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Preston County publisher to hold virtual book festival

Headline Books holds first virtual book conference

TERRA ALTA — In response to the coronavirus pandemic, local publisher Headline Books is holding its first virtual book festival and conference. 

The conference will run from noon Saturday through 7 p.m. Nov. 21.

“It’s free on Facebook live,” on the Healdline Books Facebook page, Headline Books illustrator Ashley Teets said. “We’ll have autographed books available so you can work on your Christmas list, and you will be able to meet the authors and ask questions.”

Teets said due to the pandemic, live shows had to be canceled and a decision was made to go virtual.

“We’ll have between 50 to 100 authors participating on the panel discussion,” she said.

Cathy Teets, president of Headline Books, said Zoom Into Books was developed at the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown in March. 

“Our orders from distributors and online stores stopped as the country shut down, and all of our events were canceled, including the Preston County Buckwheat Festival, the West Virginia Book Festival in Charleston, the Texas Library Association Conference in Houston, the American Library Association National Conference in Chicago and the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte N.C.,”  Teets said.

“Small publishers scrambled to keep their businesses going.”

She found Zoom to be a good way to take books to the public. One of the authors, Diana Pishner Walker, will be reading some of her works  Saturday. Walker writes children’s books with Italian American themes. 

“My book ‘Spaghetti and Meatballs: Growing up Italian’ is a true story about growing up. It contains some family recipes,” she said. “It was illustrated by Ashley Belot. She took her illustrations from old family pictures.”

Walker also has a three- book series about a family of rabbits that immigrate from Italy to West Virginia. 

Another of her books is  “A Christmas Feast: A Fishy Tale.” It’s about two boys who go out to fish on Christmas Eve and have problems due to a storm. She said it has two fish recipes her family uses on Christmas Eve.

For more information or to request signed books, contact Walker at

Books are not all that can be found at Headline Books. Cathy Teets said it has a YouTube channel it offers to schools, book clubs and libraries.

“Schools, teachers, librarians, book clubs, etc., are welcome to contact me at cathy@headline to inquire about one of our authors doing a virtual event with them,”  Teets said. “They love to share their books and experiences.”

She recently published a book, “Voices From the Pandemic,” which is a collection and slice of life from Jan. 1 to June 30 by a varied group of writers, including sixth grade students from Kingwood.

 Teets said the book won a national award at the New York Book Festival. It is available at

Headline Books is  in Terra Alta and has been publishing books since 1988. Prior to that, the company was called Cheat River Publications Inc., and published its first book in 1985, “Killing Waters: The Great West Virginia Flood of 1985,” which went on to sell over 100,000 copies.

After releasing several non-fiction, regional titles, the company was dissolved and Headline Books Inc., began in 1988. The first title published by Headline Books was “A. James Manchin: A Biography of Controversy.” 

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