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News and Events

Short Story Structure and Brainstorming with Nancy Zafris

April 26th, 2013

Nancy Zafras for webAward-winning author, series editor for the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction, and manuscript consultant, Nancy Zafris will offer a fun and challenging workshop examining short story structure and using in-class prompts to generate new work. Over 40 stories written in Nancy’s workshops from her unique prompts have been published in print and online journals, including The Kenyon ReviewThe JournalMid-American ReviewStoryQuarterly, and many others.

Friday, May 31
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

Note the location change:
Visual Arts Center of Richmond
Weinstein Room
1812 West Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Free parking available both behind the building and on the street


The Art of the Narrative with David L. Robbins

April 26th, 2013

David Robbins

Best-selling and award-winning author, professor of creative writing, and co-founder of James River Writers and The Podium Foundation, David L. Robbins will conduct a series of eight short fiction workshops weekly for advanced adult writers. The focus will be on craft, self-editing, and the structural components of good storytelling.

Wednesday evenings, June 12–August 7, 2013
(Class will not meet June 19.)
6:30 p.m.—9:00 p.m.
VCU Honors College
Registration deadline: Wednesday, June 5  (more…)

Road to Publication: Meet Debut Novelist Rhonda Riley

April 18th, 2013

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
11:00-12:00 p.m.
Free admission, please register
The University of Richmond Downtown

James River Writers is proud to partner with The Junior League of Richmond to present debut novelist Rhonda Riley to discuss her work, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope: A Novel, to be published by Harper Collins on April 23, 2013. Author and JRW Chair Bill Blume will moderate a discussion about how Riley sold the novel, the process of finding an agent, and her work with her editor.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch calls The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope an “unforgettable novel… filled with memorable characters and passages of startling beauty” (see review). (more…)

The March 2013 Writing Show Recap: Killing Your Darlings: How to Handle Violence in Your Stories

April 18th, 2013

JRW’s March Writing Show presented a panel of authors discussing violence in writing, a topic influenced by the recent school shootings. The panelists included Bill Blume, Howard Owen, Hermine Pinson, and Mary Burton. Moderator Douglas Jones guided an exploration of subjects ranging from audience, accuracy, and what it’s like to kill your characters. During the last part of the show, audience members seized the opportunity to ask their own questions. (more…)

Lydia Netzer

April 17th, 2013

Lydia NetzerAn astronaut lost in space, his pregnant wife who has been bald since birth, their autistic son and a street of seemingly perfect neighbors.

Author Lydia Netzer has peopled her debut novel — Shine Shine Shine — with a cast of offbeat characters whose differences illuminate the universal need to connect with others while remaining true to one’s self. Netzer uses math creatively to explain relationships and she sets part of her story in space, but Shine Shine Shine is not science fiction. It is a tale of love, motherhood and what it means to be human.

Shine Shine Shine was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and an Amazon Spotlight Book of the Month. It was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction. Netzer will participate in JRW Annual Conference in October 2013 and was interviewed in April 2013 by Kathleen Sams Flippen, a design blogger who can be found at A Flippen Life.

QUESTION 1: You have stated in other interviews that you conceived the idea for Shine Shine Shine when you were pregnant with your first child and worried that you were too “weird” to be a mother. You wanted to explore the idea of transitioning from woman to wife and wife to mother and the need many people feel to hide their oddities and present themselves as “normal.” Was there any specific incident that made you realize none of us is perfect and it’s okay to stop pretending and “rip your wig off”, as your character Sunny does?

I definitely survived many moments of trying to cram the wig on my head although it didn’t properly fit! The casseroles I tried to make from scratch because that’s what the “good” wife does; the lunch party I tried to host using all my mother’s china for the other moms on the block who showed up in capris and t-shirts wondering why they were drinking soda out of crystal; the many outfits I have tried to put together where my shoes and my sweater have a working relationship; the quilts I tried to make. It was a little scary there for a while. (more…)

April 2013 Writing Show: The Writer Whisperer: Therapeutic Advice for All Manner of Writerly Woes

April 4th, 2013

The Writing Show

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Pencil by Kathleen Sams Flippen


Are you exhausted by your own mind? Struggling with writer’s block? Dejected by rejection? Do you need encouragement and solutions? Learn from writers who have been there and come out the other side. Join us for this month’s Writing Show for a healthy dose of inspiration on how to cope, from storming through that first draft to facing the publication process.