Jeri Watts

What JRW Means to Me

Jeri Watts








Jeri Watts worked as a public school teacher for 27 years. She has written numerous short stories as well as the picture book Keepers. Kizzy Ann Stamps is her first middle-grade novel. She is currently an assistant professor at Lynchburg College.

Jeri will be a speaker at the 2012 JRW Annual Conference. She recently shared how this event contributed to her writing career.


For me, the James River Writers annual conference means:

  • Immersing myself with other writers and the world of writing,
  • Two whole days to be taken seriously,
  • Having other people talk about what I really like to talk about,
  • Overhearing conversations where I understand the threads,
  • Having to make tough choices for workshops (ooh, that sounds good … but that one sounds good, too … rats!)

Most of all, the JRW conference helped me find a publisher for my manuscript!

After I went to a BIG writer’s conference and was told by an agent that the epistolary form just wouldn’t work, I went to a much smaller conference just down the road (more or less) and found a publisher who would actually read my manuscript and worked with me (and liked that letter format).

Thank you, JRW, for being there for all of us who need a spirit of friendliness and a pat on the back to keep us going. The going can get tough at times because the writing world is hard, but keep those beautiful words flowing!

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3 Responses to Jeri Watts

  1. Pingback: 5 Things for Families - RVANews

  2. My granddaughter was assigned Kizzy Ann Stamps for summer reading by Kalamazoo Public Schools in Michigan – she is at the cottage with me and she wanted me to read it because it is so good – what an excellent book. Reading the story of integration in the 60’s from Kizzy’s view was wonderful. You treated the subject fairly and from a much needed perspective. Hope you write more books like this – your voice needs to be heard.

  3. I wanted to express my appreciation of the sublime story of Kizzy Ann Stamps.I purchased the book at my daughter’s school’s book fair for one reason: it was the only African-American book on display for her grade level. My daughter’s school was on break for the 2014-2015 holiday and she needed more to do around the house. I suggested she begin reading about Kizzy Ann Stamps. She started on Dec 21 and finished today. She is super excited about what she has learned. She can now connect civil rights, the 60s, President Kennedy and Black History Month meanings. I am so proud of her and owe it to you because she only connected the dots after reading this book.

    She wants to be a writer (that was my dream, too) and said she cannot wait to learn how to write her own children’s stories. What a find! Thank you again. YouRock, Ms.Fee & Shae

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