California Writers Club OUR STORY
Who We Are
California Writers Club, founded in 1909, is one of the nation’s oldest professional clubs for writers. We are a 501c3 nonprofit educational corporation with 22 branches in California. Our organization is dedicated to educating writers of all levels and disciplines in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work. The Club has more than 1,900 members.
Our branches hold regular meetings with informative speakers and opportunities for networking with your fellow writers and publishing industry pros through our workshops, contests, seminars, and conferences. Join us and improve your writing and build your career.
- The California Writers Club (CWC) shall foster professionalism in writing, promote networking of writers with the writing community, mentor new writers, and provide literary support for writers and the writing community as is appropriate through education and leadership.
- The club supports all genres, writing styles and related professions such as editing, publishing, photographic journalism and agents.
- The branches provide an environment where members can obtain critique of their efforts, attend workshops, and share experiences. Branches are encouraged to mentor writers of all ages by providing educational programs for adults and fostering youth programs.
Board of Directors
Officers and Appointments
MRMS Systems Administrator
The success of CWC is dependent on the dedication of many hardworking members. We recognize exceptional service of our volunteers through these two awards:
Ina Coolbrith Awards (2004-2020)
Here’s a video of the 2023 awards presentation.
Ina Coolbrith Award
Periodically, the CWC Central Board bestows the Ina Coolbrith Award to honor a member for exemplary service to CWC and/or the Central Board.
Ina Coolbrith Award (2004-2020)
|Donna McCrohan Rosenthal
|Betty Freeman and Ruth Theodos
Rusty is the editor-in-chief of the CWC state newsletter, the Bulletin. It is published three times a year, and Rusty has been doing that for the last five years. The job entails collecting, archiving, and compiling the news articles and photographs of the 22 branches of the California Writers Club and putting them together in an attractive format. Until the November 2020 edition, Rusty has been doing this entirely on her own.
When Rusty took over the editorship of the Bulletin, it was published in hard copy and mailed to the members two times a year. With the emergence of electronically distributed newsletter in a pdf file, the cost became zero as opposed to several thousand dollars per hard-copy edition. We were able to solicit paid advertising, which has become a positive part of the budget rather than a liability.In addition, Rusty sought out and secured the flip-page software to enhance the attractiveness of our Bulletin, and unfailingly the advertising has covered the cost of that addition.
She is the 2021 Jack London Award recipient for the High Desert Branch.
Donna McCrohan Rosenthal has volunteered in CWC roles and projects on the branch, regional, and state levels. She has served more than a dozen years on the Central Board, most recently as secretary and vice president. As CWC Public Relations director, she arranged for the placement of our centennial time capsule in the Bancroft Library. She chaired CWC-South for many years and in her branch, East Sierra, has held the positions of president, secretary, newsletter editor, program chair, and publicity chair.
She moved to California from New York City in 1997 to marry Dave Rosenthal. Prior to that, she had begun her career in publishing at Pocket Books as editorial assistant to the legendary executive editor Bernard Shir-Cliff, continued on to the Literary Guild and Avon Books, then turned full-time author with books traditionally published by Simon & Schuster, Random, Viking, St. Martin’s, Workman, and Crown.
She has written magazine articles for Redbook, McCall’s, Cosmopolitan, Bakersfield Magazine, and NY AAA Magazine frequently; and, in newspapers, the Ventura County Star, Victorville Daily Press, and Oakland Tribune. She has spoken at the Smithsonian and appeared on A&E Biography and Oprah television shows.
When she lived in New York, she represented the international service organization Pilot International as its NGO (nongovernmental observer) at the United Nations, where she worked alongside NGOs such as the Sierra Club, Cousteau Society, Rotary, Elks, and Lions.
2018: David George
In the past few years, the Central Board had often called upon David George “in a pinch” and he would be there to help keep the ship on an even keel. His dedication to step in when needed made the Central Board’s decision that much easier. At the July meeting in 2017, the Central Board voted to recognize one of its most involved members with the award for exceptional service, and on Sunday, July 22, 2018, the event took place at the Oakland meeting. Past-president David George received the rarely-bestowed Ina Coolbrith Award.
2017: Anthony R. Folcarelli
Anthony R. Folcarelli of the Sacramento branch was the single driving force behind the 2003 Joint Legislative Resolution designating the third week in October as California Writers Week in perpetuity. This achievement, requiring persistence and tenacity, ensured “a perpetual legacy for the state’s literary history.” Anthony was president of California Writers Club from 2007 to 2008. A former executive with United Way, and with experience in other corporate and non-profit entities, he was uniquely qualified to guide the organization at a difficult time when previous leadership had stepped down. While his accomplishments as president include signiﬁcantly reduced operating costs by putting in place a new accounting system and working with the IRS to untangle the corporate nonproﬁt status, his legacy is the designation of California Writers Week.
2017: Bob Isbill
Bob Isbill has made a lasting imprint on the California Writers Club as Moderator and Administrator of the online Forum and as Director of Advertising & Promotions. He also helped to coordinate the digitization of the newsletter, The Bulletin, and to implement advertising in both The Bulletin and the California Literary Review. Always willing to share with a smile, Bob served as keynote speaker at CWC’s First Leadership Conference held at De Vry University in 2013. His energy and leadership has also fueled numerous successes in his home branch of High Desert in Apple Valley, where he helped to increase membership seven-fold in two years. He headed seven profitable writing conferences, founded a memoir project pairing high school students with retirees writing their story for an anthology, and developed a relationship with the local federal prison from which resulted mentoring and teaching activities between inmates and members.
2016: Ray Malus
CWC President David George presented the Ina Coolbrith Award to San Fernando Branch member Ray Malus at the July 24 Central Board meeting in Oakland, CA, at the Holiday Inn Airport Express. The organization’s highest honor, it recognizes exemplary service at the state level. In 2011, Ray received the CWC’s Jack London Award for service at the branch level. In his own branch, he designed the San Fernando Valley website, serves as its webmaster, was longtime editor of the branch newsletter The Valley Scribe, and represented the SFV branch on the CWC Central Board. Last year he retired from the position of Member-at-Large on the CWC Executive Board. Also on the state level, he created and developed the Member Record Management System (MRMS) for recording membership data and simplifying data entry. Since then he has provided user support, responding to suggestions and requests for filing needs, and adding enhancements. Bob Isbill of the High Desert Branch, who nominated Ray for the award, assisted David George during the ceremony. Bob was in turn assisted by his grandson, High Desert Branch member Kevin Morse. Under an occasional baseball cap and ponytail lived a prolific poet, playwright, director, actor, musician, composer, book author, and programmer. Ray Malus, developer of the CWC Member Record Management System received the distinguished Ina Coolbrith Award. Ray represented service, often delivered with wit and guile, while seldom letting on to his full varied background. He attended college on a physics scholarship, played music professionally—touring with a pop band. Ray did radio broadcasting, became a lounge act, played Los Angeles, Reno, and Las Vegas, entertained on Princess Cruise lines and studied acting. He rose from programmer to director of computer systems, UCLA School of Dentistry. He composed choral music and directed his church choir. In 2008, Ray joined the San Fernando Valley Branch, where he earned the Jack London Award. All too soon we lost him, but remaining bright in the sky is the standard he set for the volunteers honored today.
2014: Robert Garfinkle
At the July 2014 CWC Central Board Meeting, David George and Nancy Curteman presented the Ina Coolbrith Award to Fremont Branch’s Robert Garfinkle. Bob is a long- time member of California Writer’s Club and a lifetime member. He has dedicated a tremendous amount of his time and talent to CWC and continues the work of 19th- and 20th-century California poet Ina Coolbrith who encouraged new writers through her literary salons. Like Ina Coolbrith, Bob encourages new writers at club meetings. Like Ina Coolbrith who was President of the Congress of Authors and Journalists, Bob was president of Fremont Area Writers and California Writers Club. Like Ina Coolbrith who was a celebrated poet and author, Bob is an internationally known author of astronomy books and scientific journal articles. Like Ina Coolbrith who was active in her community as an Oakland librarian, Bob was active in the community as Union City Council Member. Like Ina Coolbrith, Bob has demonstrated his love of writing through his active support of CWC. His achievements include: Central Board representative for the South Bay branch from 2003-2007, formed the new Fremont Area Writers Branch and served as president, launched the Annual CWC picnic and chaired it for several years, and was on the staff of South Bay Writers’ East of Eden Writer Conference from 2004 to 2008. Springer Publishing recently released his chef d’oeuvre on astronomy, Luna Cognita, (Known Moon) When asked why he gives so much of his busy life to CWC, he responded, “I enjoy the camaraderie of working with other writers. I guess I just like writers.”
2013: Dave La Roche
Dave received the Ina Coolbrith Award for serving as the Bylaws and Policy Chair, 2007 through the present. He also established the e-business forum, and wrote the associated operating procedure. He founded the NorCal Group of the CWC, a northern California regional association of branches intent upon promoting Club interests, addressing branch leadership needs, and augmenting members’ interest in writing. He chaired NorCal for its initial three years, and he conceived of and established the Publishing Pathways program, a resource for new writers faced with myriad publishing questions and dozens of pitfalls when wanting to publish their books. He created and developed the Literary Review, and serves as its managing editor. After numerous credits accumulated in majors from engineering through a political science and pre-law curriculum at several Midwest universities, Dave earned a BS in Business Management from San Jose State. With work, a similar path of various employments ended his career in Aerospace middle management with Ford Aerospace then Loral Systems. His writing career began late in this journey, only after, he would say, sufficient experience to know what and why he was putting to paper. He has written about 20 short stories, published a dozen or more, and has completed the first draft of his first novel, Ordinary Times. Dave’s credo with regard to writing goes something like this: “Live before you write. Words belong to any of us but stories are the product of life.”
2011: Kelly Harrison
An instructor at San Jose State University, Kelly received the Ina Coolbrith Award for her work editing the fifth edition of West Winds Centennial, a collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by members of the California Writers Club. The first West Winds, a hardcover collection of fiction, was published in 1914 and illustrated by California artists. Follow-up editions were published in 1925, 1931, and 1989. West Winds Centennial is the fifth edition. Kelly has been an active member of CWC since 2007. She co-directed the East of Eden Writers Conference in 2008 with fellow CWC member Edie Matthews. It drew 300 attendees, and featured workshops, agents, publishers, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Jane Smiley. After a successful career in technical writing, she started teaching technical writing in 1999. She earned her MFA in 2005 and currently teaches creative and technical writing. She is also a past director of the Center for Literary Arts, an organization that brings noted authors to campus, and is present director of Writing Programs at San Jose State University.
2009: Joyce Krieg
Joyce considers her biggest and most important CWC achievement to be rekindling awareness of our connection to Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, of the planting of Writers Memorial Grove, and of the construction of the Cascades and Woodminster Amphitheater. This impressive CWC project had almost been lost in the mists of time until Joyce did her own research and brought it to the attention of the Central Board and to the general membership in The Bulletin. Thanks to her efforts, CWC now has a permanent display commemorating our centennial at the ranger station at Joaquin Miller Park. Joyce was not even a member of California Writers Club when she agreed to help the Central Coast branch with their newsletter in October 2004. Since then, Joyce has joined CWC and has held almost every office and committee chair at her branch: newsletter editor, membership chair, program chair, workshop chair, and treasurer. She culminated her career with Central Coast by serving as president in 2011-2012, and continues to serve as her branch’s Central Board representative. Also very active at the state level, Joyce currently serves as secretary to the Central Board and chair of the CWC NorCal Group, as well as being editor of the CWC Bulletin.
2007: Casey Wilson
Casey edited the first CWC branch anthology, Images; was a founding member of the East Sierra branch; and served as president of the California Writers Club corporate central board of directors first from 1999 to 2002 and again from 2008 to 2010. With Barbara Truax, he created and codified the CWC Policies and Procedures.
After 37 years working for the federal government, Casey changed careers in May 1993 to become a full-time freelance writer. His first commercial publication appeared in the January 1969 issue of Electronics World. Since 1993, his articles and photographs have come out in newspapers and several national magazines. He has written scripts for and worked as production manager for television public service announcements. In addition to his writing, he teaches writing and photography workshops.
2006: Barbara Truax
Barbara has served on the Central Board as president, secretary, and membership chair. In 2003, during her presidency, a California State Assembly Legislative Resolution declared the third week of October as “California Writers Week.” In 1999, Barbara and other residents of Marin County formed the CWC Marin branch. In 2010, Marin branch received a Marin County Board of Supervisors Resolution recognizing the third week in October as “California Writers Week.” Barbara writes short stories, articles and flash fiction. She believes in the durability of the written word, the impact on the reader, and the responsibility of the writer to make the connection. Her favorite quotation: “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining…researching…talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” — E. L. Doctorow
2004: Betty Freeman (November 14, 1913 – March 31, 2012)
Betty attended Van Nuys HS and later UCLA graduating with a degree in education with a music minor. She taught music and general ed. in LAUSD elementary schools. In 1960 she received her MA in Education at USC placing 1st and 2nd in L.A. in her oral and written exams to become a principal. She was a principal at Hazeltine Elementary and then at Dixie Canyon Ave. Elementary, which during her tenure became the highest rated elementary school in LAUSD. She is noted with pioneering an “open class” system for her 4th – 6th grades, providing three periods a day, and also introducing after school electives such as film editing and aeronautics. She retired in 1977 to pursue her life long dream of becoming a writer. Betty wrote articles for the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune and started the first So Cal chapter of the California Writer’s Club (CWC) later becoming president of the entire statewide organization. After the death of her husband, Oscar and Emmy winning film editor Charles L. Freeman in 2001, Betty moved to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) bringing her CWC chapter with her. Fascinated by the creative and bright individuals who’d become her new neighbors, Betty began a writing collaboration with MPTF volunteer Lauren Dow to create a book of interviews of the residents. In 2005 Variety Magazine published their book “Behind The Silver Screen”, with an introduction by Kevin Spacey. An avid and talented gardener, Betty filled most of the resident garden plots with flowering plants and made daily flower arrangements for the MPTF residents, especially for the frequent birthdays! She maintained the gardens by herself until the age of 96.
2004: Ruth Theodos
Jack London Award
Every other year, each CWC branch may nominate one member to receive a Jack London Award in recognition of outstanding service to the organization.
The award honors a member whose service to the CWC and/or a branch has been exemplary. The merit of the award is in the service, independent of writing accomplishments. It is not mandatory that a branch designate a recipient simply because the opportunity exists. The CWC president bestows the awards at the annual corporate meeting.
Jack London Award (2021)
Jack London Award (2017)
Here are the 2017 Jack London Award Winners.
- Berkeley — Kristen Caven
- Central Coast — Laurie Sheehan
- Coastal Dunes — Jenna Elizabeth Johnson
- East Sierra — Juliane DiBlasi Black
- Fremont Area Writers — Shirley Ferrante
- High Desert — Jenny Margotta
- Long Beach — Allene Symons
- Mt. Diablo — Elisabeth Tuck
- North State Writers — T.E. Watson, F.S.A. Scot
- Orange County — Jonathan Yanez
- Redwood Writers — Sandy Baker
- Sacramento Writers — Gini Grossenbacher
- San Fernando Valley — Mary R. Freeman
- San Francisco Peninsula — Bill Baynes
- San Joaquin Valley Writers — June Gillam
- South Bay Writers — Sally A. Minor
- Tri-Valley Writers — Deborah Jordon Bernal
- Writers of Kern — Dan McGuire
- Writers of Mendocino Coast — Amie McGee
Jack London Award (2015)
|Fremont Area Writers
|San Francisco / Peninsula
|Carole J. Bumpus
|Writers of Kern
|Dennis I. VanderWerff
|Writers of the Mendocino Coast
|Stephen J. Wersan
|Carol Lee Hall
|Robert A. Garfinkle
|Roberta L. Smith
|Robert D. Isbill
|Liv Elin Haugland
|Tanya Egan Gibson
|Cindy A. Pavlinac
|Carol Lee Hall
|Linda Loveland Reid
|Linda C. McCabe
|Karen L. Batchelor
|Kimberly A. Edwards
|Margie Yee Webb
|Bardi Rosman Koodrin
|Marjorie Bicknell Johnson
|Violet Carr Moore
|Writers of Kern
Through 2005, the Jack London Awards were given every year.
|Virginia K. Anderson
|Donna McCrohan Rosenthal
|S. Kay Murphy
|John P. Farmer
|Teresa LeYung Ryan
|Writers of Kern
Jack London Award (1998-2001)
|W. E. Reinka
|Wilma Willis Gore
|Valley Dave Wetterberg
|Writers of Kern
Jack London Award (1991-1997)
|Mary C. Varley
|Alla Crone (Hayden)
|Waldo T. Boyd
|Karen E. Hinger
|Writers of Kern
Jack London Award (1983-1989)
|John Campbell Bruce
|Ray Faraday Nelson
|Mary Collins Dunne
|Marie L. Nunn
|Ruth Irma Walker
Jack London Award (1975-1981)
|Ruth Atkinson (Heady)
|Lloyd Eric Reeve
|Helene Schellenberg (Barnhart)
Jack London Award (1973)