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Bearing Witness: Art as Social Justice

April 19th, 2016

Bearing Witness: Art as Social Justice


We do not write in isolation. The personal stories we tell can impact our community and add to the connected-ness of a wider society. In this guided writing session, discussion and Q&A, learn the story behind the stories of Writing Our Way Out, and of how the simple act of picking up a pen and putting down words can effect social change.


David Coogan and co-authors of Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs from Jail

David Coogan in front of Richmond City JailDavid Coogan is an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University where he teaches courses in writing and the teaching of writing. He is the founder and co-director of Open Minds: Shared Inquiries, Shared Hope, a program that enables college students and prisoners at the Richmond City Jail to take courses in the Humanities together. His essays on writing, teaching and social change have appeared in the journals College Composition and Communication, College English, and Community Literacy, and in the book, Active Voices, (edited by Patty Malesh and Sharon Stetson). He is the co-editor with John Ackerman of The Public Work of Rhetoric: Citizen Scholars and Civic Engagement. And he is a frequent speaker at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the Rhetoric Society of America, and the National Communication Association.

Date and time

June 9, 2016
7:00 to 9:00 pm

This event is free. No ticket is required.


Patrick Henry Pub & Grille
2300 E Broad St, Richmond, Virginia 23223
Admission is free.

About Literary Salons

James River Writers and The Poe Museum present

A new place to find inspiration this year

We’re bringing back the grand tradition of the literary salon, an intimate setting to meet & fraternize with local authors and artists, as they in turn guide you in your own writing practice. Whatever your genre, this is a great way to connect, to learn, and to philosophize.

Salons are organized by topic and are held on the second Thursday of every other month, February, April, June, August, and October. There is no cover charge for these events. We welcome writerly types of all experience levels and readers, thinkers, and artists of every sort. Be sure to bring your favorite writing implements.

For more information, visit Literary Salons.

Best Self-Published Novel Contest Is Back for 2016!

April 6th, 2016


James River Writers recognizes the writing talents and entrepreneurial skills of indie authors by continuing The Best Self-Published Novel Contest, which we started in 2014.

The contest will be conducted in alternating (even) years with the Best Unpublished Novel Contest.

Contest Details

One first-prize winner will receive $500 and a ticket to the annual James River Writers Conference. The winner will be announced in October 2016 at the James River Writers Conference. Press releases will also recognize the winner.

Two finalists each receive $200.


To pay the $25 entry fee with a credit card, use the “Register Today” button below. Once you have submitted payment, you will receive a receipt via email. Print your receipt and follow the guidelines below to mail in your submission. To pay with a check, follow the guidelines below.




To submit an entry, the author must be a JRW member or a full-time student at a Virginia college or university. You may join at the same time as paying your entry fee by using the “Register Today” button above or by including an additional $40 in your check amount. (more…)

2016 Conference Dates Announced!

April 4th, 2016

JRWC_2015_5Hold the dates! The 14th annual James River Writers Conference will be October 14-16, 2016.

Master Classes on October 14

General Sessions at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on October 15 & 16

Registration opens in early summer. Be sure to sign up for Get Your Word On, our e-newsletter, to get all the updates!


May 25 Writing Show: Editing for Emotional Impact

April 2nd, 2016

Editing for Emotional Impact graphic - a lightning bolt hitting a treeEditors and agents are looking for a book they can fall in love with. They want a character they care about and a story that makes them feel something. But how does an author accomplish that? May’s Writing Show is all about identifying important moments in your story and nailing them. We’ll talk about big issues like pacing and voice, and we’ll talk about zooming in on a scene and capitalizing on opportunities for surprise, humor, or emotional intensity. Published authors will share their secrets for tapping into emotions that will bring heart to any story.




Anne Blankman, Sadeqa Johnson, Ginger Moran, and Moderator Robin Farmer

Anne Blankman, Sadeqa Johnson, Ginger Moran, and Moderator Robin Farmer




6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meet & Greet at 6:00; program starts at 6:45)


Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street


$12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)



Anne Blankman profile photo

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn’t writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.



Sadeqa Johnson profile photoSadeqa Johnson, a former public relations manager, spent several years working with well-known authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag is the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction. Second House From the Corner is her second novel and was released on February 9th. She’s been living in Richmond for 11 months and so far she loves it, except when the schools close for an of inch of snow!


Ginger Moran profile photoGinger Moran is a teacher, published writer, and single mom of two boys. Her areas of expertise are in fiction and creative nonfiction writing, editing, and creative survival. With a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing, Ginger teaches fiction and memoir writing at the university level and with private clients. She has published in, Oxford American, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Feminist Studies among other journals and magazines. Her first novel, The Algebra of Snow, was nominated for a Pushcart Editor’s Choice Award.


Robin Farmer profile photoRobin Farmer is a freelance professional writer, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post,, College of William and Mary Alumni Magazine, Richmond Magazine, and Black MBA Magazine. She has written thousands of stories as a reporter for the Hartford Courant and The Richmond Times Dispatch.  Her investigative projects and education coverage led to her selection as one of 12 American journalists chosen for a year of customized study and international travel as a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. Robin has taught journalism and lectured at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a seasoned storyteller, she also enjoys writing screenplays and is a member of the Virginia Screenwriters Forum.

2016 Writing Show Season Announced

November 10th, 2015

TWritingShow_logoColorThe 2015 Writing Show season was a success with good attendance, great knowledge and a fantastic venue with our partner Firehouse Theatre.

For 2016, we are staying at Firehouse Theatre and sticking with our last Wednesday of the month from January through September schedule. All the new JRW membership options offer some passes to the Writing Show. If you are a frequent attendee, check with Phil Hilliker at about renewing your membership before the season begins.

Firehouse Theatre, is located at 1609 West Broad Street beginning in February. Free parking is available across the Street from Firehouse in the Lowe’s parking lot.

The programming for 2016 was designed with your comments and suggestions in mind and is adapting to meet your writing craft and business needs.

Entertaining and interactive, The Writing Show has been described as:

  • Inside the Actor’s Studio meets the New York Times bestseller list.
  • The Tonight Show meets the art of writing.

It’s inspiring. It’s fun. And it’s only happening live in Richmond.

Click on the button below for season pass options.


Click here to register today!



6:00 pm – 9:00 pm  (6:00 to 6:45 – Social time 6:45 to 8:30 – Program)


Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street


$12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)


The 2016 Lineup

(Schedule subject to change due to speaker availability)

January 27 – Surprising Ways to Boost Your Creativity

February 24 – Love at First Line: How to Grab an Agent’s Attention on Page One

March 30 – Blogging in 2016

April 27 – Raising the Bard: What Every Writer Can Learn from William Shakespeare

May 25 – Editing for Emotional Impact

June 29 – Writer with a Capital W: Treating Yourself as a Professional

July 27 – TBA

August 31 – Strategies for Getting What You Want (i.e. a paycheck) Out of Writing

September 28 – The Power of Imagery: Show, Don’t Tell

Individual show tickets are $12/members and $15/non-members. Two free passes to the Writing Show are included with Traditional Membership or upgrade to the Writing Show Membership to receive a Season Pass for a savings of $47 a year. Already have a membership or want to give the Season Pass as a gift? Nine months of exceptional writing education are available for just $85.

Best Unpublished Novel Contest Winners Announced!

August 24th, 2015

Robin Williams, 1st Place Winner of the Best Unpublished Novel Contest

    Robin Traywick Williams

James River Writers is pleased to announce Robin Traywick Williams of Crozier, for The Key to the Quarter Pole, as the first place winner of the JRW and Richmond Magazine 2015 Best Unpublished Novel Contest. Gail Giewont, and Vivian Lawry, both of Richmond, have been selected as finalists for Unguided and Nettie’s Books, respectively.

The Best Unpublished Novel Contest, initially held in 2008 and now offered every other year, is at the heart of James River Writers’ mission of connecting and inspiring readers and writers. In the alternating years, James River Writers offers the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest and Best Self-published Novel Contest, providing exposure and encouragement to a wide range of Virginia’s author talent.