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History & Purpose

History of the Nebraska Writers Guild

What do Willa Cather, Mari Sandoz and John Neihardt have in common?

They were all members of the Nebraska Writers Guild, one of the oldest writers' organizations in the country. Founded in 1925, the guild's charter members included Bess Streeter Aldrich, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Louise Pound and A.E. Sheldon. In its first year, two members of the guild were included in the Saturday Review of Literature's list of the ten writers most representative of American life.

The guild's purpose is outlined in its original bylaws: "The purpose of the guild shall be the promotion of good fellowship among Nebraska writers; to encourage the recognition of professional writing and writers in the production of fine literature; and to foster the development of the talent of those who desire to write and who show definite possibilities of authorship."

Our members have always represented a lively cross-section of Nebraska life. Guild activities have traditionally centered on one or two annual conferences, held in larger communities around the state. Novelists and historians, poets and journalists, agents and publishers, editors and columnists ­ all have shared their insights on the art (and business) of writing at these conferences.