Welcome to Willamette Writers

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Writers at all levels come to Willamette Writers to connect with their communities, develop their craft, and advance their careers.
Join us today to take advantage of membership benefits and to support writers in the Pacific Northwest!

Board Elections and New Executive Director

Our new Executive Director

Kate Ristau photo - Woman with blue hair and brown background yellow scarf

We are proud to welcome Kate Ristau as our new Executive Director. Many of you already know Kate for her work with Willamette Writers. She has played many roles in our organization over the years; she was the Communications Director on our board, a chapter chair, and our business manager. We are glad to welcome her back as our Executive Director. You can find out more about Kate's professional background here. We look forward to her leadership and support. Welcome, Kate!

Board elections and changes

As we prepare for our 2019 election, we would like to thank our previous board president, Orit Ofri, for her incredible support and hard work leading Willamette Writers into the future. Orit did transformative work behind the scenes, restructuring the way the organization functions collaboratively in the new digital age. We are lucky to have had her support and vision. Next month, members will be electing a new board of directors, proposed by the nominating committee. The new slate of directors can be found here. Thank you, Orit, for the gift of your time and skill.

Join the Willamette Writers Conference - August 2-4, 2019

Our 50th annual conference (50!!!) will be a BLAST! Three full days of classes, workshops, keynotes, critiques, and events. We invite you to join us for a weekend of community as you develop your craft and expand your career on August 2nd-4th, 2019 in Portland, Oregon at the Airport Sheraton Hotel.

After a successful launch of our Master Classes with industry professionals at our 2018 conference, we are doing it again in 2019. Early registrations get first pick of our Master Class offerings in early March!

We'll also be offering many options for one on one critique, including On the Spot Critiques and Advance Manuscript Critique. As always, we'll have a roster of agents, editors and film executives ready to hear about your project. Plus, if you register now, you'll find your seat with our pitch pros first. It is going to be an amazing weekend! See you in August!

Member News

Member News: Valerie J. Brooks Reading at Annie Bloom’s

“Valerie J. Brooks will be celebrating her Portland launch of her femmes-noir REVENGE IN 3 PARTS with a reading and book signing on Thursday, April 25 from 7-8 at Annie Bloom’s Bookstore, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, Oregon. “REVENGE IN 3 PARTS is a swift, seductive, menacing tale of extortion and murder. Like the great…

Member News: Don’t Read This Book

DON’T READ THIS BOOK. It’s a book you should read … about a book you shouldn’t read. Vampires, werewolves, golems, necromancers, and a high speed chase through the UK and France to the catacombs under Paris, all center around a writer trying to keep her manuscript out of the wrong hands. Magdalena Wallace is the…

Member News: Earth Day 2019: Finalist for Oregon Book Award

Mary DeMocker’s book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep (New World Library, 2018), is a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her book, a lively, empowering, and do-able blueprint for changing our system—not just our light bulbs–has been…

Member News: Author Reading/Signing

I’ll be signing copies of my debut novel, PERIL IN PARADISE, during an open house at Jan’s, 12320 SW 1st St, Beaverton, OR 97005, from 1-3:00 pm on April 6th. Looking forward to seeing you then.

Member News: Michael R Lane Story Published

Michael R. Lane is pleased to announce the publication of his short story: “Crossing The Burnside Bridge” in Volume 3, Issue 1 of The Hungry Chimera. Find out more Find out more

Member News: New book in mystery series

Amidst the heraldry of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, a string of brutal murders rocks Britain’s upper crust―and could threaten the realm itself―in the spellbinding debut of Patricia Marcantonio’s Felicity Carrol mysteries, “FELICITY CARROL AND THE PERILOUS PURSUIT”. Felicity Carrol is interested in everything―except being a proper young matron of Victorian society. Brilliant and resourceful,…

Member News: Steven Mayfield signs with Regal House Publishing

Treasure of the Blue Whale, a novel by Steven Mayfield, will be published by Regal House as part of their spring 2020 list. Mayfield is the author of Howling at the Moon, a 2010 Best Books selection by USA Book News. Find out more.

Member News: OPA Spring Poetry Contest Open

Deadline for submitting electronically and postmarked by March 1, 2019. Find out more

Member News: Stories about Willamette Falls

Dede Montgomery, author of “My Music Man,” was filmed by the Willamette Falls Legacy Project in stories about Willamette Falls at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jdri5L9pi4M&t=42sDede will share her memoir on Oregon’s February 14 birthday at our Oregon State Capitol, and at the End of the Trail Interpretive Center on March 2. Her Capitol talk and slides will be…

Member News: PDX Writers Winter Workshops

We’ve planned some workshops that will spark excitement and give you fresh eyes as you return to your previous project. Our Elements of Fiction and Critique workshops will give you new insights and inspiration. The Historical Fiction workshop offers prompts, structural support, and facilitator critique. Still stuck on structure? Hammer & Nails is a one-on-one…

On Writing from Willamette Writers

Get The Most Out of Your Book Event

By Willamette Writers

Authors sometimes don’t do all they can do to get the most out of their book events. A small turnout can feel discouraging, but in fact, small readings are a great opportunity to connect personally to convert readers into loyal…

Screenwriting Tips

By Ruth Witteried

Willamette Writers encourages writers of all genres to enter the FiLMLaB Competition–even those who have never written a screenplay before. Screenwriting has generally accepted conventions and guidelines. Below are some valuable resources as well as links and screenwriting tips to make…

What Can You Learn From Oscar Shorts?

By Ruth Witteried

by Ruth Witteried It is not easy to find the Oscar Nominated Shorts on Comcast Pay Per View. I found them once, then they seemed to disappear from cable and the internet. In fact, they had been pulled from the…

Script to Screen Tips and Trips

By Ruth Witteried

by Ruth Witteried As the Willamette Writers kick off their second Script to Screen short screenplay competition, several writers have requested tips for creating successful entries, or at the very least that we share the ‘trips’ of previous submissions; the…

Join a Meeting or a Workshop Near You

All Writers Welcome! Members & Full-Time Students Attend for Free!

Portland: Networking at AWP

March 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Join Willamette Writers Executive Director Kate Ristau, Community Outreach Coordinator Debby Dodds, and Wordcrafters Executive Director Daryll Lynne Evans as we discuss strategies for networking, chatting, and making the most of your time at AWP.

Portland: What Is a Story For? With Susan DeFreitas

April 2 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
What Is a Story For? With Susan DeFreitas Work, laundry, small children whose dinners we’re supposed to prepare–surely all of them deserve our attention more than the latest novel to have followed us home from Powell’s. But as any reader knows, once you’ve been sucked into a story, you’re along for the ride. Why? Author,…


April 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
DISCOVERING YOUR NEXT STORY IDEA WITH THE POWER OF “&” with Fonda Lee Writers are often told to ‘write what you know’ as well as ‘write what you want to write’ and of course, ‘be original.’ Tall order! Fonda Lee, author of Zeroboxer, the Exo duology, and the Green Bone Saga, will break down her…

Southern Oregon: Monthly Meeting

April 6 @ 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Please join us for our Central Point monthly meeting! Put the date on your calendar. More information will be coming soon.

Vancouver: Monthly Meeting

April 15 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Join us for our chapter meeting! More details coming soon.

Salem: Monthly Meeting

April 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Please join us for our Salem monthly meeting! Put the date on your calendar. More information will be coming soon.

Newport: Monthly Meeting

April 21 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Join us at our chapter meeting. More details coming soon!

Portland: Monthly Meeting

May 7 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Join us for our Portland Monthly meeting! Details to be announced, but we look forward to seeing you there!

The Willamette Writers Conference

Julie Whipple Book Signing at Powells

Julie Whipple will be reading and signing copies of her new book, Crash Course Join Julie Whipple at Powell’s downtown flagship store on West Burnside on Monday, August 20 at 7:30 (http://www.powells.com/book/-9780692070406#product_details) and award-winning audiobook narrator Heather Henderson for a special performance of excerpts from the book. Long-time Portland residents vividly recall the crash of…


We’re excited that Erick Mertz is a member of the faculty at the upcoming Willamette Writers Conference. Erick is a Portland-based ghostwriter and fiction/memoir manuscript consultant. Over the last five years as a full-time freelancer he has written manuscripts for a variety of clients. In a blog he posted this past December, he shares advice…

The 7 Things Writers Need to Make a Living by Sonia Simone

Written by SONIA SIMONE Reprinted with permission from Copyblogger.  If you’re a writer, you might have heard this most of your life: People don’t make a living writing. You should find something practical to do with your life. Smart, capable writers grimly pass around war stories on Facebook. Penny-a-word assignments, clients who don’t pay, disdain for our…

Open Mic Night at the Willamette Writers Conference

Open Mic night started at the Willamette Writers Conference in 2013, when I mentioned to the conference chair that I attended a really fun Open Mic Night at another writing conference. This launched us into a talk about how we could make one for Willamette Writers and how we could make it even better than…

What’s New at the Willamette Writers Conference

Welcome to our 2018 Conference! This year, our theme for The Best Three Days in Writing is “Celebrating Diverse Voices in Writing.” The whole team is really looking forward to what we’ve got in store for you all this August 3rd -5th. As you know, the conference has grown and changed much over its 49-year…

Experiences at The Willamette Writers Conference

“A writers conference can be an empowering and uplifting experience,” according to Scott Myers, a producer, writer, and assistant director. Myers presented at the Willamette Writers Conference this year, and said it was a “special experience.” He explains on his website about his conference experience that he met so many writers and old friends, and his classes were packed. His…

Writing Through the Tough Times by Julie Fast

All writers come to a point where it feels impossible to write another word. This happened to me with one month left before I had to turn in the manuscript for my first book. I felt overwhelmed with the idea of making the book perfect. All of it had to flow. It had to be…

New Conference Opportunity for Members: Sell Your Books at the Consignment Booth

Thanks for checking out this opportunity. We are finalizing the details and should have them for you this week. In the meantime, please let us know you’re interested by completing the short form below or via this link (same form, use whatever works better for you). We will let you know when we have more…

New Opportunity at Conference: Author Headshots

For the first time ever, the 2017 Willamette Writers Conference will have a professional photographer at the conference to take author headshots. A limited number of slots will be offered Friday and Saturday afternoon, so book your slot before they are all taken. Why Do Author’s Need Headshots? Last year’s conference keynote speaker Jane Friedman…

Hone Your Craft: The 2017 Conference Offers Opportunity for Advanced & Beginning Writers

As we’ve mentioned before, our schedule of educational programming includes 9 tracks of themed content from across the spectrum of what writers need to know and want to celebrate. Our Genre offerings for this year take up two of those tracks: one for beginners and novices, the other for intermediate and professional writers. And the…

Our News

FiLMLaBtv 2019 Writer’s Room The 2019 winning script is “Stripes,” written by Alexandra Keister. Keister, an executive assistant and screenwriter, has written two feature-length screenplays, both romantic comedies, and a handful of short screenplays that range from dark sci-fi to the classically uplifting my-dog-is-dead story. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a BA…

Willamette Writers Authors Sign Books at The Portland Book Festival

by Ari Mathae Willamette Writers, the Portland literary community, and book lovers near and far will meet again Saturday 10, 2018, for the largest celebration of books in the Pacific Northwest: The Portland Book Festival. The event starts at 9 A.M. at the Portland Art Museum and continues there and at other neighboring venues in the…

Member News: Mary Andonian & David Poulshock launch ISA Third Thursdays

Mary Andonian & David Poulshock launch ISA Third Thursdays Members Mary and David are launching the local chapter of the International Screenwriters Association(ISA). It’s a monthly mixer for screenwriters on Third Thursdays, where you can mingle with fellow screenwriters, meet film and television industry professionals, and win door prizes — including a free Willamette Writer’s…

How To Happily Write A Query Letter

We’re excited that Bill Kenower is a member of the faculty at the upcoming Willamette Writers Conference. Bill is the author of Fearless Writing: How to Create Boldly and Write With Confidence and Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion. In a blog he posted this past June, he shares his perspective on how he learned…


We’re excited that Erick Mertz is a member of the faculty at the upcoming Willamette Writers Conference. Erick is a Portland-based ghostwriter and fiction/memoir manuscript consultant. Over the last five years as a full-time freelancer he has written manuscripts for a variety of clients. In a blog he posted this past December, he shares advice…

Attend FiLMLaB.tv workshops and get all the value without even attending!

Attend FiLMLaB.tv workshops and get all the value without even attending! Well, not really. Eventually you’ll have to “attend.” But thanks to space-age technology, Willamette Writers is presenting two valuable workshops online that you will be able to access 24/7 AND multiple times right up until the conference. That means that even if you’re not…

Ten Tips for Writing an Effective Pitch

By Alyssa Schaffer and Joanna Szabo Pitching your manuscript can be one of the more intimidating aspects of the writing process, so we’ve collected a few essential tips to help you prepare your next pitch. Start with a hook. This should be one or two lines covering the most exciting thing about your book. However,…

Willamette Writers is Sponsoring Write to Publish

We are delighted to contribute to this year’s Write to Publish conference with Ooligan Press to help writers, agents, and publishers alike get more familiar the ins and outs of the industry! What: A one-day conference demystifying the publishing industry When: April 21, 2018 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Where: George C. Hoffmann Hall 1833…

Randall Jahnson and FiLMLaB Screenwriting Workshop

Screenwriting Workshop Willamette Writers and FiLMLaB invite you to join us for an online screenwriting workshop with Randall Jahnson. Details Date: Saturday, April 21st Time: 12-2PM Cost: Free Open to the public This is an online workshop Click here to register. About Randall Jahnson Randall Jahnson has written more than 20 feature-length screenplays. Not all…

Help Support Young Writers

What a wonderful year. We started out with our chapter meetings across the state, joined together at our annual conference, and finished the year with a closer — and much larger — community of support and friendship. Every day, Willamette Writers members are developing their craft and expanding their careers. Today, we ask you to…