1st: "Driving the Blue Ridge in October" by Ann Skelton 
2nd: "When We Listened" by Sally Zakariya 
3rd: "Sand Castles" by James F. Gaines 
Honorable Mention: "Reaper" by Larry Turner
1st: "The Mongolian Hold" by Esther Johnson
2nd: "Nana's Arm" by Jean Lancaster 
3rd: "The Magic Shop" by Judy Witt 
Honorable Mention: "Peas Behind the Washer" by Kimberly L. Dalferes
Honorable Mention: "April Love" by Liz Williams
1st: "The Passing" by Julie Leverenz
2nd: "Riding the Tortoise" by Esther Whitman Johnson
3rd: "Beneath My Hats" by Suzan Anderson
Honorable Mention: "Where We Fit In" by Stanley Trice
Honorable Mention: "Petite Small" by Elaine Ruggieri
Honorable Mention: "Lucky" by Jean Lancaster
Honorable Mention: "The Preacher's Daughter" by Susan Elliott



* High School Scholarship Application Packets (Guidelines)

* Teen Golden Nib Writing Contest



1st: "A Mother's Promise Kept" by Rudolph Keith Dunn (Richmond Chapter)
2nd: "Tupperware" by Jeanne Johansen (Chesapeake Bay Writers Chapter)
3rd: "A Fair-'E' Tale" by JoAnn Meaker (HanoverWriters Chapter)
1st: "Grave Dressing" by Rebecca D. Elswick (Appalachian Authors Guild Chapter)
2nd: "Tramp" by Patricia Asuncion (Blue Ridge Chapter)
3rd: "The Imaginary Ray" by John A. Bray (Chesapeake Bay Writers Chapter)

1st: "Concatenation" by Amelia L. Williams (Blue Ridge Chapter)
2nd: "Valedictory for G." by Sally Zakariya (Northern Virginia Chapter)
3rd: "Redemption" by Bruce Slater (Richmond Chapter)


1st: "Nibbles" by Hayleigh Phillips (Valley Writers Chapter)
2nd: "Machine Gun Wedding" by Sally Zakariya (Northern Virginia Chapter)
3rd: "Doctor's Dozen" by Esther Whitman Johnson (Valley Writers Chapter)
Honorable Mention: "The Case of the Grandmother in the Garden" by Julie Leverenz (Chesapeake Bay Writers)
Honorable Mention: "The Night I Was Forced To Play Poker With Government Agents" by James Lee (Northern Virginia Chapter)
1st: "Journey Into the Heart of Creativity" by Patricia Daly-Lipe (Northern Virginia Chapter)
2nd: "Taking the Water" by Jean Lancaster (Blue Ridge Writers Chapter)
3rd: "Exposed Temptations" by Kimberly J. Dalferes (Valley Writers Chapter)
Honorable Mention: "Hey Girl, Don't Scream" by Esther Whitman Johnson (Valley Writers Chapter)
Honorable Mention: "The Magic Shop" by Judy Whitehill Witt (Richmond Chapter)
1st: "Afire" by Judy Whitehill Witt (Richmond Chapter)
2nd: "Undertakers" by Barbara Stout (Valley Writers Chapter)
3rd: "When We Lived on R St." by Sally Zakariya (Northern Virginia Chapter)
Honorable Mention: "After the Spill" by Sharon L. Howard (Valley Writers Chapter)



The 2013 Golden Nib writing contest is officially open. The Golden Nib is the Virginia Writers Club annual writing competition in three categories: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry with cash prizes for first, second, and third place finishers. Contestants must be members in good-standing of a VWC chapter as well as a member of the state organization. Each chapter submits one representative in each category to the state finals, where first, second, and third place winners are announced at the annual meeting (usually held in November).

In 2005, the Virginia Writers Club, Inc. created a two-tier writing contest. Entries would be submitted and judged at the VWC Chapter-level first, and then each Chapter would forward its first-place winning entries for judging at the (second tier) State VWC level. Entrants who live within the jurisdiction of a VWC Chapter must enter the first tier of the competition through that Chapter. For those living in an area where no Chapter exists, they must submit their entries to the Chapter closest to them.

Entries will be accepted on any subject the author or poet chooses in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry.

  1. Manuscripts must be the original, unpublished work of the entrant, and must not have won a prize at any level in any other competition. The VWC State competition will now allow entries published in your personal blogs. Writing published in blogs other than your own or on social network sites or in an online publication are ineligible and should not be submitted.
  2. Entrants may submit only one entry per category of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  3. Fiction and non-fiction entries must be not longer than 3,500 words. Poetry entries must be not longer than 50 lines.
  4. Format:
    • a. Detachable cover sheet including author’s name, address, telephone number, email address (if available), category (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) and title.
    • b. All other pages must show contest category, title and page number in the header. If the author’s name appears on any page of the manuscript other than the cover sheet, the entry will be disqualified.
    • c. Prose (fiction and non-fiction) manuscripts must be printed in a plain and eligible font, such as Times New Roman in 12-to 14- pitch. Manuscripts must be printed on 8 ½ by 11-inch white paper, double-spaced, with one-inch margins top, bottom and left, and a ragged right margin.
    • d. Poetry manuscripts must be printed in a plain, legible font, such as Times New Roman in 12- to 13-pitch, Manuscripts must be printed on 8 ½ by one-inch margins top and bottom.
  5. Submissions must include an original and one copy of the manuscript.
  6. Submissions not in accord with format and other rules will be disqualified.
  7. State winning entries in each category will be published in Portable Data File (*.pdf) format, on the VWC Web site. All other rights remain the property of the author.
  8. Manuscripts for the second-tier contest will not be returned.

Winning Chapter entries need to be submitted by SEPT. 3 to:

Christine Valenti, VWC Contest
10103 New Scotland Dr., Fredericksburg, VA 22408
For more information, contact ChristineRoseValenti AT hotmail.com or call: 540-645-0549

SUBMIT ENTRIES TO YOUR LOCAL VWC CHAPTER BY THEIR SPECIFIED DEADLINE Each Chapter has its own guidelines, deadline and membership requirements for entering the Chapter-level contest. All Chapters must adhere to the state contest rules. Some Chapters require membership in their Chapter, some don’t.

All entries in the second-tier State VWC contest must be a first-place Chapter-level entry and the entrant must be a State VWC member. If winner at the Chapter-level is not a member of the State VWC, a membership application and payment of dues must accompany the entry.

Contact your local VWC Chapter to find out what the deadline is for Chapter Contest Submissions! NOTE: Entries sent by writers directly to VWC for State contest will not be accepted.

Each Chapter president is responsible for forwarding only the first-place entries from the Chapter competition (in each of the three categories), written by a member of the VWC ore a writer who completes and application to join the VWC and submits a check for annual dues of $30 to accompany the entry.

There are ten VWC Chapters in the state. Only first-place winners from the Chapters will be eligible for the state contest. That means only 30 entries will be forwarded for the State competition -- ten entries total per category (fiction, nonfiction, poetry) -- by the State Deadline of Sept. 3. Winners of State VWC Contest will be announced and awards presented at the State VWC Annual Meeting on NOVEMBER 2. Awards for each category: First Place-$100; Second Place-$50; Third Place-$25.



The Virginia Writers Club’s Spring Shorts Contest is being renamed the Summer Short Shorts Contest and is being moved a bit later in the year than the previous Spring Shorts contest. Please read the guidelines listed below for more information.

Note: Only members of the statewide Virginia Writers Club who have paid their membership dues for 2013 may enter the contest.


Fiction - A short story not to exceed 1,200 words
Non-fiction - A personal essay not to exceed 1,200 words
Poetry - Any form not to exceed 30 lines


  • Only members of the statewide Virginia Writers Club who have paid their membership dues for 2013 may enter the contest.
  • Entries, sent electronically, will be accepted from May 1 through June 30, 2013.
  • A writer may submit only one entry per category.
  • Entry must be the original unpublished work of the writer.
  • Winners will be announced at the 3 August 2013 VWC Symposium in Charlottessville, followed by a posting of winners on the VWC website.


  • Entries must be in Times New Roman 12 sent as an e-mail attachment. Illustrations will not be accepted or considered.
  • Prose must be double-spaced with a ragged right margin; poetry must be single-spaced with a flush left margin.
  • No information identifiable to the author should be included in the body of the entry.
  • The e-mail message to which the work is attached must include the title of the piece and category, the author's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. *** An author's biography of no more than 50 words should be included in the e-mail message.

The e-mail should be sent to contest coordinator Gary Kessler at gdkess@mindspring.com. An acknowledgment of receipt will be sent; if you don’t receive one, recheck.

AWARDS: $25 - 1st Place; $15 - 2nd Place; $10 - 3rd Place (in each category)


Entry constitutes permission to publish the winning essay in a future edition of a Virginia Writers Club publication or on the Virginia Writers Club website. Acceptance of the prize money constitutes waiver of any and all further compensation for first publication rights. Remaining rights are the property of the author. Authors retain all rights to non-winning entries.




11TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF POETRY                                                            Sponsored by the RIVERSIDE WRITERS CHAPTER, VWC

Salem Church Library, Meeting Room A

2601 Salem Church Rd, Fredericksburg, VA 22407

9:30-10:00 Registration

10:00-10:30 Open Mike Poetry Reading

10:30-10:45 Discussion of Poetry Slams and Instructions for the Slam

10:45-12:00 Poetry Slam (Bring two poems.)

12:00-1:00 Lunch Break

(Please call Larry Turner, 540-710-2518 to make reservations for lunch.undefined$10)


RiversideWriters, Jim Gaines, President

1:20-2:30 Open Mike Poetry Reading


2:30-4:00 Featured Poet Michael McCarthy, “Don’t Grow Up: Imagination, Play and

Other Toys in the Poet’s Sandbox


Michael McCarthy is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English, Linguistics and Communication at the University of Mary Washington in

Fredericksburg, Va.His poetry has appeared in The Southern Review and Poetry East.  This talk will explore how poets can revisit the ways of the child to inspire ideas, conjure up fresh metaphors, simplify language and establish an emotional bond with readers.


For More Information Contact Larry Turner,

4208 Stonehaven Way, Fredericksburg VA 22408, 540-710-2518, Thanz3000[AT]aol.com

Driving Directions The library is about a five-minute drive from Exit 130B on I95. Go west on Plank Road (Virginia Route 3) about 1.7 miles, and turn left on Salem Church Road. Drive south about 0.8 miles and arrive at the library on your left. The library is a two-story building that looks like a one-story building.


Parking: Parking is available in the library parking lot.


Rules for a Poetry Slam

Poetry and Performance:

1) All poetry must be the original work of the slammer.

2) Slammer cannot use props or musical accompaniment (other than that which they can make with their own body). Slammers cannot employ costumes, nudity, or animal acts.

3) Any subject matter or style is acceptable.


1) A slam is typically 1 or 2 rounds. The first round in a two round slam can be an elimination round.

2) Each slammer has 3 minutes to perform during a round. There is also a 10 second grace period. A deduction of .5 points occurs for every ten seconds (or fraction thereof) that the slammer goes over 3 minutes, ten seconds. At 4 minutes, the slammer is cut off.


1) 5 judges are randomly picked from the audience. Judges cannot be directly connected to any of the slammers.

2) Judging is done Olympic style, 0-10 with one decimal place. The high and low score are dropped and the remaining scores are added together. The highest score during a round wins the round.

3) A calibration poet will be provided for judges to “practice” judging. The calibration poet’s score should be used as a benchmark (anything better should be scored higher; anything worse should be scored lower).

4) Giving a perfect “10” is a privilege, not a right.


1) Judges SHOULD NOT be influenced by the audience.

2) The audience SHOULD try to influence the judges.



2012 Golden Nib Contest Winners
1st: "The Nature of the Sun" by Jody Hobbs Hesler (Blue Ridge Writers Chapter)
2nd: "The Outer Masquerade" by Bob Mustin (Appalachian Authors Guild Chapter)
3rd: "Condemned Memories" by Don Waldy (Hampton Roads Chapter)
1st: "A Federal Case" by Donna Knox (Valley Writers Chapter)
2nd: "Tantilla" by Jean Lancaster (Blue Ridge Writers Chapter)
3rd: "The Burden of Silence" by Rebecca D. Elswick (Appalachian Authors Guild Chapter)
1st: "Heels" by R. L. Russis (Riverside Chapter)
2nd: "Trying on a Dead Wife's Clothes" by Barbara Stout (Valley Writers Chapter)
3rd: "Out of Chaos" by Gary D. Kessler (Blue Ridge Writers Chapter)
Awards will be presented at the November 3rd VWC Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet in Richmond, VA. Online registration for the annual meeting has been extended thru Friday, October 25.




2013 Board of Governors Nominees & Bios


President: Betsy Ashton

1st Vice President: Sara Robinson

2nd Vice President: Chuck Lumpkin

Treasurer: Christopher Evans

Recording Secretary: Laurie Jensen

Corresponding Secretary: Being restructured – to be left open at this time

2013-2015 Members-at-Large: Jack Ferguson, Michael Gunter and Becky Mushko


BETSY ASHTON is a free-lance feature journalist for a local weekly newspaper and a radio essayist on WVTF, the local NPR station. Her essays have appeared in local magazines and newspapers.

      Born in Washington, DC, Betsy says she was raised by coyotes in the Malibu Hills, although her mother disputed that. After a conventional suburban life, she enrolled at UCLA in the Asian Studies department. Although her collegiate career was spent against a backdrop of the “Sixties,” she graduated in four years with academic honors and an expunged arrest record (for unlawful occupation of Federal properties).

      Betsy went to graduate school at Keio University in Tokyo, where she took a special certificate in Japanese literature, before beginning her doctoral program in comparative literature at USC. If asked, she will remind you she always will “root for UCLA and anyone who plays USC.”

      Betsy taught for eight years at Occidental College, USC, UCLA and Cal State Northridge. Falling victim to the Nixon shocks of reduced Federal funding for education, she left academia for the military-industrial world. Her professional resume includes such companies as Rand Corporation, LexisNexis, BearingPoint and Deloitte, her current “day job.” She has more than thirty years of experience in public relations, marketing and sales.

      Betsy promotes writing through her participation in two writers groups, one critique group, and the Virginia Writers Club. A member of the Lake Writers and president of the Valley Writers, she writes fiction, mentors writers new to the groups, and attends as many conferences as she can, including the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, the Sedalia Writers Conference, and the James River Writers Conference. She also uses her public relations background to support not-for-profits including the Smith Mountain Arts Council.

      When not working or writing, you will find her roaring around Virginia highways behind her husband Terry Naylor on his Yamaha, boating on Smith Mountain Lake, playing enthusiastic but bad golf, or reading on her deck. She lives on the lake with her husband of more than 25 years and their one-year-old cat Mocha.


CHRISTOPHER EVANS is a Project & Financial Manager for a defense contractor engaged in Navy initiatives. Over his 22 year career, he has worked for several Fortune 50 companies and governmental organizations as an External Auditor, Financial Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt.

      Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Christopher grew up on his family’s dairy farm in rural Campbell County, where it was originally established in 1754. Various branches of his family tree reach back to the 1620’s in both Virginia and Maryland. His rich family history has led to a lifelong interest in genealogical research, writing and reading works related to history, philosophy and religion.

      Extensively involved in hereditary societies, Christopher has served in the capacity of Vice President (2 years), Treasurer (6 years), Secretary (6 years) and Historian (2 years) of several different organizations. In these leadership roles, he has planned many events including speaker receptions, membership meetings, formal dinners, a benefit ball and a statewide convention. Additionally, he has published monthly newsletters, produced membership directories and maintained organizational websites.

      Christopher recently finished his first novel entitled Legacy, the first book in his Crusader series. He is currently searching for the appropriate literary agent to handle the project going forward.


JOHN (Jack) FERGUSON is from central Pennsylvania where he earned a BS degree from Penn State in Agricultural Economics. He has worked in the green industry and in health care and served in the VA Army National Guard as a field medic and an OR specialist. He currently works with the sales department of an import car dealership. His writing includes poetry, mysteries and the macabre. He is father of two awesome kids and “husband of a tolerant wife.”


At age ten, MICHAEL GUNTER saw his first episode of "The Twilight Zone" and got hooked on mystery. At eighteen, he had an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed the course of his life. In 2001, he discovered his passion for writing. Michael writes about the mysteries of life from a Christian perspective. He has written five non-fiction books, two novels, and numerous short-stories and essays. His short-story, "One of a Million Things," was runner-up in CJM Books’ Colonnade Writing Contest and was included in their 2011 anthology. He is editing his third novel, a sequel to BLACKWELL: The Encounter Begins. When Michael isn’t writing, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, and re-filling his favorite coffee cup.


LAURIE JENSEN is an editor, writer, certified teacher with 20+ years experience and small business owner. Additionally, she cherishes her more important roles as wife and mother. An appreciation of good com-munication, in all its various forms, is the cornerstone of her home-based business, Anne’s River Media. She provides editing, proofreading and research services for Virginia writers on both fiction and nonfiction projects and also serves as a proofreader for CreateSpace Publishing Services. Her writing has been featured in special sections of Charlottesville’s Daily Progress, Rural Virginian, Homestyle and Charlottesville Woman.


CHUCK LUMPKIN, born and raised in Virginia, is married to Sue Patterson and has three children - Bert, Chris and Whitney. He graduated from VA Tech in 1964 and taught one year at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, VA. He has served as Assistant Vice President of Marketing at Moore's Super Stores in Roanoke, VA, and then General Manager of City Mill in Honolulu, HI, 1975-1980. He moved to Auckland, New Zealand, in 1980 and founded Apex Manufacturing, Apex Computer Systems and Apex Marketing. He developed software and manufactured off-track betting hardware and software. After selling the company to a public company, he returned to the US in 1989 to New Orleans. He founded PC Training Clinic and trained real estate agents on how to use computers for marketing. In 1993, he formed Parallax Corporation, an IT consulting firm. In 2003, he retired and moved to Smith Mountain Lake, VA, where he joined the Lake Writers, became President in January 2011, and then become a Board Member of the Smith Mountain Arts Council, In 2011, he also joined the Virginia Writers Club and became 2nd VP in 2012.


BECKY MUSHKO, author of Ferradiddledumday and Stuck, won the Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest (five times) and the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest (three times), was nominated for a 1997 Pushcart Prize, and won two categories of the infamous Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest --“Worst Western” (1998) and “Vile Pun” (2008). Her work appears in A Cup of Comfort for Writers, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, and Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Vols. II & III.

      After retiring from Roanoke City Schools, she taught English at Ferrum College and was 2006-07 writer-in-residence for Roanoke County Schools. She currently serves as recording secretary for the Virginia Writers Club and vice-president of both Lake Writers and the Franklin County Library Board of Trustees.

SARA ROBINSON released her second book, Two Little Girls in a Wading Pool (Cedar Creek Publishing) in March, 2012. This collection of poetry tells of her life experiences from growing up in a small town to how she sees the world today in her later years. Two poems contained in the book won prizes from the Blue Ridge Writers Chapter and the Virginia Writers Club. She is also published in the journal of the Poetry Society of Virginia. Her inaugural work, Love Always, Hobby and Jessie (2009), is a memoir about her famous photographer father and his marriage to her enigmatic mother. Sara has appeared on Artist First Radio Network, the Hilda Ward show, Artistic Expressions, and at numerous book signing events. Born and raised in Elkton, VA, she makes her home near Charlottesville, VA and is a member of the Virginia Writers’ Club, The Blue Ridge Writers’ Chapter, The Poetry Society of Virginia, the Academy of American Poets, and the National League of American Pen Women.


2012 VWC Spring Shorts Writing Contest Winners


FIRST PLACE - "Six Children" by Larry Turner - Fredericksburg, VA

SECOND PLACE - "Waiting for the Ferry at Fort Morgan" by James F. Gaines - Fredericksburg, VA

THIRD PLACE - "Cliff" by Bruce Slater - Richmond, VA


FIRST PLACE - "A Book of Stamps" by Claudia Ware - Morristown, TN

SECOND PLACE - "Komachien" by Rebeca Chapa - Fairfax, VA

THIRD PLACE - "He Sat Alone" by Betsy Ashton - Moneta, VA


FIRST PLACE - "Get the Bitch" by Esther Whitman Johnson - Roanoke, VA

SECOND PLACE - "No Service" by Linda Hudson Hoagland - North Tazewell, VA

THIRD PLACE - "Home Invasion" by Betsy Ashton - Moneta, VA

© Virginia Writers Club
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software