Your gift builds community. Make a donation today. January Writing Show: Befriending the Editing Scissors The Writing Show 2017 Season Passes now available! Kickoff 2017 with a Writers Wednesday Celebration!

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January 2017 Writing Show: Befriending the Editing Scissors

December 14th, 2016

Ever use ten words when five will do? Ever fear you’re being long-winded? Writers working across many forms and genres understand that editing should go far beyond dotting i’s and crossing t’s. Knowing when to pull out the editing scissors often makes the difference between writing that is okay and writing that is so sharp it cuts straight to the heart.


Wednesday, January 25, 2016


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)

Click here to register today!




Nathan Richardson profile postNathan M. Richardson is an accomplished performance poet and published author.  His published collections are “Likeness of Being” and “Twenty-one Imaginary T-shirts”.  Nathan teaches a variety of workshops for emerging writers and is the Head Coach of the Hampton Roads Youth Poets a division of the youth empowerment organization – Teens with a Purpose.

Nathan is preparing for his 3rd year of The Frederick Douglass Speaking Tour, in which he delivers a remarkable portrayal of the former slave, writer, orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  A short list of Nathan’s other affiliations include the Poetry Society of Virginia, Young Audiences of Virginia, and the Suffolk Arts League.


Gretchen Comba profile picGretchen Comba‘s fiction has appeared in a number of journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The North American Review. She is a recipient of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Prize for Short Fiction and the Yemassee Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Magazine. She received her MFA in Writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and she teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University.






Larand Lancaster profile picLarand Lancaster is President for the Richmond chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). She has experience in strategic communication, print publication management, web site management, branding and identity campaigns and graphic design for internal and external audiences. Currently, Larand works at a state government agency where she is responsible for employee communication, the intranet, and digital signage.




Picture of Editor Kris SpisakWith degrees from the College of William & Mary and the University of Richmond, Kris Spisak began her career as a college writing instructor; however, after six years in the classroom, she transitioned to professional writing and editing. Helping writers sharpen their craft was the driving force behind her book Get a Grip on your Grammar: 250 Writing and Editing Reminders for the Curious or Confused (Career Press, 2017). Kris is also pursuing the publication of her first novel and is the co-founder of Midlothian Web Solutions.




2017 Conference Dates Announced!

December 4th, 2016

JRWC_2015_5Hold the dates! The 15th annual James River Writers Conference will be October 13-15, 2017.

Master Classes on October 13

General Sessions at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on October 14 & 15

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


Now Accepting Submissions for the Poe Inspires Contest!

November 16th, 2016
Last year's judge, Bill Blume, with the coveted Golden Poes.

Last year’s judge, Bill Blume, with the coveted Golden Poes.

Need some inspiration to get you through the end of the year?

The Poe Museum and James River Writers are pleased to invite submissions to the second annual Edgar Allan Poe Flash Fiction and Poetry Contest.

Poe has been a major influence on authors as diverse as Arthur Conan Doyle and Neil Gaiman, and he continues to inspire new generations of artists. Has he been significant to your own development as a writer? Please send us poetry or flash fiction that demonstrate his influence, whether you’ve been inspired by Poe’s use of the grotesque, his theory of the unified effect, or his pioneering work in science fiction and the detective story. No matter what he wrote, Poe imbued his work with a relentless creative spirit—that’s what we’re hoping to find in your submissions.


JRW announces its 2016 Award Winners

November 2nd, 2016

James River Writers is pleased to announce its 2016 award winners. We congratulate all of these winners. They represent the best of the Central Virginia writing community.


Doug Jones

Doug Jones is the 2016 winner of the Emyl Jenkins Award. This award honors the memory of Emyl Jenkins, who passed away in 2010, by presenting an award to an outstanding individual who, as Emyl did, inspires a love of writing and writing education in Virginia. As stated in his nomination, Doug Jones is encouraging and thoughtful and has a talent for gently coaxing his students to explore and push their comfort zones with their writing. Jones holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia. He has taught at UVA, Theatre Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Virginia Opera, as well as in private schools in the Richmond area. Doug has also published short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and scripts for radio and video. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild and The Authors League of America.

Jo Allison receiving the Best Self-Published Novel Contest award at the JRW Conference.

Jo Allison receiving the Best Self-Published Novel Contest award at the JRW Conference. Photo by Caroline Brae.

The winners of the 2016 James River Writers’ Best Self-Published Novel Contest, judged by literary agent, Christopher Rhodes, with The Stuart Agency in NYC, are

First Place: Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl by Jo Allison

Second Place: Charlie Dead and the So-Called Zombie Apocalypse by Geoff Camphire

Third Place: Dust on the Bible by Bonnie Stanard

Of the first place winner, Christopher Rhodes said, “Jo Allison brings turn-of-the-century St. Louis alive with her fast-paced, historically accurate, and fiercely feminist Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl.” In addition to turning out her mystery series, Allison maintains a website dedicated to the micro-history of both 1910 and St. Louis: Topics range from what people wore to how they got around to the issues that they talked about. Allison also writes short stories and vignettes that support the novels—“between murders”—and those are available on



Zoa accepting the award for the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest.

Zoa accepting the award for the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest. Photo by Caroline Brae.

James River Writers and Richmond Magazine partner to announce Zoa as the winner of the Shann Palmer Poetry Contest, for his poem “A New Emotion.” Head judge and Virginia Poet Laureate, Ron Smith, said “Every time I come back to this poem, it moves me and intrigues me.” This contest, sponsored by James River Writers and Richmond Magazine, is named after Shann Palmer, a long-time JRW volunteer and board member, beloved poet, and a wild- and wise-hearted creative who shared her spirit and talents freely, inspiring and encouraging others in the literary community. She passed away in December 2013, and the contest (formerly “Best Poetry Contest”) was renamed in her honor the following year. A native of Ortonville, Michigan, Zoa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and literature at Eastern Michigan University. He works as a copy editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.





Great Ways to Keep the Conference Magic Going . . .

October 18th, 2016

Had a blast at the conference and want to keep that momentum and inspiration alive?


Purchase a 2017 Season Pass for The Writing Show!

2017 Line-up*

  • January 25: Befriending the Scissors: Cutting the Extraneous
  • February 22: The Professional Writer: Email Newsletters & Tapping Your Tribe
  • March 29: Fairytale Retellings & The Brothers Grimm
  • April 26: Finding Authenticity: Writing Outside Your Gender, Race, or Culture
  • May 31: The Squishy Middle: Keeping Your Readers Captivated
  • June 28: Examining the Writing Marketplace: Micro to Mid-sized Publishers
  • July 26: The Art of the Start: Finding the Entry-point to your Story
  • August 30: Playing with Language: Tools & Techniques for Creative Play
  • September 27: Stepping Up to the Stage: Public Speaking for Writers

Two Great Ways to Save!

  • Purchase a Writing Show Membership for $125. It includes your traditional JRW membership and admittance to all nine shows of the 2017 season.
  • Or purchase a Writing Show Season Pass for $85. Membership is not included, but you still get nine shows and save over 20%!

*Topics are subject to change.
Click here to register today!


Literary Salon: Stories from the Shadows: Writing What Haunts Us

October 18th, 2016






During Stories from the Shadows: Writing What Haunts Us, the last literary salon of 2016, we will be serenaded by stories of Richmond’s dark past. Then, spooky writer extraordinaire, Julie Geen, will guide participants through prompts to write our own tales. Exercises are designed to tickle your genre of choice (we use the term “stories” loosely), and to push the borders of your comfort zone. Select participants will be invited to share their writings at the 2017 Poe Birthday Bash celebration in January.

Exorcise your macabre side on Thursday, October 20, from 7-9 PM at Patrick Henry Pub & Grille (in the upstairs salon, of course!), 2300 E. Broad St., RVA 23223.


Julie Geen writes for Richmond’s Style Weekly and had two columns in belle magazine, before she went to the print media graveyard. One of them won a Virginia Press Award and she got to eat chicken at a banquet. She has an essay in the anthology “Ask Me About My Divorce”, although she did not get a divorce. Julie is also published in the anthology “Tarnished:True Stories of Innocence Lost.” Her zombie short story titled “Damn Whore Shoes” is in “Richmond Macabre Volume II.”  Divorce, lost innocence and zombies.

Date and time

Thursday, October 20, 2016
7:00 to 9:00 pm


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.