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OC Library to Host Festival of Books

The Ohio County Public Library will host the inaugural Upper Ohio Valley Book Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.

Five award-winning authors will speak at this free event. Authors will then lead workshops for those interested in writing and publishing in the areas of graphic novels, poetry or non-fiction. Book vendors will also be on-site, offering participants a wide array of local and regional publications.

The organizers saw a need, especially in light of the discontinuation of a similar festival in Charleston. “It is our hope to continue the legacy of the West Virginia Book Festival in some small way by promoting an interest in regional books, authors and publishing,” festival organizer Cheryl Harshman said. “The idea for this book festival grows from the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission and its work to support, nurture and promote all the arts in the greater Wheeling area.”

New York Times best-selling novelist Sharyn McCrumb will be the keynote speaker and will take the main stage at 1 p.m. She will be accompanied by singer and fiddle player Jack Hinshelwood to present her internationally acclaimed “Words and Music” program, which brings together the ballads that are woven throughout McCrumb’s novels with Hinshelwood performing the ballads as Sharyn reads and discusses her work.

“In her depiction of the southern Appalachians, Sharyn McCrumb is both accurate and sympathetic,” festival organizer Bonnie Thurston said. “Few contemporary writers manage this delicate balance so well. Her ballad novels are classics, and her many awards for regional writing are well deserved. Hers is a presentation we are fortunate to have and not to be missed. She is one of the brightest and best of our Appalachian writers.”

Other participating authors will be: Doug Van Gundy (poetry), Daniel Boyd (graphic novels), and Geoffrey Fuller and Daleen Berry (non-fiction). These authors will lead afternoon workshops focusing on their areas of expertise.

Those interested in the attending the workshop sessions can reserve a seat by calling the library at 304-232-0244, sending an email through the library’s web site at www.ohiocountylibrary.org, or by visiting the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uovbookfest.

The festival will be held on the lower level of the Ohio County Public Library at 52 16th St. in Wheeling. All programs and workshops are free and open to the public. A light lunch will be available for purchase on-site. Publishers and writers wanting to reserve a table in the vendor area should contact the library.

The event is co-sponsored by the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission, through its History and Literature Committee.

Other sponsors for the event include the West Virginia Library Commission and the Center for the Book, the Elbin Library at West Liberty University, the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation and private donors.

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