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

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


Green Thumb, Open Heart: Interview with Debut Author Carol Wall

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.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014
11:00 a.m.
University of Richmond-Downtown
626 E. Broad St.
Free and open to the public, but registration is required

Register here!

Are You Our Next Program Director?

We are sad to share that our program director, Sheila Sheppard Lovelady, is stepping down as of May 31st due to a relocation and to focus on her own writing. Her recent move to the Eastern Shore will bring her the opportunity to achieve her dream of pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and we wish her well on this new leg of her journey! In the meantime, though, we are starting the job search right away so that our next program director can benefit from her expertise before she leaves us.

Please see the overview of this part-time position below as well as more detailed information that follows. If you are interested in applying, please send your resume, cover letter, and three letters of recommendation (all in one email, please) to Katharine Herndon at execdirector@jamesriverwriters.org by 5:00 on April 25.

Overview: A 25 hour/week position, the program director will work closely with the executive director, board members, and volunteers to ensure all aspects of programming are scheduled, publicized, staffed, and implemented smoothly and professionally. Good communication, administration, and organizational skills are a must. $22,000/year

Skills Needed: Candidates should have 3-5 years of experience in 1) event planning and management, 2) communicating and working well with an active board and membership, 3) utilizing a computer for word processing, spreadsheets, donor database access, and internet, 4) managing volunteers, and 5) writing and editing press releases and newsletters.

Additional Qualifications Desired:

  • Experience utilizing MailChimp, WordPress, Dropbox, and Google Docs
  • Familiarity with James River Writers programs
  • Exceptional writing skills


February Writing Show — Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking

Stories transcend time and place. Rina Goldberg, who passed away two weeks after her fifteenth birthday from Mitochondrial Disease, knew the truth behind the truism. Some of her final words to her mother were “promise to take care of my film.” Whether you want to sell a script or write a novel, you can draw inspiration from Rina and some of the most tenacious artists on the planet: filmmakers.

The latest in James River Writer’s Writing Show series, Behind the Screen: Storytelling through Filmmaking, on Thursday, February 27, at the Camel, brings together a selection of award-winning directors and screenwriters from the Richmond International Film Festival. Moderator Julie Geen, writer and teacher, will guide the discussion about navigating the changing industry, what makes a good story, and how to stay motivated. (more…)

River of Dust: The Gritty Truth About Editing

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.


Road to Publication: Meet Debut Novelist Rhonda Riley

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…)

Some “Goodreads” from JRW

GoodreadsLogo02One sure way to improve your writing is to read–a lot. You also need to read outside your comfort zone. If you plan to write fantasy, and fantasy is all you ever read, then your writing will never be more than a mirror.

Starting today, James River Writers will help you broaden your reading options with our first ever reading group on Goodreads.com. Each month we plan to select two books. One will be intended for adult readers with a second book focused on younger audiences. The books will feature some of our past and upcoming speakers from our annual Writers Conference and monthly Writing Show. Whenever possible, we plan to invite the writers and editors to join us in the discussion on the message boards. (more…)

Welcome to Our New Website!

James River Writers would like to welcome you to our new website. This is your place — 100 percent operated by people like you who are willing to invest their time and talents to build community in the real world. Our mission is to connect and inspire writers and readers in central Virginia, and the website will use the interactivity and rich multimedia offered by the Internet to support that mission. (more…)