The History of AWP

The Associated Writing Programs was established as a nonprofit organization in 1967 by fifteen writers representing thirteen creative writing programs. The new association sought to support the growing presence of literary writers in higher education. At that time, English departments were mainly conservatories of the great literature of the past, and scholars fiercely resisted the establishment of creative writing programs. AWP was created to overcome this resistance, to advocate for new programs, and to provide publishing opportunities for young writers. Today, AWP, now the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, supports colleges and universities as well as individual writers as members.

To this day, AWP continues to expand, offering new programs and services to support our members. The timeline below highlights some of the important milestones in our organization’s history.

1967 — Associated Writing Programs is established as a nonprofit; first issue of the AWP Newsletter is published

1973 — AWP holds its first conference at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC

1975 — AWP establishes the Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works

1978 — AWP holds second conference in San Francisco, and it becomes a yearly event

1989AWP Newsletter becomes AWP Chronicle

1998AWP Chronicle becomes the Writer’s Chronicle

2003 — AWP changes its name to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs to include a larger community of writers

2005 — AWP awards the first George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature

2014 — AWP introduces the Writer to Writer Mentorship Program to match experienced and emerging writers

2017 — AWP introduces first annual service project, #WritersServe, at the conference and bookfair in Washington, DC, partnering with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop

2021 — AWP holds its first fully virtual conference and bookfair, then maintains a virtual offering for following conferences

2022 — The first fully digital issue of the Writer’s Chronicle is released

2023 — The AWP HBCU Fellowship Program launches at #AWP23 in Seattle, Washington