Cast of Characters 

The sixth James River Writers Conference pulls in an expert on Southern writing, a surprising number of graduates from St. Christopher's and a poet whose words compete with naked ladies.

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Kate Jacobs

As a young girl, Kate Jacobs' mother told her that all writers starve to death. So Jacobs thought long and hard before majoring in journalism and landing work at several women's magazines. While she enjoyed Redbook, Working Woman and Family Life, she never lost her desire to write fiction.

The publication and wild success of her debut novel, “The Friday Night Knitting Club,” and subsequently, “Comfort Food,” have kept Jacobs away from the brink of starvation. When Jacobs' husband designed, an alternate-reality Web site based on the fictional site in “The Friday Night Knitting Club,” Jacobs received a few e-mails from book clubs. So she put a book-club button on her Web site. “For a while nothing happened,” she says. “And then the floodgates opened.”

Now, in addition to book tours and writers conferences, she is involved with — in person or by phone — about 40 book club discussions a month.

“When you have community, you have a home and it doesn't matter where you live,” Jacobs says. A sequel to the “Friday Night Knitting Club,” revisiting the characters and the shop five years later, is due for publication Nov. 25.



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