned to those old family stories and that natural disaster her grandparents found themselves trapped in to pen her debut novel, the 2022 Selfie Award-winning Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury.
The story revolves around three sisters — Sunny, a galley cook with a dream of opening a restaurant; Agnes, a widow who blames herself for an accident that killed her serviceman husband who looks for comfort in a secret infatuation; and Cordelia, the wife of a freighter captain who has joined him on the season’s last trip up the lakes.
When the powerful storm descends on the Great Lakes it brings hurricane-force winds, whiteout blizzard conditions, and mountainous waves that last for days. Amidst the chaos all three women are offered a glimpse of the clarity they seek, if only they dare to perceive it.
JAMES DE MONTE
James De Monte, a graduate of Mount Union, visits Alliance on the heels of the publication of his second book – Where Are Your People From? A Novel in Stories.
An associate professor of English at Lakeland Community College, De Monte draws on his heritage and his previous employment at various labor jobs as he tells the story of Giacomo Agostini, a retired coal miner and first-generation American, a son of foreigners, a Depression kid who never got over it, the second-oldest living member of the St. Theresa's Knights of Columbus hall, and a pick-and-shovel man from Appalachian Ohio. Spanning ninety years, the book explores the fellowship and hardship of Midwest Italian-Americans in the post-industrial Appalachian region of Ohio through the eyes of a son of immigrants.
Published by Cornerstone Press, Where Are Your People From? followed his 2015 novella Brotherhood, which explored the world of blue-collar railroad repairmen through the eyes of a recent college graduate. Published by Blue Cubicle Press, Brotherhood was longlisted for Shakespeare and Company's Paris Literary Prize.
A staff editor with Chagrin River Review, De Monte earned a Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University and taught at Columbus State Community College, in Sicily and Sardinia, at Central State University, and for the Wick Poetry Center, before joining the faculty at Lakeland Community College.
A former intern on Capitol Hill for Dennis Kucinich, De Monte’s short fiction has appeared in various publications, including Fjords Review.
James Renner is best known for his true crime journalism.
As a reporter for Cleveland Scene, he uncovered new clues and suspects in the cold-case murder of Amy Mihalejvic. His work led to the successful closure of the Tina Harmon case in 2009. He spent months researching the Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus abductions when the girls were still missing and is haunted by the fact that he had Ariel Castro's name in his notes.
Renner, author of the critically acclaimed True Crime Addict and creator/host of the podcasts True Crime This Week and The Philosophy of Crime, delves into the unsolved murder of 16-year-old Lisa Pruett in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in his latest book, a true crime thriller titled Little, Crazy Children.
With Little, Crazy Children, Renner delivers a painstakingly researched account of a senseless and heartbreaking tragedy that took place in September 1990. Pruett, a poetry lover and member of a church youth group, was on her way to a midnight tryst with her boyfriend, when she was viciously stabbed to death only thirty feet from the boy’s home.
The murder cast a palpable gloom over the upscale community and sparked accusations, theories, and rumors among Lisa’s friends and peers. Together they wove a damning narrative that circled back to a likely suspect who without a shred of evidence was arrested, charged, and tried for the crime. His eventual acquittal didn’t squelch the anger and outrage among those who believed that Kevin got away with murder.
What emerges from the book is a portrait of a community seething with dark undercurrents—its single-minded authorities, protective status-conscious parents, and the deeply peer-pressured teens within Lisa’s circle.
Renner, who has also penned two novels – The man from Primrose Lane and The Great Forgetting – is also the founder of The Porchlight Project, a nonprofit that raises money for new DNA testing of cold cases in Ohio.
ABOUT THE FOGLE AUTHOR SERIES
The annual Fogle Author Series is made possible by the generosity of the late Mr. Esmond E. Fogle.
Fogle was a graduate of Wadsworth High School and Mount Union where he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Fogle was a past president of Robertson Heating Supply in Alliance. For sixteen years, Mr. Fogle served on the Board of Trustees at Rodman Public Library. He owned an extensive personal library which reflected his expansive reading tastes.
Upon his passing at the age of 86 on August 12, 2013, money was designated from his estate to the Greater Alliance Foundation to support worthwhile projects in the community.
In 2014, the Greater Alliance Foundation Trustees approved a proposal by Rodman Library to bring authors to Alliance to augment our outreach to the community, and to allow readers to connect with authors in an intimate setting and more personal way. Different genres of writing reflecting the varied reading tastes of Alliance area readers are represented by the visiting authors.
Rodman Public Library is grateful to the Foundation and the Fogle family for their support of the series.