About the California Writers Club
“Educating writers of all abilities in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work”
Do you live to write? Write to make a living? Whether you’re a published author with a major
New York house, or “just always wanted to write,” there’s a place for you a California Writers
We’re one of the oldest writer’s organizations in continuous operation in the nation. Our members are poets, journalists, essayists, technical writers, and creators of genre and Jack London literary fiction, as well as editors, booksellers, and others involved in related fields, all joined together for the common goal of educating ourselves and the community on the craft of writing and the realities of getting our work published.
Our story begins in the early years of the twentieth century when Jack London and his literary pals gathered at the home of poet Joaquin Miller in the Oakland hills for picnics and conversation. At the same time, the Alameda Press Club, led by California poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith, was holding meetings at the Shattuck Hotel in Berkeley. After various mergings and spin-offs, most of which are lost to history, in 1909 these informal literary salons became the California Writers Club.
Today, California Writers Club has approximately 1800 members in 21 branches throughout the state. From the redwood forests of the North Coast to the Orange County beaches, from the solitude of the high desert to the fast pace of Silicon Valley, there’s a CWC branch near you – just check out the links at right.
Thank you for visiting us on the Web. We hope to see you at a meeting soon!
California Writers Club History
The informal gatherings of Jack London, poet George Sterling and short story writer Herman Whitaker, among others, eventually formed the Press Club of Alameda. In 1909, a faction of the membership split off to form the California Writers Club with Austin Lewis, an English civil libertarian, as the first president. Under the leadership of Dr. William S. Morgan, a quarterly bulletin was started in 1912, and California Writers Club incorporated in 1913, choosing the motto “Sail On!” from Joaquin Miller’s poem, “Columbus.”
Early honorary members included Jack London, George Sterling, John Muir, Joaquin Miller, and the first California poet laureate, Ina Coolbrith. The first WEST WINDS, a hardcover collection of fiction by members, was published in 1914 and was illustrated by California artists. Since that time three other WEST WINDS have been published. “Writers Memorial Grove” at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland celebrates California’s great writers with the planting of trees. The first tree was planted for Joaquin Miller. Bret Harte, Charles Warren Stoddard, Edward Roland Sill, Ina Coolbrith, Jack London, Mark Twain, Charles Fletcher Lummis, and Edwin Markham are so honored as well as Dashiel Hammett, Gertrude Stein, and historians Will and Ariel Durant.
The first California Writers Club Conference was held in Oakland in 1941. Today, one-to-three day conferences are held by various Club branches around California. Each attracts from 100 to 400 writers and each conference hosts editors, authors and publishers from all over the United States presenting lectures, workshops, and panel discussions on all aspects of writing.
The California Writers Club (CWC) shall foster professionalism in writing, promote networking of writers with the writing community, mentor new writers, and provide literary support for writers and the writing community as is appropriate through education and leadership.
The club supports all genres, writing styles and related professions such as editing, publishing, photographic journalism, and agents.
The branches provide an environment where members can obtain critique of their efforts, attend workshops, and share experiences. Branches are encouraged to mentor writers of all ages by providing educational programs for adults and fostering youth programs.
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