Big Things For ‘Little Things’

The West Virginia Center for the Book at the West Virginia Library Commission has selected “The King of Little Things” by area author Bil Lepp to represent the state at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Lepp, who lives in Charleston, is an internationally-known storyteller and humorist and the recipient of the Storytelling Circle of Excellence Award. His parents are the Rev. John and Sally Lepp of Glen Dale.

The author also is a five-time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest. He is scheduled to tell tales this afternoon, before the liars’ contest, at the 38th annual Vandalia Gathering in Charleston.

“The King of Little Things,” which won the 2013 Parents’ Choice Award for picture books, is the state’s selection for the National Book Festival’s “Discover Great Places Through Reading Map.”

Cedar Sands, a student from New Martinsville, will be honored at the State Culture Center in Charleston Tuesday, May 27, in a program called Letters About Literature, a national writing challenge for students in grades 4-10. Sands is the state winner in the competition’s Level 3, for grades 9-10.

Approximately 69,000 students across the nation competed in the event this year. In West Virginia, 776 students submitted letters to the competition, officials said.

The West Virginia Humanities Council, co-sponsor of the event, will award $100 to each top winner. State winners will go on to the national competition, where the top prize is $1,000.

Young readers participate in Letters About Literature by writing letters to the authors of their favorite books, fiction or nonfiction, explaining how the author’s work has been important to them.

Sands wrote to the late J.R.R. Tolkien about “The Hobbit,” stating: “I was living like a hobbit. I was not going out of my hobbit-hole, much less the Shire. I was not going out there exploring Middle Earth and all its wonders because of one little thing, worry.”

Looking ahead, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s 2014-15 TRUST Cabaret Series will feature a performance by Ann Hampton Callaway, a noted cabaret artist with Northern Panhandle connections.

Callaway, a singer, pianist, composer, actress, educator, TV host and producer, will appear at Cabaret at Theater Square in Pittsburgh on April 13. Her performances always attract a strong following from fans in the tri-state area.

Her father, the late John Callaway, lived in Wheeling and New Martinsville as a youth, then achieved professional fame in Chicago. Her grandfather, the late “Cab” Callaway, was a columnist for the News-Register.

Linda Comins can be reached via email at: