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Programs - The Writer's Voice

Rebekah L. Pierce

Murder on Second StreetHost Robin Farmer talks to Rebekah L. Pierce, an author, playwright and screenwriter focusing on contemporary women and their search for purpose and identity. While at VCU, she wrote her first play, The Myth. Her subsequent plays include Perfect, Blu Bell, That Woman’s Child and That Color Blind Kind of Love, which made its debut Off-Broadway in 2010. Rebekah’s novels include Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders, a blend of history and fiction set 30 days before the infamous Black Tuesday – October 29, 1929. In 2016, Murder on Second Street was developed into a docu-short film called “Black Wall Street: The Money, The Music & The People” as the first film project under Rebekah’s company, RLP Productions. The film highlights the forgotten story of Jackson Ward, the other” Black Wall Street” of the early 20th century. Her other novels are The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman and Sex, Lies and Shoeboxes. This year, RLP Productions released its first webisode, “The War at Home,” which follows the journey of combat soldier Sergeant First Class Belinda Oglesby on her return home to fight another kind of war: the fight to regain custody of her children, her health and her career. Follow the series here.

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Patricia A. Smith

The Year of Needy GirlsRobin Farmer talks with local teacher and author Patricia A Smith about her debut novel “The Year of Needy Girls.” The book explores how bigotry and paranoia driven by a brutal event tears a family and a town apart. Patricia’s nonfiction has appeared in several anthologies, including “One Teacher in Ten: Gay and Lesbian Educators Tell Their Stories” and “One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About What’s Gotten Better . . . and What Hasn’t.” Her work has also appeared in Salon, Broad Street, Prime Number, and Gris-Gris. A native New Englander who now lives in Chester, Patricia says she has known she wanted to be a writer her entire life. (17 minutes)

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Kristen Green

SomethingMustBe DoneHost Robin Farmer talks to author Kristen Green about her New York Times best-selling debut “Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County.” The novel is a personal look at what happened in her hometown after the landmark Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education. Instead of complying with the ruling to desegregate its public schools, Prince Edward County closed them – for five years. Kristen discusses her reasons for writing the book, her conflicting feelings as her research revealed her grandfather’s involvement in the battle, and her advice for local non-fiction writers.  (25 minutes)

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Stacy Hawkins Adams

Stacy AdamsAuthor Stacy Hawkins Adams is the author of nine novels and a non-fiction spiritual devotional book. In addition, she is an award-winning columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a contributor to The Huffington Post and a communications director for an area independent school. Host Robin Farmer calls her a “word artist.” During this interview, hear excerpts from Stacy’s third book “Watercolored Pearls” and her latest novel “Finding Home.” Also hear this word artist discuss her themes of personal growth and women on journeys to find themselves, how working as a journalist helps her get to the heart of the matter in her novels, and why she takes time to mentor aspiring writers.  (27 minutes)

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Corrin Elizabeth

ItsTimeBookArtist and writer Corrin Elizabeth created her first children’s book in middle school. She knew from an early age that children’s illustration was her passion.  Her new book, “It’s Time,” deals with anxiety and fear in young people. Corrin hopes the book will inspire, encourage and bring hope. During this interview with Jennifer Riley, Corrin reads “It’s Time” and shares the process and challenges of writing while illustrating. She also offers advice on how to overcome the things that frighten you.   (January 2017, 16 minutes)

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Sadeqa Johnson

Second-House-from-Corner-paper600pxRobin Farmer talks with Sadeqa Johnson about her novel “Second House from the Corner.” Sadeqa’s debut novel “Love in a Carry-on Bag” was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Her third novel, “And Then There Was Me,” will be published in April 2017. Sadeqa tells Robin she likes to write about “strong women who have to go through things to get to the other side,” and reads an excerpt from “Second House from the Corner.” In the interview, you’ll also learn what Sadeqa enjoys about Richmond since moving here in 2015, her writing process and the advice she offers aspiring novelists.  (28 minutes, December 2016)

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Josephine Ensign

catching-homelessnessRobin Farmer talks with Richmond native Josephine Ensign, author of “Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net,” about her own experience being precariously housed and providing nursing care for the homeless in Richmond. Josephine, a nurse practitioner and professor who teaches community health, health policy and narrative medicine in Seattle, is a pioneer in understanding the direct link between homelessness and health. In the course of the interview you’ll also learn about the impetus for writing “Catching Homelessness” and the writing community that encourages her, as well as her advice for aspiring authors.  (26 minutes, December 2016)

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Anne Bryan Westrick

brotherhoodRobin Farmer talks with award-winning author Anne Bryan Westrick. Anne grew up in Pennsylvania and later moved with her husband to Virginia where she spent hours walking Richmond’s brick streets, wondering how her Southern ancestors had fared during and after the Civil War. Her debut novel Brotherhood grew from those wonderings.  Brotherhood is historical fiction set in Richmond shortly after the Civil War and received the Virginia Library Association’s 2014 Jefferson Cup Award, won the Housatonic Book Award for Writing for Middle Grades and YA, and was named an American Library Association 2014 Best Book for Young Adults, a National Council for the Social Studies 2014 Notable Trade Book, a Jane Addams Children’s Book Award 2014 honor book for older readers, and a Junior Library Guild selection.   (28 minutes, November 2016)

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Dr. James Schmitt – Part 2

james-schmitt-2Lou Dean and Dr. Schmitt continue their discussion about “Speed Bumps and Tsetse Flies,” a hilarious and heartwarming book of true-life stories from Dr. Schmitt’s work with veterans and practicing medicine in the U.S. and the Third Word.  (22 minutes, October 2016)

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Dr. James Schmitt – Part 1

speed-bumps-and-tsetse-fliesDr. James Schmitt took an unusual route to becoming Director of Internal Medicine at McGuire Veterans Hospital: he was the first astronomer admitted to the UCSF School of Medicine.  While practicing medicine in the U.S. and in Third World countries, he realized that humor and storytelling helped ease the stress of his patients.  His colleagues called him “The Storyteller” and urged him to record his stories. Thus came “Speed Bumps and Tsetse Flies,” a hilarious and heartwarming book full of true-life stories.  Listen to Lou Dean and Dr. Schmitt discuss the book and some of its characters.  (25 minutes, October 2016)

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