Writers’ Conference

Southern Virginia University’s Jeff Benedict and the Institute for Writing & Mass Media will host the inaugural session of its annual writers’ conference this June 2019. The conference will focus on non-fiction writing, storytelling, and creating a narrative and features the opportunity to learn from and interact with highly-renowned writing professionals.

Dates: Friday & Saturday, June 7-8, 2019

Location: Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Richmond

Registration Fee: $500
Student Registration: $300

Register Online

Keynote Speaker

Jeff Benedict

Jeff Benedict

Jeff Benedict is a bestselling author of fifteen non-fiction books, a special features writer for Sports Illustrated, and a television and film producer. His most recent book, the biography of Tiger Woods, was a #1 New York Times bestseller and is currently being made into an HBO film. Jeff is an executive producer on the film. He is also currently writing the biography of LeBron James.

In 2018, Jeff produced the motion picture “Little Pink House” starring Oscar-nominated Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn, with music by David Crosby. The film is based on Jeff’s book by the same title. He is also a producer on “The System,” a television drama that’s being developed by Starz and is based on his 2013 bestselling book on college football.

Two of Jeff’s most acclaimed books were autobiographies written for others. In 2013 he wrote a memoir for an African-born Islamic fundamentalist-turned Christian titled My Name Used to be Muhammad. It was a Book of the Year finalist. And in 2016 Jeff wrote Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young’s bestselling autobiography QB: My Life Behind the Spiral. The book was the basis of “Steve Young: A Football Life,” a documentary that Jeff helped write and produce for NFL Films.

Jeff has also written for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and his stories have been the basis for segments on 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, 20/20, 48 Hours, Good Morning America, Dateline, NFL Network, HBO Real Sports, and Discovery Channel. He is the founder and director of Institute for Writing and Mass Media at Southern Virginia University.


Carolyn Lumsden

Carolyn Lumsden

Carolyn Lumsden is editor of The Hartford Courant’s opinion section. She previously wrote for the Associated Press in Boston and copy-edited books for Random House. Carolyn has a master’s degree in communications from Stanford University and a master’s in legal studies from Yale Law School, where she was a Knight fellow in 1998-99.  She has twice been honored with the Sigma Delta Chi award from the national Society of Professional Journalists for her editorials. She is now writing about an epidemic of crumbling home foundations around the world on a Pulliam Fellowship from the SPJ Foundation.

Dorothea Halliday

Dorothea Halliday

Dorothea Halliday has worked as an editor for the Hachette Book Group, which is one of the five largest publishing companies in the US (“the Big Five”), as well as for a small trade house, and in academic publishing. She is currently an independent editor as well as the managing editor of Yale University Press, where she runs the manuscript editing department. She has edited numerous New York Times bestsellers, such as Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s memoir of the 2008 financial crisis, and Jeff Benedict’s book Little Pink House, which was made into a movie in 2018. She has also taught writing and editing at Long Island University and the New York University Center for Publishing.

McKay Coppins

McKay Coppins

McKay Coppins is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers national politics. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Washington PostNewsweek, and BuzzFeed News, for which he covered two presidential elections and served as the site’s first political editor. He is the author of The Wilderness, a book about the future of the Republican Party, and in 2018 he was a visiting fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Conference attendees are eligible for a discounted rate at the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Richmond. After check-in, dinner will be provided to attendees and Jeff Benedict will deliver the keynote address.

5:30 p.m. — Check-In
6:00 p.m. — Dinner
7:00 p.m. — Keynote Address

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The conference will divide into three groups and rotate through breakout sessions with Carolyn Lumsden, Dorothea Halliday, and McKay Coppins. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate with the presenters and gain insights into their fields. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

8:00 a.m. — Breakfast
9:00 a.m. — Opening Remarks
9:30 a.m. — First Session
11:30 a.m. — Lunch
12:30 p.m. — Second Session
2:30 p.m. — Break
3:00 p.m. — Third Session
5:30 p.m. — Closing Remarks