In 1986, a collegial group of aspiring writers were introduced to each other through Joan Jones, a writing teacher at Pierce College. The group ultimately decided to formalize the association and take advantage of the broader benefits available through the California Writers Club.

The San Fernando Valley Branch of the California Writers Club was chartered on June 21, 1986. It was the first southern California branch of CWC, and one of only half a dozen branches statewide. Founding members included Mary Freeman and Yolanda Fintor (Associate members at that time), and Judy Presnall; all are still CWC members today. Additional founders included Betty Freeman, Susan Weiner, and Kitty Darling. Joan Jones was the first President of the branch, and remained a guiding light for its writers for years afterwards.

Over its thirty-plus year history the club has sponsored a wide range of meetings and events. Its first monthly meeting format was a potluck meeting that lasted some three or four hours on a Saturday, with speakers, workshops, and critique groups. The club has also sponsored special events such as writing retreats at Asilomar (in conjunction with other CWC branches), mystery dinners at local hotels, barbeques at Paramount Ranch, at least one mini-conference at Pierce College, and book fairs at various locales.

The branch has also published actively throughout its history. Publication of its newsletter commenced shortly after its founding. Originally entitled The Write Life and later The Inkwell, the publication changed its name to The Valley Scribe in the late 1990s. The club has also published multiple anthologies of its members' work; see the Publications page for information on just a few of them.

In July 2006, some of the members of the San Fernando Valley Branch petitioned the CWC to establish a new branch, to be called the West Valley Branch. The new branch was chartered as the 16th branch of the California Writers Club on July 23, 2006. It remained a separate entity for the next five years, publishing its own newsletter, In Focus.

In June 2011, the San Fernando Valley Branch re-united with the West Valley Branch and the two continued operations under the San Fernando Valley Branch name. Publications including newsletters and anthologies from both the San Fernando Valley Branch and the West Valley Branch are included on this website.

The branch today proudly offers the same activities and traditions that have made it a home for aspiring and established writers alike for over three decades.


The San Fernando Valley Branch is one of twenty-one branches throughout California, organized and operating under the auspices of The California Writers Club. We are a non-profit professional organization whose goal is to provide a friendly and inclusive environment for members to meet and network; to provide professional speakers who will aid in writing, publishing, and marketing members’ endeavors; and other writing-related opportunities that will further members’ writing enjoyment and careers.

In collaboration with the other branches and CWC as a whole, our purpose is to provide a forum for educating both members and the public in the craft of writing and in marketing their works. This is served by monthly public meetings, workshops, and seminars, as well as conferences, which are open to all writers and are conducted for the purpose of educating writers. California Writers Club networks with other groups and agencies involved in similar pursuits.



Gabriella Owens
Vice President
Bob Okowitz
Pat Avery
Pat Avery


Central Board Representative
Bob Okowitz
Critique Group Coordinator
Geri Jabara
Financial Committee Chair
Mary (Rubio) Freeman
Hospitality Chair
Alan Wills and
Stacie Hammes
Membership Chair
Andrea Polk
Branch MRMS Administrator
Andrea Polk
Program Chair
Lori Hamilton
Social Media Chair
Samantha Berley
Editor, ‘The Valley Scribe’
Max Dawson
Interim Webmaster
Kay Henden

State MRMS Administrator
David George
Email: davegeorge7@comcast.net