Western writers of America

Within the broad genre of Westerns, do you write nonfiction, or romance, historical fiction, novels? Are you a poet, scriptwriter, songwriter, write for magazines, write for children or young adults? All of these categories are embraced by Western Writers of America. The organization has over 700 members. The common bond relates to the 1917 poem by Charlie M. Russell, “The West is dead, my friend, but writers hold the seed and what they sow will live and grow again to those who read.”

WWA holds annual conferences around the West. June 21-24 the gathering will be at the Holiday Inn at Rushmore Plaza, in Rapid City, S.D. Details are on the website,, which reads, “Western Writers of America welcomes all published writers who derive their livelihood, in whole or in part, from writing about the land and the peoples of the American West, past and present. Our membership includes novelists, historians, essayists, journalists, poets, screenwriters, songwriters and others.” Applications for membership and explanations of same are on the website.

Members are friendly and helpful. Some are well known, so I’ll drop some names: Craig Johnson (Longmire), C.J. Box (Joe Picket novels),  Kirk Ellis (wrote and co-produced the 2008 HBO miniseries John Adams, S.D. Nelson (author and illustrator of award-winning children’s books and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), Jerome Greene, Paul Hedren, and Candy Moulton (all highly respected in their field of nonfiction history), Yvonne Hollenbeck (cowgirl poet), Michael and Kathleen Gear (nonfiction, historical fiction, science fiction with 17 million copies of their books in print), Jim Jones, Carol Markstrom, Jean Prescott and Darrell Arnold (singers and songwriters).

Stuart Rosebrook (editor of True West magazine), Dave Lauterborn (Wild West magazine) will appreciate article pitches. Book editors, agents, publishers such as Mike Bray or Larry Martin (Wolfpack Publishing) and Nancy Curtis and Laura McCormick from High Plains Press will visit with writers about their future Wyoming book projects, “if the snow drifts melt and the creeks don’t rise too much,” Nancy said. Dedra Birzer (South Dakota State Historical Society Press) and others will be available to hear book pitches.

We’ll have the standard editors’ panel which will bring us up-to-date on the publishing industry and its controversies. I am looking forward to the eye-opening discussion groups. I’ll moderate one on “What City People Need to Know Before They Move to the Country or Small Town.”

Every night after dinner, we all get together to listen to member musicians and others sing and play. Sometimes a cowboy poet joins the fray. The talent just oozes out of the participants and really brings the group together. 

Joseph M. Marshall III will be honored with the Owen Wister Award. Have I dropped enough names to whet your appetite on attending?

It is an open convention where those who are not yet members may attend. That lets potential members get their feet wet and decide if they want to apply for membership where they can learn from the best. Come and join in the fun with us. Go to for details.

You can reach me through

More Like This, Tap A Topic