Book Signing

Nancy Abrams

Nancy L. Abrams will be signing copies of her memoir, The Climb from Salt Lick, from 11am-12:30pm outside the Craft Shop.

In the mid-1970s, Nancy L. Abrams, a young photojournalist from the Midwest, plunges into life as a small-town journalist in West Virginia. She befriends the hippies on the commune one mountaintop over, rents a cabin in beautiful Salt Lick Valley, and falls in love with a local boy, wrestling to balance the demands of a job and a personal life. She learns how to survive in Appalachia—how to heat with coal and wood, how to chop kindling, plant a garden, and preserve produce.

The Climb from Salt Lick is the remarkable memoir of an outsider coming into adulthood. It is the story of a unique place and its people from the perspective of a woman who documents its burdens and its beauty, using words and pictures to tell the rich stories of those around her.

William Hal Gorby

Dr. Hal Gorby will be signing copies of his book, Wheeling’s Polonia: Reconstructing Polish Community in a West Virginia Steel Town, from 12:30pm-2:00pm outside the Craft Shop.

Dr. Gorby is a historian of West Virginia and Appalachia, whose work focuses on the role of immigrants in the state’s steel and coal mining industries, particularly during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His book Wheeling’s Polonia: Reconstructing Polish Community in a West Virginia Steel Town (WVU Press, 2020) examines the Polish and other Eastern European immigrants in Wheeling, and the process of forging a distinct Catholic working class culture in the wider region. Polish immigrants and their children were one of the most prominent of the new ethnic groups in the Upper Ohio Valley. Their Polish-American culture sustained them during the nativism of the 1920’s. The Polish were persistently targeted by dry agents during Prohibition, and many openly violated the law, which targeted their ethnic Catholic culture as un-American. Out of these trying times, the Polish-Americans served as a major catalyst behind CIO union organizing at Wheeling Steel in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

His current work continues to focus on working class history as well as the modern political economy in West Virginia during what he calls the “Age of Globalization,” as the state’s economy began to be affected by global economic changes from the 1970’s well into the 2000’s.

Dr. Gorby has also worked on various public history projects. He worked for over a year conducting research, fact-checking, and consulting for the recent PBS American Experience documentary The Mine Wars (2016), which received an Emmy nomination for research. He also hosted and researched for a podcast called “Henry: The Life and Times of Wheeling’s Most Notorious Brewer,” produced by Wheeling Heritage Media.

Doug Van Gundy

Come get a book signed by WV author Doug Van Gundy at the New Deal Festival! He’ll be signing books outside of the Craft Shop from 2pm – 3:30pm.

Doug Van Gundy’s poems and essays have appeared in many journals, including The Oxford American, The Guardian, Ecotone, Poems & Plays and The Louisville Review. His first book of poems, A Life Above Water, is published by Red Hen Press. He is the co-editor of Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Contemporary Writing from West Virginia, published by Vandalia Press. A graduate of the Goddard College MFA program, Doug has been a visiting poet at Middle Tennessee State University, Lynchburg College, Randolph Macon College, Barton College, Coastal Carolina University and Davis & Elkins College, and was an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. In addition to writing and teaching, Doug is an award-winning old-time musician whose music has been featured on three CDs, several films, and National Public Radio’s Mountain Stage. He plays fiddle, guitar and mandolin in the duo, Born Old.