West Virginia Book Festival

Program to focus on writing for teens, children

Fran Cannon Slayton used her family’s stories to break into the young adult/children’s book publishing business. She’ll talk about how other writers can use the same technique at the West Virginia Book Festival in the Charleston Civic Center on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2:30 p.m.

Slayton will help attendees identify stories from their own lives that may be good topics for books, offer writing tips and provide information about the children’s and young adult book publishing business. Her presentation, “Writing Books for Kids, Tweens and Teens: Mining Memories, Honing Craft and Exploring the Nuts and Bolts of Publishing,” will cover how to format a manuscript, how to know when a manuscript is ready, how to submit to editors and agents, and how to find a community of writers for encouragement and support.

Slayton is a Virginian by birth and a West Virginian by lineage. Her novel, “When the Whistle Blows,” is loosely based upon her father’s experiences growing up as the son of a B&O Railroad foreman in Rowlesburg, W.Va. in the 1940s. Full of Halloween excitement and adventure, “When the Whistle Blows” has been described as a masterpiece by Kirkus in a starred review. Slayton’s novel is a finalist for 2012 book awards in Virginia, Alabama, Illinois and Maryland.

Best-selling thriller writer Lee Child, basketball legend Jerry West, former Secret Service agents Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill, and self-help author Dave Pelzer have already been announced as part of the line-up for the festival, which will be held Oct. 22 and 23 at the Charleston Civic Center. The annual, two-day event celebrates books and reading and offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and lectures. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free.

The event is presented by Kanawha County Public Library, The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., the West Virginia Humanities Council, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail and is sponsored by The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, Segal & Davis Family Foundation, Pam Tarr and Gary Hart, Target, Wal-Mart, BB&T West Virginia Foundation and Borders Express. For more information, visit www.wvbookfestival.org.