The Writers’ League of Texas (WLT) is the largest literary arts organization in Texas, a statewide nonprofit offering programs and services to writers at all stages of their writing careers, from just getting started to publication and beyond. 

Founded in 1981, the organization’s mission is 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.

Some Highlights Along the Way

1981 May
Austin Writers’ League

A steering committee is created and the Austin Writers’ League (AWL) is officially formed.

1981 June
First AWL program

The first AWL program features Ronnie Duggar, founding editor of The Texas Observer.

100 Members

The AWL reaches 100 members.

1983 November
First Public Program

James Michener is a featured speaker.

1985 January
500 Members

The AWL is now 500 members strong.

1989 June
National Magazine Editors Conference

The AWL hosts a National Magazine Editors Conference in Austin - a precursor to what is now the annual Agents & Editors Conference.

Violet Crown Book Awards
Violet Crown Book Awards

The first WLT book award winners are announced, under the name Violet Crown Book Awards, honoring books by Texas authors. 

1996 March
First Lady

Texas First Lady Laura Bush becomes a member and also presents the first Teddy Award recognizing Texas children’s book authors.

1996 June

The AWL’s first website goes live and the organization’s newsletter, Footnotes, is launched.

1997 December
Bess Whitehead Scott
Bess Whitehead

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.

2001 November
New Name

The Austin Writers’ League becomes the Writers’ League of Texas and Project WISE (Writers in Schools for Enrichment) is launched.

Summer Writing Retreat.

The WLT hosts its first Summer Writing Retreat.

Texas Writes

The Texas Writes program is launched, sending authors into rural communities for free writing workshops in public libraries.

2018 June
25th Annual Agents & Editors Conference

The 25th Annual A&E Conference is held in Austin, TX, featuring a keynote address by author Alexander Chee on “Becoming an American Writer.”

2019 April
On the Craft of Writing
The WLT launches a new series, “On the Craft of Writing", featuring David Treuer, bestselling author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee. The second event, in November, features award-winning author Sherri L. Smith at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin.
WLT's UnConference

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.

2021 May
The WLT turns 40!