OWU professor nominated for Ohioana Book Award


Amy Butcher, Ohio Wesleyan University’s director of creative writing, is one of five finalists for the 2022 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction for her best-selling book, “Mothertrucker.” The Ohioana Awards are among the oldest and most prestigious in the nation.

Beginning June 1, the Ohioana Library Association will profile all of its 2022 finalists with a “30 Books, 30 Days” social media feature. Also in June, Ohioana will invite people to vote for their favorite finalist book as part of its Readers’ Choice Award poll.

Butcher’s book – “Mothertrucker: Finding Joy on the Loneliest Road in America – explores the life of Joy Wiebe, Instagram’s “Mothertrucker” and the only woman driving a fuel tanker on northern Alaska’s treacherous Dalton Highway before she was killed in a rollover accident in 2018. Simultaneously, the book documents Butcher’s journey to understand and escape from intimate partner violence.

According to the Washington Independent Review of Books, “Mothertrucker” is a “master class in the power of brutally honest writing.” In addition, acclaimed author Kiese Laymon said of Butcher’s book: “I used to wonder what it would feel like to read a nonfictive piece of art that read like a literary novel, a mystery, a feature, the best of travel writing and welcoming theory. Now I know.”

Even while she was still writing “Mothertrucker,” Butcher earned an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, with judges deeming her work “well researched,” “very well-written,” and “a positive antidote to the trauma of violence against women.”

In addition, “Mothertrucker” was named an Amazon First Pick selection, and it became an Amazon No. 1 bestseller in the memoir, travel writing, and feminist theory categories.

Of her work, Butcher said: “The life of a writer can be such a solitary and lonely thing, if you don’t consciously push against it and seek to willfully engage with your community. But it’s another thing altogether when your work resonates with that community. (I’m) beyond grateful to learn that ‘Mothertrucker’ has been named a finalist for the Ohioana Book Award.”

The 2022 winners will be announced in July with an awards ceremony planned for Oct. 26 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

An associate professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan, Butcher joined the university’s faculty in 2014. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa.

In addition to “Mothertrucker,” Butcher also is the author of “Visiting Hours: A Memoir of Friendship and Murder,” and her essays have appeared in outlets including Harper’s, The New York Times, Granta, The Washington Post, The Denver Post, The American Scholar, and Lit Hub.

Learn more about the 81st annual Ohioana Awards at www.ohioana.org. Learn more about Butcher, Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of English, and its creative writing concentration at www.owu.edu/English.


Special to The Gazette

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