Northwest Arkansas Writers

Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop of the Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) and Fayetteville (Washington County) area is dedicated to helping aspiring writers learn their craft and succeed in their chosen field of writing. It welcomes writers from all genres of fiction and nonfiction.

The group got its start in 1986 when Dusty Richards, Velda Brotherton, Judy Ballard, and Charlie Pierson began meeting in each other’s homes once a week to learn more about the craft of writing. They gathered and shared information, and others joined. There has never been a membership fee, and no officers are elected. Every year, the group takes up a collection to sponsor a writing contest at the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) and another to make a donation to the Jones Center for Families. As the group grew in size, meetings moved to the Mt. Sequoyah Methodist Church in Fayetteville.

In 1998, the group moved its meetings to the Mt. Comfort Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville and then, in 2000, was offered a permanent free meeting place at the Harvey and Bernice Jones Health Education Center in Springdale. The group had twenty-five members by 2007. Linda Apple, Libby Orendorff, Velda Brotherton, and Dusty Richards have been published on a regular basis. Popular fiction author Lisa Wingate was a member for several years until she moved to Texas. From 2000 to 2007, four members of the group won the coveted Creme de la Creme Award at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference, held each May in Oklahoma City. In 2007, members Ron Pruitt, Ruth Rakestraw, Libby Orendorff, and Charlotte Carter had their first books published.

In 2002, members decided to sponsor a free writers’ conference each March at the Jones Health Education Center. Published writers from Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma volunteered to join published members to teach at the conference. Mornings were devoted to guest speakers who held workshops covering a wide variety of topics from learning the craft to getting published. After lunch, Velda Brotherton and Dusty Richards each gave an hour-long workshop on various topics. Published authors were invited to bring their books to autograph and sell. The Northwest Arkansas Writers Conference had an attendance of eighty-five in 2006. The conference was moved in 2009 to the hospitality room at Ozarks Electric in Fayetteville, and over one hundred people attended.

For additional information:
Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop. (accessed September 7, 2023).

Terry, Sarah. “A Seasoned Scribe.” Northwest Arkansas Times, April 10, 2005, pp. 1B–8B.

Velda Brotherton and Dusty Richards
Northwest Arkansas Writers Workshop


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