Wheeling to Host Second Book Festival

Two award-winning authors will speak at the second annual Upper Ohio Valley Festival of Books scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Ohio County Public Library.

The event also will include local and regional authors leading afternoon workshops in their areas of expertise, and a variety of writers, publishers and booksellers will also be on-site to offer an opportunity to network and browse a wide array of local and regional publications.

The idea for the Upper Ohio Valley Festival of Books grew from the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission and its work to support, nurture, and promote all the Arts in the greater Wheeling area.


The keynote speaker (at noon) will be Thrity Umrigar, the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, The Weight of Heaven, The World We Found and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning.  Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is the Armington Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Thrity was born in Bombay, India and came to the U.S. when she was 21. After earning a M.A. in journalism, she worked for several years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer. She also earned a Ph.D. in English.

The festival’s first speaker (at 10 AM) will be Brandon Marie Miller, an award-winning author of U. S. History for young people. She earned a degree in American History from Purdue University and now lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her books have been honored by the International Reading Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the Society for School Librarians International, Voices of Youth Advocates, Bank Street College, and the Junior Library Guild. Miller regularly visits schools to discuss history and writing with students of all ages. She has presented at state and national conferences for teachers and librarians. Her books include, Women of the Frontier, George Washington for Kids, Thomas Jefferson for Kids, and Benjamin Franklin, American Genius, all published by the Chicago Review Press.

Books written by Umrigar and Miller, will be available for purchase and signing by the authors at the event.

Miller will lead a 1:30 PM workshop on writing history and biography (not just for kids). She’ll cover selecting a topic, research, organizing materials, writing and revision.

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At 2:30 PM, local history researcher and writer Jeanne Finstein will present a workshop in the Wheeling Room. This session will focus on researching local history using library resources, public records, and online sources. A sample research project will be used to illustrate the process. Jeanne Finstein, Ed.D., is an amateur historian and president of Friends of Wheeling, co-author of Walking Pleasant Valley, editor of Wheeling During the Civil War, frequent presenter of programs featuring Wheeling history, and organizer of local cemetery and house tours.

Writers or Publishers interested in reserving a table in the Writers’ Room or patrons interested in attending the workshop sessions may call the library at 304-232-0244, send an email through the “Contact Us” page at the library’s web site at www.ohiocountylibrary.org, or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uovbookfest.

The full schedule for the Upper Ohio Valley Festival of Books on Saturday, November 14 at the Ohio County Public Library is as follows:


9-10 AM:                    Writers’ Room Setup.

10 AM to 4 PM:         Writers’ Room Open! Network with authors and publishers and buy books!

10 AM:                       Brandon Marie Miller, “Writing History for Young People.” (Auditorium)

11:30-1:30 PM           Lunch Available for Purchase in the Classroom

12:00 PM:                  Thrity Umrigar, “The Writing Life”

1:30 PM:                    Workshop: “Writing History and Biography” with Brandon Marie Miller

(Hazel Atlas Glass Room)

2:30 PM:                    Workshop: “Researching and Writing Local History” with Jeanne Finstein (Wheeling Room)

10 AM to 4 PM:         Writers’ Room Open! Network with authors and publishers and buy books!


The festival will be held on the lower level of the Ohio County Public Library at 52-16th Street in Wheeling. All programs and workshops are free and open to the public. A light lunch will be available for purchase on-site from 11:30 to 1:30.

The event is co-sponsored by the City of 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 Friends of Elbin Library, the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation, the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Ohio County Public Library, and private donors. The project is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in West Virginia by the State Librarian.