New name. Same organization. Only more so.

The Virginia Center for Literary Arts (VCLA) is now 1455.

Who? Why? What? How? Where?

Let me tell you a story.

I’m a lifelong and very proud native son of The Old Dominion, and as such the original name Virginia Center for Literary Arts (VCLA) seemed both appropriate and relevant. That was only two years ago, but as this vision has grown and attracted more people from more places (in and outside the Shenandoah Valley), we’ve realized that—intentional or not—branding ourselves as VCLA sends an exclusive message where we’re all about inclusivity. As such, we wanted a name that immediately makes clear what our mission is, who we are, and what we plan to achieve. That name is 1455.

WHO: 1455.

It may not be the single most important year in literary history, but it’s certainly one of them…

WHY: This is the year Gutenberg’s printing press—an invention and obsession it took more than a decade to perfect—began printing books on a prolific scale, effectively moving civilization into modernity, arguably the most democratizing innovation in human history.

WHAT: Without this advancement the act of storytelling would be, at worst, still an oral tradition, and at best, reserved for an elite class who controlled the creation and dissemination of information. As such, knowledge, literacy, and appreciation of culture and tradition were advanced, practically overnight.

HOW: We can trace a line from the first poetry written on cave walls to contemporary novels published without ink or paper—and connecting this ancient art and modern technology is Gutenberg’s paradigm-shifting idea.

(Incidentally, 1605 was a rather momentous year (Don Quixote) 1726 (Gulliver’s Travels), 1755 (Johnson’s Dictionary of English), 1776 (Declaration of Independence), 1851 (Moby Dick), 1922 (The Waste Land), and too many others to count…)

WHERE: The process of democratizing content continues, today. The need for personal narrative is strong as ever, and the ability to create and share these stories has never been more accessible. At 1455, we believe in the magic of words, the transformative power of creativity, and the collective imperative of building community.

Our primary focus (and mission) remains providing writers with time and space to create, focus, and connect with kindred spirits. It’s equally important that we recognize—and serve—those who will never have the opportunity to visit Winchester, sharing resources to assist writers anywhere and everywhere. We have the complementary goal of creating a robust web presence with myriad resources for creative people, whoever and wherever they are. In this regard, 1455 is neither regional or national, but a truly global enterprise.

So…what’s the most important year?

This year.


This is the year you write your own story. Feel inspired. Add to the narrative. Share your secret.

Join us.

1455: A Place for Writers

Cultivating Creativity & Community

Follow us at @1455litarts (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).

Registration for our summer literary festival is now open!

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