What JRW Means to Me



Virginia Pye writes novels, short stories, and poems. Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including the North American Review, Failbetter, the Baltimore Review, the Potomac Review, and Arts and Understanding. Ginny shares how she become involved with James River Writers.


I was invited to join the board of James River Writers in 2004 by Caroline Kettlewell, who was board chair at the time. At our first meeting, held in Dean King’s gracious home, I was struck by the high energy in the room. When I introduced myself to the group, I explained that I had recently finished writing a novel and was about to send it off to agents. An understanding and enthusiastic murmur came back at me in reply: right from the start, I could tell that this was an encouraging group. They understood what it meant to complete a big, self-initiated project and to throw one’s self into the marketplace with high, and yet realistic, hopes. In other words, they got what it meant to be a writer.

In the seven years since then, I have enjoyed taking part in an organization that is supportive, kind and smart. I was on the Executive Committee for six years, chair and co-chair for three, and now am head of the advisory board. In all these capacities, I’ve worked alongside writers whose work is sometimes entirely different from my own: journalists, fantasy writers, bloggers, young adult novelists, business writers, playwrights, popularizers of historical worlds, food writers, and everything in between. JRW champions us all.

As I experienced on that first day, we are a welcoming and generous group. I am always grateful for this good company.


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