About the Club

THE CALIFORNIA WRITERS CLUB was started by a group of community-minded writing professionals in the early 1900s. They met informally until 1909, when the Club was founded, with Austin Lewis as its first president. The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the statewide Club, which now has 19 branches and around 2000 members throughout California. We are the third oldest writers’ club in the country, celebrating over a century serving Bay Area writers.

The CWC is a nonprofit professional organization open to writers in every genre and at every level of experience, from novice to published. Our mission is to educate writers of all abilities in the craft and business of writing. Our purpose is to promote fellowship and to provide practical information that supports all members in achieving their publishing goals.

Our writer’s motto, “Sail on!” is from Joaquin Miller’s poem, Columbus.

About the Berkeley Branch

Jack London & Friends
Jack London & Friends

The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the CWC, and we serve all of Alameda County. Our members enjoy being part of a rich history of Bay Area literature, tracing our club’s roots back to Jack London, Joaquin Miller, Bret Harte and Ina Coolbrith, authors who have left their mark on our local landscape.
Some of our members have made literary contributions that illuminate this history:

But our members have been making history since then as well! Some of our notable members include:

  • Ray Faraday Nelson, Science Fiction Author
  • Paul Corman Roberts, co-founder of BeastCrawl
  • Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga, Oakland’s first Poet Laureate

We offer or have offered meetings, speakers support/critique groups, a newsletter, writing contests, a chapbook, readings, and workshops.  Drop in at our events, many of which are still free.  If you find value, please apply for membership and become part of our community of writers supporting writers.

We are part of the Norcal association of CWC branches. Learn more about other Northern California branches and events here.

Our Meetings

Individual branches meet monthly (except in July and August) to hear writers, editors, teachers, publishers, and agents speak about writing and publishing. All are welcome at branch meetings–you do not need to be a member or a guest of a member in order to attend.

Except for July and August, the Berkeley Branch meetings are on the third Sunday of each month, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and feature community announcements, a featured member, and a keynote speaker. After 3 we offer writer support groups. We are currently meeting on Zoom.

Our Board of Directors meets the first week of each month; meeting times change annually. All members are welcome to attend.

“Writing as Play” with Jorjeana Marie on February 19th, 2023

“Writing as Play” with Jorjeana Marie on February 19th, 2023

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“Sipping the Elixir” with Gail Carriger on January 15th, 2023

“Sipping the Elixir” with Gail Carriger on January 15th, 2023

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“Story Telling Crossover” with Chris Hennessy on November 20th, 2022

“Story Telling Crossover” with Chris Hennessy on November 20th, 2022

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“Intergenerational Dialogue” with Lyndsey Ellis on October 16th, 2022

“Intergenerational Dialogue” with Lyndsey Ellis on October 16th, 2022

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