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.


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Central Coast
Fremont Area Writers
Mount Diablo
Napa Valley Writers
North State Writers
Redwood Writers
San Francisco / Peninsula
South Bay
Writers of the Mendocino Coast

Coastal Dunes
East Sierra
High Desert
Inland Empire
Long Beach
Orange County
San Fernando Valley
Writers of Kern


The California Writers Club (CWC) is dedicated to fostering professionalism in writing, promoting networking of writers with the writing community, mentoring new writers, and providing 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.


Ina Coolbrith Award

Periodically, the CWC Central Board bestows the Ina Coolbrith Award to honor a member for exemplary service to CWC and/or the Central Board.

Jack London Awards
(2015) (2007-2013) (2002-2005) (1973-2001)

Every other year since 2005, each CWC branch may nominate one member to receive a Jack London Award in recognition of outstanding service to the organization. Through 2005, the Jack London Awards were given every year.

The award honors a member whose service to the CWC and/or a branch has been exemplary. The merit of the award is in the service, independent of writing accomplishments. It is not mandatory that a branch designate a recipient simply because the opportunity exists. The CWC president bestows the awards at the annual corporate meeting.