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Book Fair

Shoppers at the West Virginia Book Festival look through local books from the West Virginia Book Co. in this file photo. Organizers have announced the 2021 book festival will become a virtual event.

CHARLESTON — The 2021 West Virginia Book Festival will now be a virtual event, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

The free event, originally scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23 at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, will still take place that weekend, but events will be hosted online.

“The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, presenters and sponsors is our top priority, and due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Kanawha County, we felt it was prudent to cancel in-person activities this year,” festival co-chair Sarah Mitchell said in a news release. “Instead, book festival presentations will be streamed live online, so book lovers can still engage with our renowned literary guests.”

Authors scheduled to appear at this year’s Book Festival include two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead, children’s author Jon Scieszka, author and singer Josh Malerman, bestselling author and West Virginia native Homer Hickam, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and author Eric Eyre and West Virginia native and author Denise Giardina.

Writing workshops and presentations will also be held virtually.

Logistics on the online events are currently being worked out, and updated schedules and details will be announced in the coming weeks.

The used book sale, festival marketplace and children’s play area will not be held this year.

The West Virginia Book Festival, first held in 2001, is presented by the Kanawha County Public Library, the Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., the West Virginia Humanities Council and the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Other sponsors include West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the West Virginia Library Commission, The West Virginia Center for the Book, the H. B. Wehrle Foundation, the Marshall University Foundation, the Friends of the Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., TC Energy, Greylock Energy and Encova Insurance.

For further updates on the 2021 West Virginia Book Festival, visit wvbookfestival.org.

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