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Press Release Fun: James River Writers Conference returning in October


Registration is open for one of Virginia’s most popular events for writers


RICHMOND, Va. – What do New York Times bestselling authors, literary agents and award-winning illustrators have in common? They’re all going to be networking and sharing a wealth of knowledge at the 12th annual James River Writers Conference.

The James River Writers Conference returns to Richmond from Oct. 17-19 with new, hands-on workshops, master classes and one-on-one meetings with some of the top agents and publishers. Book Doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry will mark the triumphant return of Pitchapalooza – aka “American Idol” for books – where volunteers will be randomly selected to pitch their work. The Pitchapalooza winner will receive an introduction to an editor or agent appropriate for his or her work.

Sterry says of The James River Writers Conference, “There’s just a cool vibe here. This is a hidden treasure, as far as I’m concerned, right here in Richmond.”

This year’s conference features more than two dozen experienced guest speakers:

Authors and Illustrators

Kwame Alexander, “The Crossover”

Cece Bell, “Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover”

Iris Bolling, “The Heart”

Susann Cokal, “The Kingdom of Little Wounds,” Printz honor recipient

Tarfia Faizullah, “Seam”

Lamar Giles, “Fake ID”

Hugh Howey, Wool series

Brian Jay Jones, “Jim Henson: The Biography”

Kristen Lippert-Martin, “Tabula Rasa”

Sarah MacLean, “Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake”

Kelly O’Connor McNees, “The Island of Doves”

Meg Medina, “Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass,” Pura Belpre award winner

Sheri Reynolds, “The Homespun Wisdom of Myrtle T. Cribb”

Jon Sealy, “The Whiskey Baron”

Ron Smith, “Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery”

David Henry Sterry, “Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent”

Agents, Publishers & Other Experts

Kaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary associate agent

Arielle Eckstut, Levine Greenberg agent

Levine Greenberg, agent and author

Jane Friedman, editor, publisher and professor

Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Associates literary agent

Peter Knapp, Park Literary Group rep

Kimiko Nakamura, Dee Mura Literary rep

Jody Rein, head of Jody Rein Books Inc. and Author Planet

Geoff Shandler, Little, Brown & Co. editor

Alison Weiss, Egmont USA editor

Stacy Whitman, Tu Books founder and publisher


Registration for the annual conference is open, and writing sessions are already filling up. Find more details and a full list of programs at

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.