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News and Events

2013 James River Writers Conference Registration is Open

July 23rd, 2013

As the JRW Conference Chair, I’m pleased to announce that registration for the 2013 James River Writers Conference  is open! Between now and August 31, 2013, please take advantage of early-bird pricing, and JRW members, enjoy the benefit of priority registration for the pre-conference master classes and one-on-one sessions until August 16, 2013.




The James River Writers Conference brings together writers of various backgrounds and genres—nonfiction and fiction, poetry, journalism, and more—to support one another and learn together. This year’s lineup continues the tradition: a National Book Award winner and bestsellers; a writer of space and robots and suburban motherhood; picture book authors and a war correspondent; editors, agents, book doctors, and an app developer; debut authors and career novelists; new faces and JRW successes; steampunk airships and ultramarathoners; Birds of a Lesser Paradise and Mockingbird….I hope you’ll take a moment to browse the conference website and meet the talented folks coming to Richmond.

bod_kristi_austinOur collegial atmosphere is one reason author and national speaker David Henry Sterry called the James River Writers Conference “one of the best writers conferences in America” in a recent Huffington Post article. Thank you, David! And thank you to all the writers who attend each year.

If you like what you see—and I think you will—I hope you’ll join us, October 18-20, 2013, for the 11th annual James River Writers Conference.

— Kristi Tuck Austin, JRW Conference Chair

Learn more about the 2013 Writers Conference

July 2013 Writing Show: Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source

July 10th, 2013

The Writing Show

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Pencil by Sheri Blume


Is YA your genre of choice, or are you considering it? One of the hottest markets in publishing, young adult fiction has specific challenges. What makes good YA and how is it different than adult fiction? Who better to ask than the target audience themselves—and an author and librarian who have successfully reached young adult readers?

James River Writer’s Writing Show for July 2013, Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source featured children’s librarian Lucinda Whitehurst and Lana Krumwiede, author of Freakling. Moderator Valley Haggard, founder of Richmond Young Writers, guided the discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and the trends and whether you should follow them.

The second half of the program highlighted a panel of teens, including some of JRW’s Youth Advisory Board members. Chico Payne, Cassie Womack, and Madeleine Jordon-Lord. The students talked about their pet peeves and what their favorite authors get right. Annesha Sengupta and Gbari Garrett read a few excerpts from their own work. The program concluded with questions from the audience.


Twitter Chat with Jennifer Miller on Wednesday, July 10, at noon

July 9th, 2013

JenniferMillerPlease join James River Writers on Wednesday, July 10th from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET to participate in a Twitter chat with Jennifer Miller, author of the award-winning Year of the Gadfly, about all things writing related.

Here is how it will work:

1. You will need a Twitter account to talk with Jennifer during the Twitter chat.

2. Follow James River Writers (@JamesRvrWriters) and Jennifer Miller (@PROPJEN) before the Twitter chat so that you don’t miss anything

3. Log into Twitter a few minutes before the chat. Enter #JRWC13 in the search box. (more…)

June 2013 Writing Show Recap: The Writer’s Platform: Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career

July 9th, 2013

JuneWritingShow Marketing for WritersGone are the days when an author simply shows up at his or her book signing. While the burden of responsibility for marketing has shifted to the writer, on the positive side, so has the control. JRW’s latest Writing Show, “The Writer’s Platform: Marketing at Every Stage of Your Career,” held June 27 at the Camel, a new location, explored the various stages of promoting yourself as a writer. Guided by moderator Julie Geen, a freelance writer and teacher, the panelists—including Karen A. Chase, Deb Dudley, and Meg Medina—discussed topics from branding to book signings.  (more…)

The Lowdown on the Arts & Culture Xpo, Saturday June 29, 2013

July 8th, 2013

I’ll admit, it took me a while to cotton on to the whole concept of the Arts and Culture Xpo. They give you money? For free? And it’s yours to give to whatever nonprofit you choose, including JRW? Why, sign me up!


The Xpo is an annual event presented by CultureWorks, a consortium whose sole purpose is to promote cultural and artistic endeavors in the Richmond area. The Xpo, held this year at the Greater Richmond Convention Center on June 29th, spotlighted the region’s many nonprofit arts and culture organizations. Over 100 local groups were represented, including not only the James River Writers, but Henley Street Theatre, Gallery5, the Library of Virginia, Richmond Shakespeare, the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Conciliation Project, Podium Foundation, and many, many, many more. Patrons (technical term: “Cultural Shareholders”) were given bank envelopes with “Xpo Bucks” and encouraged to browse the booths, checking out the variety of artistic and cultural endeavors available in Richmond, and supporting the organizations that caught their fancies. Ninety (“real”) cents out of every $1 Xpo Buck went directly to the nonprofit at the end of the day. Some booths displayed their creative wares and services; others snared visitors’ eyes and Xpo Bucks by offering something in exchange: t-shirts, CDs, raffle tickets.

At the JRW table, it was custom-written haiku and zombie stories.


Executive Director Katharine Herndon and Program Director Sheila Sheppard Lovelady manned the booth, churning out zombie gore and poetry while chatting with visitors and fans. Youth Advisory Board member Annesha Sengupta was also there to lend a hand for much of the day, and poets Shann Palmer and I stopped by to write a few haiku on our way to the stage. (more…)