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News and Events

Guidelines for E-newsletter and Literary Events Calendar submissions

May 28th, 2013

Get Your Word On is the monthly e-newsletter of James River Writers, co-edited by Membership Coordinator, Phillip Hilliker and volunteer, Janet Wooldridge. Janet Wooldridge edits Member News, the Opportunities section, and the Literary Events Calendar. Please sign-up for Get Your Word On today if you haven’t already!

Your contributions are welcome! Please follow the below guidelines. (more…)

May 2013 Writing Show: River of Dust: The Gritty Truth About Editing

May 24th, 2013

The Writing Show

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Pencil by Kevin Yuan


Have you reached the point when you can’t look at your manuscript a moment longer? It may be time for a fresh pair of eyes—and not just anyone’s. But what does working with a professional editor entail, and how will you feel about the result?

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series delves deep into the editing process that resulted in the publication of Virginia Pye’s debut novel. River of Dustselected as an Indie Next Pick and to be released on May 14, has been hailed by Annie Dillard as “terrific, tremendous, wonderful…a strong, beautiful, deep book.”

Pye, local to Richmond, and her editor, visiting award-winning author Nancy Zafris, a manuscript consultant and series editor for the Flannery O’Connor award for short fiction, will share the details of their successful collaboration. Patty Smith, a short fiction and nonfiction writer and teacher, will moderate the discussion about what had to change and Pye’s 20-year writing journey.


8 Reasons to Come to JRW’s 8th Annual June on the James Soirée

May 23rd, 2013

On Thursday, June 6, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., friends and fans of James River Writers will once again gather at Dominion’s beautiful Riverfront Complex, 120 Tredegar Street to celebrate all things literary. We hope you’ll join us!

JotJ Logo

Don’t miss the chance to…

1. Rub elbows with famous writers, past and present.

2. Have your fortune told by a literary muse.

3. Bid on unique items in our best-ever silent auction.

4. Enjoy tasty food and beverages.

5. Celebrate the winners of the Emyl Jenkins Award and the finalists of JRW’s Best Unpublished Novel Contest.

6. Watch artist Eugene Vango capture the scene on canvas.

7. Channel your next character with fun costume and photo opportunities by Mara Dovis Photography, and hear the sweet tunes of the Cary Street Ramblers.

8. Feel good knowing you are making JRW’s literary programs possible!


Reserve your space today!


We extend a special thanks to our event chair, Shann Palmer, and to our Hosts and Sponsors.


Maya Payne Smart interviews Virginia Pye, author of River of Dust

May 7th, 2013

VirginiaPyeforWeb2Richmond’s own Virginia Pye is the author of River of Dust, to be released on May 14 by Unbridled Books and selected as an Indie Pick for May 2013. Maya Payne Smart interviews her for a glimpse into the discussions JRW will have with Virginia at this month’s Writing Show and our Annual Conference in October.

How did your debut novel arrive on the windswept plains of northwestern China in 1910? Despite the foreign terrain, in what ways were you writing what you know?

My father was born and raised in China as the son of Congregational missionaries in the early twentieth century. I grew up in a household decorated in part with Chinese objects and old, brown-tinged photographs of my grandparents. I have never been to China, but I have an impressionistic sense of the place. Also, I read my grandfather’s journals which document the eerie beauty of that region and some of the customs of the people there. I did some research, but I also relied a lot on my imagination. Apparently, I had a stored up sense of what China felt like at that earlier time.

For years, you approached your writing with great discipline and now you have six manuscripts and many stories and poems to show for it. How did you sustain such motivation over the years and largely on your own? What’s your daily writing routine? How does your short fiction experience inform your novel writing? (more…)

April 2013 Writing Show Recap: The Writer Whisperer

May 1st, 2013

How do you respond when the little voice inside your head tells you your writing is awful? This voice, of course, is the same one that—just the night before—assured you a Newberry Award was within reach. What do you do when you can’t stop revising the same sentence? How do you feel when a potential agent rejects your manuscript as “unrealistic”—and he is talking about your autobiography?

Published authors Valley Haggard, Eliezer Sobel and Louise Hawes—with award-winning writer Gigi Amateau serving as moderator—discussed such maddening moments at JRW’s Writing Show on Thursday, April 25 at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. While each of these writers tackles stumbling blocks in a different manner, they all advocate clearing the mind to make way for creativity. The brain is like a rusty faucet, Sobel told the audience. You have to let the brown water run a while before clear liquid can emerge. (more…)