"Books by women on Western subjects don't always fit neatly into the women's fiction category. We're trying hard to get noticed"

Cindy Bonner

Co-founder, Women Writing the West

A Brief Report

The Women Writing The West Conference

Women Writing The West, a three-year-old organization that believes the image of the western writer needs to be enlarged to include women, drew a crowd of about 85 women western writers to its early October, 1997 conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The conference featured Liz Carpenter, Lady Bird Johnson's former press secretary, and author of several books. She spoke to the group about "What it Means to be a Western Woman."

The fledging writer's organization, with a membership of 400, describes itself as "primarily a marketing group, " and is headed by Jerrie Hurd as president. Yorktown noveslit Cindy Bonner, a founding member of WWW, and this year's conference chair, said one of the group's primary goals is to "educate the publishing industry and the buying market to the fact that many books by women who write about Western subjects or settings don't always neatly fit the category called women's fiction."

Many members of the group are widely published, and have already made a noticable contribution to Western fiction. WWW co-founder Sybil Downing, author of more than 16 books, has her new novel, "Ladies of the Goldfield Stock Exchange," included in Forge Books' Women of the West series this fall. Award-winning writer Judy Alter of Fort Worth, has published a number of books centering on women of the American West. Joyce Gibson Roach of Keller, won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for "The Cowgirls. And Cindy Bonner's first novel, "Lily" became a regional best seller.

"Some of our members are just starting out, " said Cindy. "We offer strong support for each other's work."

Among topics discussed in workshop sessions were: writing for periodicals, writing juvenile fiction, interviewing, getting published, and marketing.

Copyright, Authorlink 1997