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West Virginia Book Festival will be virtual event

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — This year’s West Virginia Book Festival has decided to go virtual due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, officials said.

The free event will still be held Oct. 22-23 at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, but events will be hosted online, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

“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 statement. “Instead, book festival presentations will be streamed live online, so book lovers can still engage with our renowned literary guests.”

Some of the authors scheduled to appear include Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead, best-selling author and West Virginia native Homer Hickam, and children’s author Jon Scieszka.