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BOOKS: Writers and Readers Emerge From Hibernation

Local bookstores are abuzz with author readings and signings. Check out Chop Suey's ongoing Von Gribley series and the cast of characters lined up to visit the Fountain Bookstore, Barnes & Noble Libbie Place and Book People.

Those who crave poetry over prose have options around every corner, from Short Pump to Shockoe Bottom. Join the Short Pump Poets at Barnes & Noble Sept. 8. Bring your ballads to the Virginia Center Commons Barnes & Noble's Open Mic Night Sept. 10, to Libbie Place Sept. 20 or to Shockoe Espresso and Roastery Sept. 25. Get down at Café Gutenberg's Poetry Jam Sept. 12 or slam at the Firehouse Theatre's Just Poetry! Slam Sept. 26.

If you are an aspiring writer, rip up your bus ticket to New York and stay awhile. Submit your best short story to the Style Weekly Fiction Contest (see details on page 42 or at Cavort with other writerly types at the largest literary event in Richmond, the third annual James River Writers Conference. Held Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at the Library of Virginia, the conference features more than 40 local and nationally acclaimed authors, poets, screenwriters, bloggers, agents, editors and more. Further hone your skills with a variety of fall classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Visual Arts Center of Richmond or at Comedy Alley with Slash Coleman's new series, "Neon Signs."

Step out of summer isolation and into Richmond's luscious autumn literary scene, one word at a time.— Valley Haggard

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