Laurel Ridge Community College hosting first Holiday Book Fair at Middletown Campus

For Immediate Release:
November 22, 2022

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

Read Local. Shop Local.
Among the local authors selling their books at the fair, are several Laurel Ridge employees.

Just in time for the holidays, Laurel Ridge Community College is hosting a Holiday Book Fair, 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, on the Middletown Campus. About 50 local authors are participating in the first of what is sure to become an annual holiday tradition.

Readers will have the opportunity to chat with local authors and browse their offerings in the Corron Community Development Center. The authors will have their own books available to sell, or coordinate sales through Winchester Book Gallery.

In his role as development officer at Laurel Ridge, Andy Gyurisin has made connections with community members and donors, many of whom have written books.

“So many of them were asking if there was a way to get involved more with the college,” said Gyurisin. “I thought to myself, what about a big author event? I thought about my old days at the bookstore when I owned the Winchester Book Gallery, and we did a similar sort of event.”

In coordinating the book fair, he learned just how many college employees were also authors.

“It was a neat sort of way to discover who our local authors were, especially within the Laurel Ridge community,” Gyurisin said. “To me, that’s exciting to be able to say these are the sort of quality of faculty and staff that we have here at the college.”

Among these high-caliber employees are Professor Ann Simpson and her husband, Rob, who is retired from the college. They will be at the fair with nine of their books, ranging from coffee table books, to nature guides, to children’s fare.

“This is really exciting for Laurel Ridge,” Professor Simpson said. “It’s important to let the community know that there are local writers in the area. And, it’s an important way for Laurel Ridge to reach out to our community to provide this type of service for the arts because writing really is a type of art.”

In her retirement following 25 years as Frederick County Commissioner of the Revenue, Ellen Murphy has written three volumes of Civil War stories and six books on early nineteenth-century England.

“I’ve always loved reading and had a lot of stories in mind and got some encouragement from some people I knew, so I put pen to paper,” she said. “I’m prolific!”

Murphy’s Civil War stories are fictional, but drawn from real-life figures, including her great-aunt who had married a drummer boy in the Union Army. She recalls her great-aunt being one of just five Civil War widows drawing a pension in her own lifetime.

The books being offered during the fair run the gamut from historical fiction, to nonfiction, to poetry, to children’s literature, to fantasy, to thrillers, to nature and photography, and everything in between.

“This is the perfect opportunity to do some holiday shopping, support local authors and visit the community college if it’s been a while since you’ve done so,” said Gyurisin.

Learn more about the book fair at


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.