Annual Writers’ Conference Presented by Southern Virginia’s Jeff Benedict and Institute for Writing & Mass Media

· February 28, 2019

Southern Virginia University’s Institute for Writing & Mass Media, in conjunction with New York Times best-selling author Jeff Benedict, will host the inaugural session of its new annual writers’ conference from June 7-8, 2019, in Richmond, Va. The event will provide non-fiction writers and storytellers the opportunity to interact with and learn from highly-accomplished writing professionals in their field.

“Many first-time writers have come to me looking for guidance, and that was some of the impetus for doing a conference like this,” said Benedict.

A best-selling author, special-feature writer for Sports Illustrated, and television, movie producer, Benedict will host the conference and deliver its keynote address. Additional featured presenters Carolyn Lumsden, editor of The Hartford Courant; Dorothea Halliday, managing editor of Yale University Press; and McKay Coppins, staff writer at The Atlantic; will each run two-hour, interactive learning sessions with attendees.

“Carolyn Lumsden and Dorothea Halliday are not only extremely good editors but they are really good at teaching the fundamentals of writing, story formation and how to organize a story and write succinctly,” said Benedict. “They are two of the best teachers I know in the craft.

“McKay Coppins is a very young, good, talented writer,” Benedict continued. “To be able to sit in sessions with McKay, who’s written stories about what’s going on around this White House—probably stories that conference attendees have read—is a treat for someone who is trying to work on publishing their first story.”

With each presenter specializing in a different style of writing—book, magazine, and newspaper—the conference is ideal for first-time writers or seasoned writers looking to sharpen their skills.

“There are more opportunities and more platforms for writing right now than there has ever been, so many places now that are looking for content and many more people who realize ‘there is actually a chance for to me write and get published somewhere,’” Benedict said.

The conference, held at the Courtyard Hotel by Marriott in downtown Richmond, will kick off Friday evening with Benedict’s keynote address. The following day, attendees will break into groups and rotate through working sessions with the three featured presenters. Registration for the conference is $500 and includes dinner Friday evening, a discounted rate for a hotel room, as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday. To reserve your ticket, visit For any questions, contact Kaitlyn Smith at