The Harlem Writers Guild
 
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History

The Harlem Writers Guild (HWG) was founded in 1950 by wordsmiths/scholars/activists Rosa Guy, John Oliver Killens, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Willard Moore and Walter Christmas. HWG is the oldest organization of African-American writers in the United States, and probably in the world.

The purpose of HWG, then and now, is to develop and aid in the publication of works by writers of the African Diaspora. In addition to books, founding guild members contributed to major journals including The Liberator, The Crisis, Black Scholar and Freedomways. The scholarship of Dr. Clarke, most notably, contributed to the development of multicultural studies in higher education throughout the nation.

Many awards have been bestowed upon HWG, and they enjoy a record of community service. In 1977, the creative organization was honored by the United Nations (UN) Society of Writers. In 1998, HWG conducted creative writing workshops for the public libraries throughout New York City. HWG has been an active participant in Harlem Week, especially the legendary Harlem Book Fair held every summer on 135th Street.

Through the years several outstanding guild members and associates have read their works before their peers, had books critiqued, have re-written and re-written and come back again to perfect their craft. Those names include:


 
Audrey Lorde, Paule Marshall, Julian Mayfield, Louise Meriwether, Terry McMillian, Robert McNatt, Lofton Mitchell, Walter Dean Myers, Wilber Oliver, Funmi Osoba, Sidney Poitier, Diane Richards, Charles Russell, Gammy Singer, Wilbert Tatum, Brenda Wilkinson, Valerie Wilson-Wesley, Sarah Elizabeth Wright and Sandra L. West

Doris Jean Austin, the late William H. Banks Jr., Wesley Brown, Rosemary Bray, Irving Burgie, Godfrey Cambridge, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Alice Childress, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, James DeJongh, Grace F. Edwards, Lonnie Elders III, Donis Ford, Bill William Forde, Rosa Guy, Lorraine Hansberry, Lloyd Hairston, Robert Hooks, Rose James, John Oliver Killens, Betty Ann Jackson,


 

 

 


The memorable, creative products of this historic group of writers are too numerous to mention. But a few titles would include The Boy Who Painted Christ Black, A Raisin in the Sun, The Cotillion, and Mama.

HWG has continued to make history. In August 2005 Random House published Beloved Harlem, a literary tribute to America’s most famous neighborhood. The anthology was edited by the late William H. Banks Jr., former Executive Director of HWG. It included excerpts from guild members:


 
Louise Meriwether, Funmi Osoba, Diane Richards, Karen Robinson, Olubansile Abbas Mimiko, MD., and Sarah Elizabeth Wright

William H. Banks Jr., Andrea Broadwater, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Grace F. Edwards, Rosa Guy, Rachel DeAragon, John Oliver Killens, Walter Dean Myers

 


Further, in July 2006 The Harlem Writers Guild Press published four new novels by guild members Judy Andrews, Eugene Hobgood, Diane Richards and K.C. Washington.

Since 1988 The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture has been the home of the HWG.


                               For additional information, please contact HWG INC. P.O. BOX 1486 Manhattanville Station N.Y. NY 10027     

or

theharlemwritersguild@yahoo.com