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Wow! Thank You! 2019 Give Local 757

Thank you
Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, liked, and/or sent great energy our way during Give Local 757 2019! This year, we raised about $29, 070 from about 551 generous donors!
And this year, we won the first place prize grant for most overall donors! This is all because of your support, and we really, really appreciate it.
Special Prize to Donors: We will be holding a random drawing shortly to determine who has won the free seminars as well as the VIP Bash ticket. Stay tuned.
Did you know? The Muse provides more than $28,000 in tuition assistance and scholarships to nearly 250 students, and helps send 3 people to college each year. We offer nearly 300 classes and serve more than 1,200 students (from age 6 to post-retirement) each year, and The Muse helps give writers a voice, organizing readings, open mics, and writers events that reach more than 7,000 adults, teens, and kids each year. We're expanding our outreach to senior living communities, youth programs & schools, and military & veterans groups. The Muse is Hampton Roads' only literary center and is ranked in the top-10 in the country! Your donation will help us continue to grow and better serve the community! Thank you for your support!
Give Local 757 was sponsored locally by the Peninsula Community Foundation, The Hampton Roads Community Foundation, and Bank of America. Thank you for their help and support.
Even though this event is concluded, you can always donate to The Muse.

Our 500+ Generous Donors:

30 Anonymous Donors,
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Sarah-Grace),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Ann K. Sullivan Esq.),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of ASAP and ODU),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Dakota Chacon),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of David Klein),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of my dad),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of My mom-Miriam Dempsey),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Noah Baumbach),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Phillippe Mosier),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Shawn Girvan),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Steve Blythe-a true American if there ever was one),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Stories Untold),
Anonymous Donor (in honor of Tim Conway),
Anonymous Donor (in memory of Richard Milhous Nixon),
A Taste Of France,
Abigail Gillen,
Abigail Putnam,
Adam Paine,
Aleene Rose,
Alfred Crane (in honor of Tim Conway),
Alfred Crane,
Alice Lee (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Alicia Dekker (in honor of Julia Hislop),
Alison Schoew,
Allan Murphy,
Allen White,
Alyssa Hollingsworth,
Amanda Martin,
Amanda Steadele,
Amelia Sievers (in honor of Anna Fitzgerald),
Amy Aiken,
Amy Jonak (in honor of Shawn & The Musettes),
Amy Logan,
Andrea Lambie,
Andrew Livengood,
Andrew Tavss,
Andria McClellan,
Angela Benard,
Angela Wierzbicki,
Angela Winters,
Ann Gillen,
Ann McCarthy,
Ann Meek,
Ann Sullivan,
Anna Fitzgerald (in honor of Denise Baker & Michael Khandelwal),
Anna Loomis,
Anne Mueller,
Anthony & Bonnie Cascio,
April Threet,
Barbara Carlson (in memory of Raymond Carver),
Barbara Fine (in honor of our daughter-Diane Fine),
Barbara Gardner,
Barbara Taylor,
Belinda Williams (in honor of Onishaclaire),
Beth Williams,
Bettie Cooper,
Betty Meyer,
Bill Ayres,
Bonita Fields,
Brad McMurran (in memory of Julia Hislop and John Sharp),
Brenda Barnes,
Brian Hennessy,
Caitlin Hayes,
Caitlyn Worner,
Carol Bronson,
Carol Howard,
Carol Sabellico,
Caroline Mann (in honor of Shawn & his Musettes),
Carrie Chantler (in honor of Brad Nelson Winters),
Caswell Richardson (in honor of David Richardson),
Catherine Borden,
Catherine Fletcher,
Catherine Malley,
Catherine Schuck (in honor of Chloe Schuck),
Cathy Craft (in memory of Dakota Chacon),
Cathy Huemer (in honor of Lora Reed),
Cecelia Hagen (in honor of Phyllis Paxton Hagen),
Celina Santana,
Charles Hecht-Leavitt,
Charles Rhodes,
Charles Wilson (in honor of Kafka),
Cheryl Hornung (in honor of Alicia and Helen Dekker),
Chris Winfield,
Christie Davenport,
Christine Koubek (in honor of Ann Roberts),
Christine Neikirk (in honor of Susan Lilly),
Christine Truman,
Christine White,
Christopher DeMatteo,
Cindy Carlson,
Claire Smith (in memory of Rev. Aaron D. Smith and Carolyn D. Smith),
Cornelia Brown,
Courtney Haywood (in honor of Ann Sullivan),
Dakota Wilster,
Dan Becker,
Dana Wells,
Daniel Brame,
Daniel Duke,
Darlene Ward,
Daun Hester,
David Cascio,
David Girvan (in honor of Thomas Girvan),
David Harpest,
David Sadler,
Debbie Eddings,
Debbie Paine,
Deborah Collins (in honor of Ann K. Sullivan Esq.),
Debra Frech,
Denise Cassella (in honor of David Cascio),
Derek Spohn,
Desiree Cooper,
Diane Fine,
Diane Kaufman,
Dianne Blythe (even though I'm Steve Blythe's Mom-in honor of Shawn Girvan),
Dino McCurdy,
Donald Meador,
Donna Briggs,
Donna Conover,
Donnell Catherines,
Doris Gwaltney,
Douglas Carlson,
Douglas Knack,
Drema Deoraich,
Dustin Jones,
Elaine Panneton,
Elizabeth Esenberg,
Elizabeth Fine (in honor of Diane Fine),
Elizabeth Girvan (in honor of Ace),
Elizabeth Grainger (in honor of Georgie Andre),
Elizabeth Kurz,
Elizabeth Philpott (in honor of Sarah Pringle and Michael Khandelwal),
Ellen Bryson,
Emily Birknes,
Emma Reilly,
Emma Yokois,
Erin Beaty,
Evan Hartley,
Frances Ward,
Frederick Levy,
Gabriel Robinson (in honor of all D&D characters-past present and future),
Gail Kent,
Gail Perry,
Gareth Trollope,
Garland Gallaspy,
Gaylia Taylor,
George Okaty,
George Kelley,
George Schaefer,
Georgie Marquez,
Gilbert Kraine,
Govind Khandelwal,
Greetle Gillen,
Gregory Peterman (in honor of Yorgo's Bageldashery),
Gretchen Gillen,
Gudrun Nadjat-Haiem ,
Harriet Schley,
Hayley Daniels,
Heather Paine,
Helen Dekker,
Helen Kuhns (in memory of Ryley Cofer & Frank Jordan),
Henry Thompson,
Hollie Sessoms,
Holly Chacon (in honor of Dakota Chacon),
Holly Santiago,
Ian Overholt,
Ilene Goldman (in honor of Dan Goldman),
J Mahlau-Heinert,
Jack Sommers,
James Hinshaw,
James Justice,
James Roberts,
James Sexton,
James Veverka,
James Wilson (in honor of Wider Perspectives Publishing),
Jamshid Samareh,
Jane Wertz (in honor of My father),
Jane White,
Janella Hecker (in honor of all your zany characters....past present and future!),
Janet Bing (in honor of Luisa Igloria),
Janine Latus (in honor of Alison Schoew and Kelly Sokol),
Jason Dietz (in honor of the concept of words),
Jason Hoffman,
Jean Picou,
Jeff Fine,
Jeffrey Andrews,
Jeffrey Hecker,
Jeffrey Hutson,
Jennifer Edwards,
Jennifer Girvan (in honor of Sally Field the Cat),
Jennifer Hitchcock,
Jennifer Malia,
Jessica Kelley,
Jessica Tyree,
Jim Dekker,
Jim Morrison,
Joanne Davies,
Joanne Higgins (in honor of Prentice Cushing Jr.),
Joanne Robbins (in honor of Kay and Al Russillo),
Job Girvan,
Jody Miller,
Joe Jackson,
John Chappell,
John Deal,
John Girvan (in honor of Shawn Girvan),
John McCarthy,
John Weech (in honor of KSS),
Jon Berry,
Jon Zuck (in honor of Lloyd Zuck),
Joni Baker,
Jordan Fernandez,
Joseph Barboza,
Joseph Lassiter,
Josh Peek,
Joy Dean (in honor of Patricia Bowen),
Joyce Swindell,
Judith Moffitt,
Julia L. Ray,
Kailyn Sasso,
Kara Norman,
Karen Corrigan,
Karen Fine (in honor of Diane Fine),
Karen Mosier,
Karen Reilly,
Karen Schiler (in honor of Abigail Keegan),
Karen Steele,
Karl Bogott,
Karrie McDaniels,
Kate Thomas,
Katherine Chapman,
Katherine Frei Diamond,
Katherine Schulz,
Katherine Sikes,
Katheryn Fletcher (in honor of Kelly Sokol),
Kathleen Haney (in honor of Dakota Chacon),
Kathryn Copeland,
Kathryn Morton,
Kathryn Puerini,
Kathy Brobst (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Kathy Kruschwitz (in honor of Cindy Carlson's birthday!),,
Kathy Renault (in honor of Jane White my daughter),
Kathy Sarosdy (in memory of Susan Argo),
Katie Begley,
Kelley Sousa,
Kelly Sokol,
Kim Bielmann,
Kim Jaramillo,
Kimberly Urdaneta (in honor of Marite Clifford),
Kindra Greene,
Konrad Winters,
Kristen Richardson,
Landis Lee,
Landra Gifford,
Lane Ritter,
Laura Beraha (in memory of Frank Kelly Freas),
Laura King (in honor of Julia Hislop),
Lauran Strait,
Laurie Bedwell,
Lawrence Leibowitz,
Lawton Baker,
Lee Entsminger,
Leigh Lagoe,
Leslie Entsminger,
Leslie Hecht-Leavitt,
Leslie Renn,
Leslie Shroyer,
Leticia Alonso,
Lewis Crenshaw,
Lewis Foster,
Lily Hecht-Leavitt,
Linda Cobb,
Linda Hansen,
Linwood Fisher,
Lisa Bolen,
Lisa Cooper (in honor of Matilda Klow),
Lisa Speckheuer,
Lisa Vickers,
Lisa Vincent,
Lori Mandy Pennington,
Luisa Igloria,
Lydia Netzer,
Lynn Schoenbaum,
Lynne-Hope Ornoff (in honor of Kopeland Daniel Ornoff),
Maggie Libby,
Maia Peters,
Maithili Barot,
Malcom Massey,
Marc Moss,
Marc Pessar (in honor of Tim Seibles on the occasion of his retirement),
Marcia Gray,
Margaret DeTar-Lavallee,
Margaret Everton,
Margarita Budrionis,
Maria Suarez,
Marilyn Barton (in honor of Mary Zuccarini),
Marilyn Mendelson,
Marion McCurdy,
Martha Ambler,
Marvin Eley,
Mary Baker (in honor of Dabney G. Baker IV), Mary Barhydt (in honor of Kathryn Copeland),
Mary Bartlett,
Mary Batten,
Mary Kledzik (in honor of Michael K.),
Mary Veverka,
Matt Reilly (in honor of Nancy Sommers),
Matthew Cole (in honor of John Sharp),
Matthew Friedman (in honor of screenwriters everywhere),
Maxwell Minor,
Meaghan Mozingo,
Melissa Deutsch,
Melissa Maniglia,
Meredith Gold (in honor of Diane Fine),
Michael and Michelle Park,
Michael Carhart,
Michael Frost,
Michael Gillen,
Michael Khandelwal,
Michael Knepler,
Michael Krentz,
Michael Owens,
Michael Rigg,
Michael Shaw (in honor of Larry T. Shaw),
Michael Ziegenfuss,
Mike Aiken,
Mike Booth,
Millicent Accardi,
Milton Saunders,
Mirabai Roberts,
Missy Schmidt (in honor of Leslie Entsminger),
Nancy Blumenberg (in honor of all mothers everywhere),
Neil Rose (in honor of Charles Hecht-Leavitt),
Norman Loeb,
Patricia Corbus,
Patricia Smith,
Patrick Gray,
Pattti Hinson,
Paul Tschiderer,
Paula Fortin (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Peggy Meder,
Penny Rosenwasser (in honor of Cindy Carlson),
Perry Miles,
Pete Paine,
Peter Schulman,
Philip Walzer,
Pieter Dahmen,
R L Baxter Jr,
Ramin Fatehi (in honor of Stephen P. Burgess),
Raphael Gillen,
Ray Smith,
Rebecca Hamill,
Rebecca Lane Coulson,
Reginald Buchanan,
Reid Doughten,
Remica Bingham-Risher,
Renee Olander (in honor of Virginia Armstrong),
Rhonda Adkins,
Ricardo Alonso,
Richard Goll,
Richard Levin,
Richard Popkin (in honor of Jane Popkin),
Richard Williams,
Rick Fischer (in honor of Rick's Muse Screenwriting Classes),
Rick Kennerly,
Rick Schoew,
Robert Bernstein,
Robert Bingham (in honor of Remica),
Robert Boester,
Robert Copeland,
Robert Edwards,
Robert Fine (in honor of Tim Conway),
Robert Howard,
Robert Roman,
Robert Sawyer (in honor of my mom),
Roberta Pearson,
Robin Cowherd,
Robyn Field (in honor of Diane Fine),
Robyn Thomas,
Rochelle McKoy,
Roderick McLeod (in honor of Makayla Mozingo),
Rodney Williamson,
Ronald Greenspan (in honor of Noa Greenspan),
Rosalie Masure,
Rosanne Walters,
S. K. Reilly (in honor of Emma Reilly),
Sandra Wittman,
Sara Pelosi,
Sarah Parrott,
Scott Fales,
Scott Manzler,
Scott Wertz,
Seth Pomeroy,
Shannon Lesoken,
Shannon Mosier (in honor of Mr. Girvan & his beautiful wife),
Sharon Leeman (in honor of Michael Khandewal),
Sharon Talasazan,
Shawn Girvan (in Memory of Mary Katherine & Joan Rivers),
Shawn Rockhold,
Sheila Arnold,
Sheila Sheppard (in honor of Patti Hinson),
Sherene Silverberg (in honor of Lydia Netzer),
Shirley Brackett (in honor of Tori Lavallee & Teen Fellowship Program),
Shirley McDonald,
Skip Keith (in honor of Helen Moon),
Somtow Sucharitkul,
Sonja Barisic (in honor of Kathy Brobst),
Star LaBranche,
Stephanie Brannick,
Stephanie Calliott (in honor of Charles Hecht-Leavitt),
Stephanie Catherines,
Stephen Burgess,
Stephen Reed,
Steven Saunders,
Susan Kim,
Susan Larson (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Susan Mosier,
Susan Okaty,
Suzanne Aldridge,
Sybil Spurgeon (in honor of Ann Sullivan),
Sylvia Liu,
Tammie Elliott,
Tara Chapman,
Tarin Kovalik,
Ted Warren,
Terri Sarafan,
Terri-Lynn Hedgepeth,
Terry Joseph,
Theresa Parker (in honor of Larry Edge),
Thom Vourlas,
Thomas Cannone,
Timothy Sumner Seibles,
Tom Reel,
Tomme Connelley,
Tommy Leeman,
Tracy Jackson (in honor of Riley Jackson),
Tresa Gardner,
Tyler Leinbach (in honor of Lisa Cooper),
Valerie Wilkinson,
Vinita Folck,
Virginia Werner,
Vivianne Gantous,
Wendi White,
Whitney Weireter,
William Gillen,
William Laderberg,
Willis Ward Jr.,
Yvette Williams,
Zachary Singer-Leavitt,

Book Lovers Bash

You're invited!

4th Annual Book Lovers Bash

Saturday, October 5 at The Slover Library

Individual tickets to the Bash and VIP Reception are available as well as many opportunities to become a bash sponsor. Please visit or call 757-818-9880 for advanced tickets, sponsorships, and more information.
VIP Reception & Bash: $125: VIP reception is from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and includes a full, open bar, heavy hors díoeuveres, music and entertainment, remarks by humanities scholar and author, Clay Jenkinson, a meet-and-greet with local literati, and admission to the Bash (7-10 p.m.)
Bash only: $35: Bash is from 7-10 p.m., and includes fantastic desserts, a cash bar, a silent auction, a performance by Acoustic Railroad, a DJ, literary characters, a prize wheel, a photo booth, and other great entertainment.
View the sponsorship one-sheet for this year's Book Lovers Bash.
Visit the Facebook event for the Bash.
See photos from our 2018 Book Lovers Bash.
See photos from our 2018 Book Lovers Bash's Photo Booth.
See photos from our 2017 Book Lovers Bash.
See photos from our 2017 Book Lovers Bash's Photo Booth.
See photos from our 2016 Book Lovers Bash.

The New Muse Center

The NEW Muse Writers Center

Our new, 2,700 square-foot facility houses five large classrooms, two semi-private rooms for writers who need a little more quiet to work, office space, a kitchen, two restrooms, as well as a library and an auditorium.

Open Hours

Our center will be closed Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day Holiday.

Mondays, 12:30-7 p.m.
Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Wednesdays, 12:30-5 p.m.

& Thursdays, 12:30-7 p.m.
are when we are open to the public.

2200 Colonial Ave., Suite #3
Ghent, Norfolk, VA, 23517

Great Articles

In The Virginian-Pilot
In Alt Daily
In HR Scene
In The Mace and Crown
In Ghent Living Magazine
In Coastal Virginia Magazine

The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia (VA) is an organization for Hampton Roads writers, new and experienced, to come together in creative writing classes, readings, and special events.

The Muse

Muse Creative Writing Classes are designed by our teachers for writers of all ages, backgrounds, and experience. Beginning classes welcome novice writers as well as those with some writing experience who are looking for a structured environment in which to bloom. Advanced classes, or studios, offer a community and guidance while working on a literary project and follow the graduate level workshop model, where current work is distributed to all members of the studio for helpful criticism and advice. Offerings include those in poetry, fiction, memoir, creative non-fiction, screenwriting, playwriting, comic book writing, children's book writing, and grammar.

The Muse's instructors are all working writers and published authors who have taught courses at colleges, universities, and other community organizations.

At the end of each workshop or studio session, The Muse hosts free, public readings in the Norfolk, Virginia (VA) area, which give all of our workshop and studio participants the opportunity to present their work to a supportive audience. Always well attended, our readings bring together the literary community here in Hampton Roads to celebrate our writers accomplishments.

The Muse is dedicated to broadening community awareness and support of the literary arts. In addition to offering writing classes, The Muse is a resource center and a place for all writers in the Norfolk, Virginia (Hampton Roads, VA) area to come together, share ideas, and figure out what language can hold. Come to one of our events and learn more about us.

The Muse Writers Center's projects, classes, and events are made possible in part through sponsorship by the City of Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Support The Muse through AmazonSmile!

Of course, we urge you to support your local bookstore (please shop at Prince Books and The Book Exchange), but when you buy anything else from Amazon (from computers and TVs to games and clothes), now you can earmark .5% of your purchase as a donation to The Muse Writers Center. It's easy!
When you shop at Amazon Smile, youíll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as at Amazon. To shop at AmazonSmile and support The Muse, simply go to from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You may also want to add a bookmark to AmazonSmile to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation" on their product detail pages.
You use the same account on Amazon and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.
Thank You for your support of The Muse Writers Center!

Muse Tuition Assistance & Scholarships
Application & Donation Information

Tuition Assistance for Muse Classes

The Muse Writers Center is honored and grateful to announce the establishment of the Dakota Anne Chacon Tuition Assistance Fund. The Tuition Assistance Fund will allow The Muse to offer our community writing classes to students regardless of their ability to pay tuition. To date, the fund has provided tuition assistance to hundreds of students and has received donations from hundreds of additional generous persons. Please contact the office for more information or to apply (you will be asked to volunteer in exchange for receiving tuition assistance). " target="_blank" title="Donate to the Muse Writers Center">Donations to the fund are very welcome, and all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Scholarships for Muse Students for Conferences & Craft Development

The Muse Writers Center is very pleased and proud to announce the creation of The Julia Hislop Conference & Craft Development Fund. Named in honor of a fine writer and longtime friend of The Muse, The Fund will support writers in their ongoing education through participation in writers conferences and other craft-development opportunities. Dr. Julia Hislop was a life-long learner who believed everyone should try new things, explore new interests, and rejoice in learning. These scholarships are available to current and past students at the Muse Writers Center to help pay a portion of their tuition, expenses, and/or conference fees. Please contact the office for more information. Donations to the fund are very welcome, and all donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Apply now for support for Conferences & Craft Development
  • We will award funding at levels determined by need and available funds. Right now the fund is in need of donations.
  • Past winners are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to first-time applicants.
  • Applications are accepted year-round. Download the application (Word).

Scholarships for Muse Students for College and Graduate School

The Muse Writers Center is excited to announce the establishment of the Joan Rorke-McClure Futures Scholarships through a generous donation from William McClure. Joan Rorke-McClure was a leading physician, lover of education, and friend to The Muse who always encouraged and helped foster a passion for learning. These scholarships are available to current and past students at the Muse Writers Center to help pay a portion of their tuition/expenses for beginning or continuing undergraduate or graduate study in creative writing or a related field. You can help make a difference by donating to the scholarship fund. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

2018-2019 Application Deadline was August 31, 2018
  • We will award three $500 scholarships for each coming academic year.
  • Past winners are welcome to apply, but priority will be given to first-time applicants.
  • Scholarship winners will be announced after Sept. 5, 2018.

Congratulations to our 2018–2019 Winners!
  • Rebekah Coxwell: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fction) at Arcadia University. "My experience with The Muse has proven to me that writing is not a solitary experience. It is rooted in the community, in sharing good books and connecting with others whose passion happens to be writing as well. Since the beginning of my serious writing career, I have started to meet so many people that I would not have met otherwise, either through The Muse or through other writing workshops. My plan after graduation is to give back to the writing community once I finish school."
  • Alicia Dekker: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Queens University. "When my daughter was eight years old, I was looking for grown-up conversation and a way to reignite my creativity. I was drawn to The Muse by that wish for connectedness and a search for community--in addition to an obsessive compulsion to write fiction! Over the past decade, I have benefited in so many ways. I especially value having experienced and witnessed the transformative power that writing and sharing oneís story can have. I have seen veterans, senior citizens, stay-at-home moms, and teenagers find relief, validation, and confidence through their writing. And I have seen writers of all ages and backgrounds find commonality and delight in each otherís words. Earning an MFA will equip me to teach creative writing and provide me another means to ďpay forwardĒ the gifts I receive from The Muse. What an honor it will be to play a facilitating role in fostering this community."
  • Paula Fortin: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The experience at the Muse is the reason Iím going to school. I want to be really good at what I do, and so I want to learn as much as possible and work as much as my health allows. I want my art to be created and I want to leave it here for anyone who might benefit, eventually."
  • Derek Spohn: graduate student, pursuing an B.A. in Spanish and English (Creative Writing) at Old Dominion University. "My experience with The Muse has helped me to establish that I would like to pursue gainful employment as a writer of science fiction in the long-term. It has boosted my confidence and provided me with new means to develop my story ideas and characters. When I interact with my fellow students at The Muse, I get to learn about the diversity of opinions and approaches that people take when writing. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little kid. That said, I have struggled for most of that time to have the self-confidence to take the risk to write and to keep on going no matter how many rejection letters I receive when I submit my stories, because I know that, with the help of writing support groups such as The Muse, I can work to improve my writing skills even after I graduate with my Creative Writing degree."

Congratulations to our 2017–2018 Winners!
  • Amanda Gomez: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The Muse has shown me how to apply my degree outside of the academic realm. I have met people throughout the community, and this networking has helped me understand how I can use my academic knowledge to help create or contribute to cultural programs to touch everyday people, not just those inside of the "ivory" tower. The Muse has also helped me learn how to communicate that academic information in a way that is accessible to everyone, so it does not get lost in the literary showboating which often characterizes academia. Though I am still unsure what my choice of career will be in the future, I am slowly letting go of the clout of an academic teaching position, and I hope to work in some aspect of a foundation, arts nonprofit, or historical organization."
  • Megan Mann: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at West Virginia Wesleyan College. "I started taking classes at the Muse last fall, after a long hiatus from writing. Iím a stay-at-home parent and my kids were finally old enough and independent enough for me to focus again on my first love, poetry. Being at the Muse in a workshop setting was really affirming. I fell in love with poetry all over again. Then Suzanne Rhodes, one of my Muse teachers, encouraged me to pursue my MFA. I applied for the low-residency program at West Virginia Wesleyan and was accepted. So the Muse has had a direct impact on my decision to attend graduate school. Without the Muse, I may never have seen or realized how right an MFA program was for me. I am grateful for this community!"
  • Sarah Philpott: undergraduate student, pursuing a BA in English/Creative Writing at Hollins University. "The Muse has made me confident in my writing, in who I am, and the style I write in. I wouldn't have dared to go for a creative writing major, let alone write a book, with out them. I owe them so much. "

Congratulations to our 2016–2017 Winners!
  • Jarrod Mitchell Harrison: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (fiction) at Columbia University. "The Muse offered me a model for the type of literary community Iíve yearned for over the years. When I came to the Muse I was in the middle of applying to schools and I wanted feedback on some of my older work. After the last session, I knew that I would carry a bit of the muse around with me forever. I was comfortable at The Muse. That comfort is what drove me to enter Columbia Universityís MFA program. While Iím a student at Columbia I will be equipping myself with the network and skills I need as a writer and citizen of the literary world. Iíll be bringing everything I learn back to Virginia. Ultimately, I want to help writers like myself who come from rural areas. There is not enough emphasis on the arts where I come from in Virginia (Surry County). I know Iíll be writing, but one of the goals Iím looking forward to reaching the most is giving back to the community I come from. I have begun working on a cross-platform program that helps foster creative writing in rural communities."
  • Jason Huff: undergraduate student, pursuing a transfer degree at Tidewater Community College, with the goal of a BA (English) and an MFA in Creative Writing. "Since taking classes and workshops at the Muse, I have been able to reevaluate my life and goals, and was inspired by the teachers there to pursue my dream of becoming a high school literature teacher. I really want to help teenagers find a productive and creative outlet for any hardship they may be going through, and it was writing that helped me through my high school years. I had lost that dream over several years of not writing, but within three sessions at the Muse, I felt the fire return. Now, it is something I know I will never give up again."
  • Amanda Huynh: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "It has been refreshing working at The Muse as well as being a Muse student. My current workflow life revolves around creative writing in academia, but thereís so much more to the art of writing than what one learns within academia. For instance, the dos and doníts of copy editing or the art behind public speaking, and outside of that, thereís even rediscovering the joy of writing. Sometimes writing can become so cumbersome that we, as writers, forget why we ventured into this field. Iím reminded of the creative power found in children writing poetry or stories. The past two years Iíve had the chance to work with children and young adults with their own creative writing in Houston as well as in Norfolk, and itís been inspiring and motivating. The Muse is a gathering place for exploration, and I plan to become a part of organizations like The Muse to help continue nurturing young and old writers with their craft."

Congratulations to our 2015–2016 Winners!
  • Evan Hartley: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. in theater, cinema, and creative writing at Old Dominion University.. "The Muse has definitely influenced my career choice. When I first started classes at the Muse I was encouraged by Michael to start taking improv comedy. Through improv comedy I found my preferred genre of writing. I want to write for television because of The Museís encouragement and support."
  • Rhiannon Harvey: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. at Duke University with a minor in creative writing. "As an entering college freshman I am not entirely sure of my career path, but The Muse has inspired me and encouraged me to pursue my passion through a creative writing minor, and possibly a career as an author. The Muse has taught me how to accept and use constructive criticism, how to combine imagery and dialogue, and most importantly how to believe in myself and my craft."
  • Sheila Sheppard: graduate student, pursuing an M.F.A in Creative Writing (nonfiction) at Old Dominion University. "When I began taking workshops at the Muse in the summer of 2014, I had never written anything that scared me. I was too concerned about what everyone would think, though I knew I had to overcome my fear if I were ever to write anything worth reading. The Muse gave me the courage to search for my own voice, and to admit that the writing path, however daunting, was one I truly wanted to walk. Thanks to the feedback and support of my teachers and fellow workshop participants, I was able to slowly build a portfolio for my graduate school applications. I am thrilled to begin my journey as an MFA candidate at ODU in Creative Writing, nonfiction, this August. I am also honored to serve as the instructor for the Journaling for Creative and Personal Growth class at the Muse this fall. The Muse has offered invaluable opportunities to connect with other writers both informally and through their fantastic community programs such as readings and gatherings. Attending the AWP conference with the Muse crew was an inspiring and humbling experience. Were it not for the Muse, I would still be cowering before my first drafts, afraid to make a sound. Instead, I am taking steps toward the career of my dreams, as both a student and teacher of writing."

Congratulations to our 2014–2015 Winners!
  • Evan Hartley: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. in cinema, fashion design, and creative writing at Old Dominion University. "The Muse fosters my talents and challenges me to become a better artist. Since I was twelve, my dream has been to be part of the film industry. The Muse has encouraged me to try art forms like acting and screenwriting... The Muse has given me a safe environment to explore my creative potential."
  • Tessa Solee: undergraduate student, pursuing B.A. in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. "Until I began at the Muse, writing was something I did for myself only, and something I never considered to be a skill or talent of mine. I had also never taught anyone successfully in my life. My writing classes helped me realize that I could do something real with words, and improv classes allowed me many opportunities to teach improv, and I discovered that I loved both. Because of this, Iím now studying to be a teacher, in order to teach teenagers the power of words—comedic words, foreign words, poetic words, the works. Itís my dream."
  • Karen Tatum: undergraduate student, pursuing Masters degree in writing at Johns Hopkins University. "Because Muse instructors have published and currently work in the field, they provide relevant information about the market. They respect students' work but they don't sugarcoat what needs to be done to improve the work. They provide constructive criticism in a respectful way. They genuinely care about making students' time and money for classes worthwhile. They provide a continuous support network that makes students feel safe to share and confident to get published. New course offerings in Self-Publishing and Querying an Agent have resolved initial concerns I had about leaving academia and becoming a writer. I have decided to devote myself full-time to developing my skills because I feel reassured to have these instructors' continued advice and support. In short, I would not have resigned from a tenured university position and pursued a writing career if not for the Muse's quality instruction and inspiration."

Congratulations to our 2013–2014 Winners!
  • Emily Duquette ($500 winner): graduate student, pursuing MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "The Muse has offered me a place to develop my skills in this time between creative writing programs. The community at the Muse has given me a support system that has reinforced my decision to go to graduate school and pursue my career as a poet."
  • Pamula Floyd ($500 winner): undergraduate student, pursuing BA in English (creative writing and journalism) at Old Dominion University. "It's been wonderful getting feedback from the other students. They have helped me in reducing my doubts over the idea to write a memoir."
  • Hayley Daniels ($250 winner): undergraduate student, pursuing BA in Theatre (creative writing minor) at James Madison University. "The Muse's Improv and Sketch comedy classes have inspired me and reinforced my desire to pursue a career in comedy. After graduating from JMU, I intend to move to Chicago and take classes in improv and sketch comedy at Second City. Performing and writing comedy is my passion and the Muse has provided me the resources to hone my skills."
  • Cindy K. Stone ($250 winner): undergraduate student, pursuing BA in Communications (with creative writing classes) at Old Dominion University. "I have loved writing as a form of expression since primary school. But after decades as a single mom working full-time, I wrote only for business applications. Taking courses at the Muse has re-ignited my passion for the craft of writing, and challenged me to continue revising and improving (my word work and myself). Plus, I am convinced there is no cooler, campier, more interesting collection of souls gathered anywhere else in Hampton Roads than at the Muse."

Congratulations to our 2012–2013 Winners!
each recipient received a $500 scholarship
  • Leslie Samuels Entsminger: graduate student, pursuing graduate classes in Creative Writing (fiction) at Old Dominion University. "Because our family moved so frequently, my studies were interrupted and I was unable to start into an MFA program... When my husband retired and we moved into the Hampton Roads area in September 2010, I came across an advertisement for the Muse and signed up for Beginning Fiction. The class was a welcome diversion from the anxieties of the move and building, and as time went on, I felt a renewed happiness in expressing myself through writing. Earlier this summer, I realized that I was going to turn sixty in a few years. I reasoned that it would be better to reach this age with an MFA rather than not... I would not be following this path had not my earlier path intersected with the Muse."
  • Cassie Pinner: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Emerson College. "The Muse Writers Center served as the catalyst that allowed me to reconnect with my childhood passion and provided me with the knowledge that I could make writing into a career. At The Muse, I begrudgingly read poems that had never been uttered aloud to a room full of strangers, and I became invigorated by the overwhelming openness and support that I was met with. I found myself sharing my work more often and with more people, which allowed me to consider the possibilities of my talent. Without this network of listeners I donít think I would have begun to consider an MFA Degree, much less apply... With my completed MFA Degree, I will be pursuing both professorial opportunities as well as positions at publishing companies. I will also be eternally seeking opportunities for my work to be published and trying to create communities for poets to find solace in, like I did at The Muse."
  • Sarah Pringle : graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) at Old Dominion University. "My experience at the Muse has reinforced my decision to teach creative writing and pursue a creative writing MFA. I love being part of the Muse writers community and fell very comfortable and welcomed at all events and classes. In particular, my involvement with the Muse this summer helped me to stay passionate and inspired while making tough decisions for my future; the opportunities I have been given at the Muse are a major factoring reason in why I decided to continue at ODU."

Congratulations to our 2011–2012 Winners!
each recipient received a $500 scholarship
  • Lauren Hurston: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Old Dominion University. "When I first started classes at The Muse, I had only a vague idea that I wanted to become a writer and what the writing life would entail... I felt the need for an artistic community with similar interests to my own, and The Muse has provided that for me. I am consistently inspired by the teachers and my fellow students, and I consider many of them my mentors and my dearest friends. The workshops helped me become a better writer in that they were thorough, yet enjoyable, the teachers were diverse and knowledgeable, and the quality of creative guidance was excellent. I feel fully prepared and confident to pursue a creative writing program because of the support from The Muse writing community, and for that, I am truly grateful."
  • Tori Kerr: undergraduate, majoring in English & Creative Writing at The George Washington University. "Prior to the Muse I thought my career as an English major would slant in the direction of struggling artist/writer or teacher. This is what I had come to expect due to societal stigma against scholars of the arts... I was not aware of the number of opportunities an education in literature could provide, such as book, magazine and newspaper editing and publishing—not to mention nonprofit work as well..."
  • Rachel Thompson: graduate student, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) at Vermont College of Fine Arts. "If it were not for the Muse, and more specifically Lisa Hartz, I would not be pursuing an MFA, and I would probably still be miserable and not sure why. The Muse has given me the confidence to go after something wholly impractical that I am obsessed with—I am so grateful for all you guys have already given me. I love teaching (thatís my non-writing job) and hope one day to teach writing instead of (or in addition to) Spanish."
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Grant from The Miller Oil Foundation (2014)

A big thank you to The Miller Oil Foundation for a $1,000 grant in 2014 to help support The Muse Writers Center's teen writers program. We very much appreciate it! Top of page.

The Muse Writers Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

In 2006, The Muse Writers Center was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status. We are in the process of applying for grants to support our permanent home in central Ghent for classroom space, readings space, meeting space, and a writers' resource center and library. We will soon announce a Membership program, members being eligible to receive discounts on classes and extended use of resources. We will update this website soon with more information. Top of page.

Thank you!

The Muse Writers Center's projects, classes, and events are made possible in part through sponsorship by the City of Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Top of page.