Come to The Muse for Writing Workshops in Norfolk, Virginia (VA)

Summer Class Schedule Announced! Writers' Happy Hour Every Wednesday
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Muse May Reading Series Coffee Break (1st Fri.)/The Muse Jam (2nd Fri.)
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Wow! Thank You! 2016 Give Local 757

Thank you
Thank you to everyone who donated, shared, liked, and/or sent great energy our way during Give Local 757 2016! Our goal was to raise $10,000 (in 2015, we raised $8,700 with 156 donors; and in 2014, we raised $3,000 with 48 donors). This year, we raised more than $12,800 from about 239 generous donors!
In 24-ish hours, we raised $8,610.75 online, $700 in offline donations (when the national server got picked for jury duty), $1,514 in bonus donations, and then, among 223 other nonprofits, we won a $2,000 donation prize for having the third highest number (225) of online donors. That means you, and we really, really appreciate it.
Special Prize to Donors: We three names from our list of donors to win one of three gift certificates for a free Muse seminar. The winners are: Sarah Hill, Mary Wilt, and Michael Shaw.
Did you know? The Muse provides tuition assistance and scholarships to more than 100 students each year, and helps send 3 people to college each year. We just moved into a beautiful new 2,700 sq. ft. facility, complete with a library and an auditorium, and we offer more than 200 classes and serve more than 1,100 students (from age 8 to post-retirement) each year, and The Muse helps give writers a voice, organizing readings and open mics for more than 300 adults, teens, and kids each year. Your donations will help us continue to grow and better serve the community! Thank you for your support!
Give Local 757 is sponsored locally by the Peninsula Community Foundation, The Southeast Virginia Community Foundation, and The Hampton Roads Community Foundation and was part of a nationwide 24-hour giving event. Thank you very much to these three local foundations for their help and support.
Even though this event is concluded, you can always donate to The Muse.

Our 239 Generous Donors:

12 Anonymous Donors,
Timothy Seibles,
Barbara Taylor,
Peter Schulman,
Govind Khandelwal,
Lisa Vincent,
Charles Hecht-Leavitt,
Ellen Bryson,
Mary Jean Kledzik,
Ronald Kledzik,
Kimberly Engebrigtsen,
Lewis Foster,
Daniel Brame,
Sheri Beyrau,
Lisa Barr,
Kathryn Copeland,
Cynthia Carlson,
Sarah Hill,
Evan Grummell,
Mary Veverka,
Kelly Sokol,
Noah and Leslie Renn (in Memory of D. R. Smithson),
Marilyn Barton,
Shawn & Jennifer Girvan,
Robert Edwards,
Christopher De Matteo,
Leslie & Lee Entsminger,
Evans Poston,
Patricia Corbus (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Patrick Evans-Hylton (In Memory of Wayne K. Hylton),
Al Markowitz,
Lamar Giles,
Suzanne Rhodes (In memory of Eve Shelnutt),
Peter Porosky,
Christopher McCarthy,
Lisa Grimes,
Alicia Dekker (with thanks to all the wonderfully talented instructors at The Muse),
Laura Beraha (in memory of Frank Kelly Freas),
Dixie Dickinson (in honor of the Naro Theater),
Debra Frech,
Wendy Schofer,
Michael Frost,
Anne Marie Lyons,
Jane White,
Michael Khandelwal,
Karla Martin,
Kelley McGee-Sousa,
Gretchen Gillen,
Renee Olander (in honor of Martha Iredell),
Kindra McDonald,
Debbie Duncan,
Randy Duncan,
Joni Baker,
Gail Perry,
Angela Schlein,
Tim Sterken,
Gillian Durham,
Christie Davenport,
Kathryn Puerini,
Scott Fales,
Sarah Pringle,
David Cascio,
Matt Jackson,
Sally Hartman (in honor of Stephanie Calway),
Charles Wilson,
Rhonda Adkins,
Sheldon Leavitt (in honor of David),
Alison Schoew,
Mary Wilt,
Susan VanHecke,
Sherene Silverberg,
Millicent Accardi,
Cheryl Hornung,
Erin Beaty,
Michael Park,
William Ballard,
William & Anagene Loebick (in honor of Celina Santana),
Bennie & Annie Barnes,
Lynn Clements (in honor of Muse instructor Leslie Clements),
Bob Baxter,
Carla Earnest,
Victoria Kelly,
William Ayres,
Mark Hunter,
Michael Knepler,
Jon Van Laarhoven,
Ruben Igloria,
Caswell Richardson,
Janet & David Berry (in honor of Sarah Berry),
Austin Rankin,
Milt Saunders,
Rusty Cullen,
Marian Leavitt (in honor of David),
Ann Burrows,
Elaine Panneton,
Meghan Maki,
Emily Howell,
Phyllis Fedele,
Sheila Sheppard (in honor of Patti Hinson!),
Christina Dalcher,
David Wilhelm,
Pamela McWhorter Hurley (in honor of Robert L. McWhorter III),
Stephanie Catherines,
Nicki Toy,
Marc Leon Pessar (in honor of Luisa Igloria and Tim Seibles),
Elizabeth Bilderback,
Harriet S Buchholz,
Cecelia A Hagen,
Celina Santana,
Kim Lewandowski,
Gareth Trollope,
Lisa Booth,
Mandy Pennington,
Linda Unseth (in honor of The First Look Film Forum at the Naro Theater),
Tucker L Casanova,
Cab Calloway Spates,
George Kelley,
Ginny Werner,
Doris H Gwaltney,
Harold Rick Hite,
Kat Lineker,
Karla Loebick (in honor of Keith Mincey),
Barbara Carlson,
Dennis Andrews,
Mandy Martin,
Ann Sullivan,
Danielle Leibovici,
Kelley McGee-Sousa,
Jennifer Hitchcock (in honor of Bernard Sanders),
Stephen Burgess,
Joan Rhodes-Copeland,
Brynne Burgess,
Kelly Burgess,
Scott Wertz,
Lauran Strait (in honor of all the board members of Hampton Roads Writers),
Tessa Solee,
Liz Philpott (in thanks to the wonderful teen workshop instructors!),
Sarah Pishko,
Emily Melnitchouk,
Nathan Richardson (in honor of Hollis Pruitt),
Janella Hecker (Mad props to my sister Alicia Dekker!),
Helen Dekker (in memory of Miss Julia (Dr. Julia Hislop)),
Kristina Malleck,
Laura King (in memory of Julia Hislop),
Archie Whitehill,
Patrick West,
Taniki Richard,
Jason Dietz,
Bob Vincent,
Meg Leeman,
Konrad Winters,
Denise Cassella (in honor of my brother, David Cascio, who currently attends The Muse),
Melissa Deutsch,
Heather Paine,
John Chappell,
Dan Duke,
Nicole Carry,
Karl and Nancy Blumenberg,
Katie Glick,
Stephanie Becker,
Greg and Beth Murphy & Family (in honor of Scott Wertz),
Jeffrey Becker,
Loraine Schroeder,
Erin Lindstrom,
Kim Crowley,
Norinda Rodney,
Robert Sawyer,
Terry Lyle,
Judy Kaplowitz,
Cheryl Hornung,
Stephanie Brannick,
Pamela Crenshaw,
Eimile Campbell,
Karen Corrigan,
Simon Hounslow,
Patricia Hinson,
Trudy Hinson,
Reeves Mahoney,
Kathy Brobst (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Lily Hecht-Leavitt (in honor of Charles Hecht-Leavitt),
James Dekker,
Anthony Schober,
Jacqueline Hixson,
Donna Simmons (in Memory of Len Wines),
Holly Dekker,
M. Alyssa ONeal,
Courtney Dyer,
Susan Larson (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Kathy Sarosdy (in honor of Mary and Doug Weaver),
Katie Hitchcock,
Lucy Bartamian (in honor of Michael Khandelwal),
Amy Hartley,
Rosemary Ayres,
Anonymous Donors,
Jason Gunning (in memory of Afeni Shakur gone 4 days before Mothers Day, Dear Momma!),
Delona Southerland,
Jim Roberts,
Push Comedy Theater,
Dennis B McMurran,
Joy R Dean,
Zida Ash,
Jennifer Pattison,
Gustavo Mastrapa,
Steven Blythe,
Sylvia Liu,
Collin Norman,
Sherrie Pilkington,
Linda Cobb (in honor of Treva & Charles Cobb),
Kent Miller,
Hollie Sessoms,
Andria McClellan,
Christine Neikirk,
Lane Ritter,
Scott Cramer,
Amanda Huynh (in honor of Cheryl Kutcher),
Dominic Johnson,
Deepak Ray,
Chap Percival,
Michael Shaw,
Andrea Dicarlo,
Dalbe Markman,
Remica Bingham-Risher,
Kasee Renshaw,
Bettye Potts,
Brian Markman (in honor of Jeff Markman),
Lee Bachas

The New Muse Center

The New Muse Center

The NEW Muse Writers Center

Ten years ago, The Muse Writers Center began by borrowing classroom and reading space from other art centers. Today, The Muse is a thriving literary center ready to expand, and weíre excited to have moved back to where we began, The Ghent Market Shops. 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

Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
We will be open to the public. More hours to be announced!

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

We Need Your Help!

A new, expanded, upgraded facility comes at a cost. Your donation or gift of sponsorship will help to fund our new center. Each individual sponsorship will be acknowledged with your name inscribed on a plaque to be placed on the item or room that you choose to sponsor. Room sponsorships (i.e. classrooms, library, kitchen) will range from $500-$7,500. Sponsorship for items such as desks, chairs, and bookcases will range from $20-$400.

For more information on how you can help sponsor the New Center, visit: or call 757-818-9880 to make a tax deductible contribution today.

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 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). 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.
  • 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.

2015-2016 Application Deadline: was August 28, 2015
  • 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.
  • The deadline has passed. Winners listed below.

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."
Top of page.

Grant from The City of Norfolk (2015)

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. Top of page.


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.