A steering committee is created and the Austin Writers’ League (AWL) is officially formed.
The Writers’ League of Texas (WLT) strives to provide a forum for information, support, and sharing among writers; to help writers improve their craft and understand the business of publishing; to promote the interests of writers from diverse cultural, economic, sexual identity and orientation, ethnic, and religious backgrounds; and to elevate the art and enterprise of writing, including supporting and growing the Texas literary community at large.
First dreamed into being during a backyard gathering of writers in Austin, TX, and then officially founded (as the Austin Writers’ League) in 1981, the membership and programming of the WLT has grown over the years to form what is now the largest literary arts organization in Texas.
Some Highlights Along the Way
The first AWL program features Ronnie Duggar, founding editor of The Texas Observer.
The AWL reaches 100 members.
James Michener is a featured speaker.
The AWL is now 500 members strong.
The AWL hosts a National Magazine Editors Conference in Austin - a precursor to what is now the annual Agents & Editors Conference.
The first WLT book award winners are announced, under the name Violet Crown Book Awards, honoring books by Texas authors.
Texas First Lady Laura Bush becomes a member and also presents the first Teddy Award recognizing Texas children’s book authors.
The AWL’s first website goes live and the organization’s newsletter, Footnotes, is launched.
The AWL’s oldest member – and one of Texas’s pioneering women in journalism – Bess Whitehead Scott passes at age 107. A scholarship in her name was established by the AWL at her 100th birthday celebration and is still being awarded annually today.
The Austin Writers’ League becomes the Writers’ League of Texas and Project WISE (Writers in Schools for Enrichment) is launched.
The WLT hosts its first Summer Writing Retreat.
The Texas Writes program is launched, sending authors into rural communities for free writing workshops in public libraries.
The 25th Annual Agents & Editors Conference is held in Austin, TX, featuring a keynote address by author Alexander Chee on “Becoming an American Writer.”
In response to the global pandemic, WLT breaks the mold of traditional conferences with its virtual UnConference - three days of free panels and presentations with more than 510 writers in attendance from Texas, the US, and beyond.