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News and Events

Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

April 22nd, 2014

Married novelists Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown have spent their working lives writing and teaching side by side in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Sweet Briar College, where John is the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and directs the College’s Creative Writing program. Carrie now serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at nearby Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Carrie and John have published ten books between them and raised three children on the campus at Sweet Briar. 

James River Writers recently spoke with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown, who discussed “using what you know and where you’re from in fiction” at JRW’s Writing Show on Thursday, April 24. The couple also taught Learning to See: A Master Class for Writers in the Art and Practice of Looking on Friday, April 25.

Five Questions with Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown

Question One:

K: John, you wrote in the voice of a young girl (Meredith Eagen), a woman (Meredith’s stepmother Catherine), and a black man (Murphy Warrington) in your first novel, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, and you earned praise for creating authentic voices for these three characters. Writing in the voice of a person of another race can be risky, and you did not attempt to write Murphy’s dialogue the way a black New Orleans man of his time and class would have spoken. (more…)

Canceled: Interview with Debut Author Carol Wall

April 17th, 2014

We’re sorry to announce that due to an unexpected change in plans for the speaker, our joint event with the Junior League, “Green Thumb, Open Heart: An Interview with Carol Wall,” scheduled for Wednesday, April 30, at 11 a.m., is canceled. Please join the Junior League at their 69th Annual Book and Author Dinner the same day to get your literary fix instead! 

James River Writers and the Junior League of Richmond partner once again to present an exclusive interview with a debut author, in town for the Junior League’s 69th Book and Author DinnerCarol Wall is the author of Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, a memoir about the unique bond she formed with Giles Owita and the lessons she learned about life and health. Bill Blume, author of Gideon’s Hunt, will guide the discussion about how Carol overcame her assumptions, her dread of flowers, and breast cancer to bring this powerful story of healing to the world.

Please note: Event has been canceled.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
11:00 a.m.
University of Richmond-Downtown


Creativity Toolkit: Master Class with Clay McLeod Chapman

April 11th, 2014


clayCreativity Tool Kit: A Master Class with Clay McLeod Chapman.  The author of Tribe: Homeroom Headhunter will offer a fun workshop examining creativity and how to jump-start yours. Hands-on instruction will leave you with concrete take-aways for defeating the blank page!

June 19; 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, not included



Twitter Chat with Jon Sealy

April 8th, 2014
Jon Sealy

Jon Sealy

Please join James River Writers on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm ET to participate in a Twitter chat with Jon Sealy to talk about his novel The Whiskey Baron (Hub City Press, April 2014) and his path to publication.

Here is how it will work:

  • You will need a Twitter account to talk with Jon during the Twitter chat.
  • Follow James River Writers (@JamesRvrWriters) and Jon Sealy (@JonSealy) before the Twitter chat so that you don’t miss anything.
  • Log into Twitter a few minutes before the chat and enter a search for  #JRW14.
  • To start the chat @JamesRvrWriters will post two or three questions for Jon to answer. At any time you can join the conversation and ask your own question; just be sure to include #JRW14 so your Tweets can be tracked and Jon can respond.
  • You may submit questions by starting them with @JonSealy, or simply ask your question as a status update in Twitter and include the hashtag #JRW14

More about Jon Sealy:

Jon Sealy is the author of The Whiskey Baron (Hub City Press, 2014). A native of upstate South Carolina, he has an MFA from Purdue and currently lives in Richmond, Virginia. His short fiction has appeared in PANK, The Normal School, and The Sun, among other places.

April 2014 Writing Show: Coloring Between the Lines: Using What You Know and Where You’re From in Fiction

April 7th, 2014

“Write about what you don’t know about what you know,” instructed Eudora Welty. But how exactly do you dig deep into the familiar to create an extraordinary experience for your readers?

Veteran novelists and professors—and husband and wife—Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown talk about mining your own geographical and personal history as writers, as well as tools and techniques for finding out more about what you already think you know about your place—or places—in the world.  

Virginia Pye, author of River of Dust, will moderate the discussion about anchoring your writing through environment and experience. The second half of the panel welcomes questions from the audience.

Recap by Kris Spisak

Thursday, April 24, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m., with complimentary hors d’oeuvres
The Broadberry (note the new location we’re trying out for April’s show!)
2729 W. Broad Street
Ample parking available in the Children’s Museum parking lot across the street, on street, and in the lot adjacent to the Broadberry

$10 in advance, $12 at the door, $5 students



Learning To See: A Master Class for Writers in the Art and Practice of Looking

April 7th, 2014

Award-winning authors Carrie Brown and John Gregory Brown offer a shared presentation on writing and art: how art informs and inspires the writer, and how learning to “see” shapes and enriches writing. Participants will see how these two writers learn from the world of visual art. Short writing exercises and shared reading of those exercises will follow the presentations.

Friday, April 25, 2014
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., with an hour break for lunch, not included

St. John’s Church Parish Hall
2401 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23223
Ample free on-street parking is available

$60 for JRW members
$100 for non-members