Yesterday I received the first 2011 edition of James River Writers newsletter, ” Get Your Word On” , and was surprised to see a notification of a new award being offered by the writer’s group.
The award is in honor of James River Writers member Emyl Jenkins, who passed away last year. I can’t think of a better way to honor such a lovely and generous person than with the spirit of this particular award :
( the following text comes from James River Writers newsletter)
To recognize those who make Virginia a better place for writers:
JRW now accepting nominations for The Emyl Jenkins Award
The Emyl Jenkins Award honors the memory of Emyl Jenkins, author, JRW Board Member and inspirational friend to all, who died in 2010.
Who may enter: Any Virginia individual or organization that, in the same spirit as Emyl Jenkins, makes Virginia a better place for writers.
Procedure: Entry must explain in no more than 500 words how the nominee makes Virginia a better place for writers. Entry must include contact information (e-mail and phone) for the nominator and two others who can further illuminate the nominee’s qualifications.
Send nominations by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to
James River Writers, 320 Hull St., #136, Richmond, VA 23224. There is no entry fee. The contest opens Jan. 1, 2011. Deadline for entries is March 31, 2011.
Judging: A panel of judges, chosen from the JRW board of directors to represent different levels of writing experience, will pick the winner. They will choose the nominee who best matches Emyl Jenkins’ efforts to make Virginia a better place for writers. That could be by connecting people and organizations around the written word, by sharing time and expertise about writing or by encouraging writers.
Announcement of winner: The winner will receive an award that honors Emyl Jenkins’ work and reflects her style. The award will be presented at the JRW spring fundraiser in 2011.
Emyl was a favorite of ours at Simple Pleasures. When I first opened our storefront in Ashland, she was wonderful about helping me get in touch with local authors who might be interested in doing signings with us. She was incredibly gracious with me and very supportive of indie bookstores- ours included. She always had a kind word or helpful suggestion and did it all in such a understated, sweet way- as if it was the most natural thing in the world. She was a lady of seemingly impromptu acts of kindness- one in particular that I recall as especially sweet. Emyl had been dining with friends at a resturant near our bookstore one evening, and when they were done she suggested that they stop in at Simple Pleasures. I unfortunately, was not there that evening, but my daughter related the story to me the next day. Not only did Emyl make a special stop at the store, but the whole thing turned into an impromptu book signing.
I suppose others might see that as an inconsequential thing, but it was one of those moments that was so typically Emyl Jenkins. Always there to be a supportive friend, colleague, fellow book lover. She was one of those people that loved what she did and liked to share her joy with those who loved it too.
The moment I recalled is just one in a long line of similar experiences shared by those whose lives she touched- no matter how briefly. She was a classy lady who is sorely missed by those that knew her. I am happy her style will stand to be an inspiration and goal for others to aspire to. We remember you fondly, Emyl.