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Weekend book fair offers something for everyone

From the casual reader to the aspiring author, the Ohio River Festival of Books offers something for every book lover Saturday.

Libraries from across the Tri-State have joined together for the event to attract more than 100 local and national authors to sign books, present creativity workshops, read poetry, appraise books and provide children's programs.

"The festival offers a real combination that I do not think you find at other book fairs in this area," said Margot Durbin, chair of the festival committee. "It is a really an impressive collection of authors. "

"If you attend the festival it will give you a good feel for the literature of this region."

Admission is free and open to anyone. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the festival ends at 6 p.m. Organizers expect more than 3,000 people to attend, Durbin said.

Creativity workshops and programs will cover a variety of topics including mystery writing in Appalachia, short stories, religion in the region, the Civil War, writing biographies, poetry, memoirs and much more.

Jack Walsdorf will discuss book collecting and appraise books brought in by audience members. Only two books will be evaluated per person.

Attending authors include Pulitzer nominee Allan W. Eckert, children's novelist George Ella Lyon, New York Times best-selling author Linda Lael Miller, Ashland Community College professors Joe Napora and Philip St. Clair,

West Virginian novelist Chuck Kinder, upcoming talent Silas House, poet and author Terry Ryan, humorist Soupy Sales and many more.

Childrens' activities will be offered all day, highlighted by Madcap Puppets from Cincinnati at 11 a.m. and Poetry ALive! at 1 p.m.

Book lovers can get up close and personal with authors at a reception Friday. Tickets for the reception cost $25.

Participating libraries include the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library, Ohio Valley Area Libraries, FIVCO Big Sandy (Ky.) Regional Library and the Cabell County Public Library.

Susan Wetter, adult services coordinator, at the Briggs Library Main Branch said that the festival has been in the works for about a year and they have been involved from the beginning.

"We thought it would be awesome because we do not have anything like that here," Wetter said.

Wetter said the idea was envisioned as an ongoing thing that would rotate between the three states. If Briggs is able to host the event next year, it would like to do it in conjunction with Ohio's bicentennial celebration.

"It is a great thing for a library to be involved in," she said. "It is about celebrating literature."

A complete schedule of guests and events is available online at www.ohioriverbooks.org.