James River Writers is a nonprofit organization that “builds community by connecting and inspiring writers and all those in central Virginia with a love for the written word.” Throughout the year, JRW hosts workshops, classes, and salons, and each autumn the group organizes a weekend-long conference for aspiring and current writers. The 2016 conference will take place October 14-16.
Held in Richmond, the conference gathers authors, agents, editors, and publishers from across the nation. Attendees learn from and connect with these professionals through sessions, panels, and pitch workshops with literary agents. Leila Gaskin, secretary of the James River Writers Executive Board, says, “We take pride in the fact that we that our attendees have unprecedented access to our guests. The James River Writers Conference focuses on the craft of writing, the business of writing, and creating networking opportunities for our conference attendees.”
Programming tracks include subjects such as “Paths to Publication” “Pillars of a Story” and “Writing for the Young and Young at Heart.” The sessions are punctuated with opportunities to get an agent interested in one’s writing, such as the “First Pages” event where agents read anonymous first pages of a book and critique them, and time slots for writers to sign up to speak one-on-one with agents or a best-selling author. And new in 2016, the conference is piloting “The Agent Dating Game.” Three contestants will compete to woo an agent into selecting their work to review over the other two.
Further, the Friday before the conference, James River Writers hosts bonus master classes led by experts, which are available to anyone who registers for the full conference. However, two weeks before the conference begins, registration opens up for the general public who are not attending the full weekend if space remains.
To learn more about the 2016 James River Writers Conference, click here.