Associated Writers and Writing Programs

AWP is an umbrella organization for individual writers and for colleges and universities offering the Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Publishes The Chronicle, AWP Job List, hosts an annual conference, web conferencing, and a members directory. Web site also contains a helpful list of writers conferences.

Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers

ALSCW promotes excellence in literary criticism and scholarship, and works to ensure that literature thrives in both scholarly and creative environments. Located at the Catholic University of America, they host an annual conference, awards, and local meetings. Publishes a journal and newsletter, plus occasional forum publications and broadsides. Range of membership rates.

Cave Canem

DogCave Canem is committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry.  Offers an annual summer workshop/retreat, a first book prize, readings, and more.  Located in Brooklyn, NY, but has strong DC ties. Also note: The Spring 2017 issue is the Cave Canem 20th Anniversary Issue.

City Lit Project

City Lit Project is a Baltimore-based organization that coordinates writers workshops, author readings, publication seminars, book festivals, youth events, and publishes books by regional authors through its City Lit Press imprint.


CultureCapital is a membership organization for arts groups and individual artists.  They offer marketing, professional development, and group health care for members.  For the general public, they run TicketPlace, a source for half-price tickets to performing arts, and a free online Job Bank where you can search for paid jobs in the arts and arts administration.

DC Poetry Workshop Group

Free weekly workshop led by Amanda Hickok.  Meets Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial DC Public Library.  Group discusses poems that have influenced members and comments on works in progress by members.


Footlights is the Modern Drama Discussion Group of Washington, DC. Each month 25-35 members meet to discuss modern drama at inexpensive restaurants near Metro stations. The group attends half the plays they discuss, often with the director in attendance. Membership and meetings are free, group rates arranged with local theaters. Offers an E-newsletter to members.

Furious Flower

Located at James Madison University, Furious Flower Poetry Center is devoted to African American poetry, and serves the university, the Harrisonburg, VA community, and scholars nationally. Houses visiting poets, sponsors workshops, hosts an annual poetry camp for students in grades 3 to 8, produces videos, books and articles, and holds panels, seminars and conferences. Joanne V. Gabbin, executive director.

Hampton Roads Writers

Hampton Roads Writers runs a writing center in Virginia Beach, VA that offers workshops, readings, contests, critique groups. Hosts a annual two-day Fall conference with keynote speaker, workshops, breakout sessions, ten-minute agent pitches.


The Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, or HoCoPoLitSo, hosts readings, special events, and “The Writing Life,” a cable TV series.

Hurston/Wright Foundation

Hurston/WrightHurston-Wright-Logo-Emblem is a resource for Black writers.  They offer workshops for teens and adults, an annual award for college writers, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards for new books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Knowledge Commons DC

KCDC hosts workshops and events in public spaces, taught by and for DC residents. Most classes last one month and are held in such locations as cemeteries, galleries, cafes, grocery stores, museums, and parks.

Maryland Writers’ Association

The Maryland Writers’ Association hosts classes and critique groups, readings, contests, an annual conference, and community outreach projects. Publishes bimonthly newsletter, Pen in Hand. Covers poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Based in Annapolis, with seven chapters offering smaller meetings in different regions of the state. Fees charged.

National League of American Pen Women

The NLAPW is a professional membership organization for women writers, composers, and visual artists.  The National offices are located in DC.  There is also a DC Branch, and branches in Anne Arundel County, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Carroll County.

National Writers Union, Washington Chapter

The Washington, DC Chapter of the National Writers Union is Local 1981 of the AFL-CIO.  Offers guidance on contracts, legal consultation, and grievance services. Sponsors readings and workshops. Members can qualify for medical benefits, college scholarships, personal, home equity, and car loans, and press passes. Dues based on annual writing income.

New Directions in Writing

New Directions in Writing is a three-year continuing education program for writers, clinicians, and academics who want to develop their skill in writing with a psychological perspective. Offers weekend seminars, and summer and winter retreats with themes that explore topics of psychological interest to stimulate participants’ writing, led by professional writing instructors paired with psychoanalyst faculty. Based in Arlington, VA, and sponsored by the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis.


Nightwriters offers writing seminars in such locations as Napa Valley, CA, Isle of Mull, Scotland, and Tuscany, Italy. Also rents out a writer’s house in Ashland, VA with daily and weekly rates. Based in Bethesda, MD.

Playwright’s Forum

The Playwright’s Forum runs writers’ groups for playwrights, public and in-house readings at cooperating theaters and universities, a publishing program, and free theater ticket privledges for members.

Poets on the Fringe

This workshop and reading series is coordinated by Pamela Passaretta, and offered every Wednesday from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.  Open to anyone aged 18 and up. “Poets from all walks of life encouraged to share their work, and bring copies of their poems and offer positive feedback with each other.”  Georgetown Neighborhood Library, 3260 R St. NW, DC. (202) 727-0232.  Free admission.


Poets@Work publishes interviews, poetry book reviews, and runs an annual chapbook award.  Members can use the site as a social media hub.  Based in New York, but the Executive Director is MD-based Gerry LaFemina.

Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild

The Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild is a nonprofit organization fostering the literary arts in southern coastal Delaware. Hosts workshops, discussions, readings, and the annual “Writers at the Beach: Pure Sea Glass” conference. Members volunteer at local schools and hospitals.


Rhizome DC is a nonprofit organization located in the Takoma Park DC neighborhood “dedicated to promoting creativity as a force for personal empowerment and community engagement.” Offers concerts, discussions, classes, youth programs and various “non-mainstream programming.”

Silent Book Club

Silent Book Club allows participants to meet in a public place and read with company, or, as they call it, “Introvert Happy Hour.”  Sometimes groups spend the whole time reading in silence; sometimes they break into conversations. Chapters across the US; in our region, there are groups in Washington, DC, Rockville, MD, Richmond, VA, and Lewes, DE. No fee to join.

Smithsonian Associates

The Smithsonian Associates offers classes, lectures, travel, performances on diverse subjects, including literary topics. Members get discounts on classes, Smithsonian Magazine, and other discounts.

Solas Nua

Solas Nua is a nonprofit organization, located in DC, dedicated to bringing contemporary Irish arts and culture to America. Events include plays and a monthly book discussion club.

Split This Rock

Split This RockAlexisDC is dedicated to honoring the poetry of provocation and witness.  Ongoing programs include Sunday Kind of Love, a monthly reading series at Busboys and Poets (the third Sunday of every month at 5:00 pm at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Streets NW, DC), free writing workshops (the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600, DC), free teen writing workshops (weekly on Tuesdays at 4:30 pm at the Institute for Policy Studies), and sponsorship of the DC Youth Poetry Slam Team.  In even-numbered years, they host a festival in DC with readings, panels, and workshops. Also note: the Winter 2008 issue, the Split This Rock Issue, was published in celebration of their first festival.

Spoken Word

The Spoken Word is an ensemble featuring poetry, storytelling, and African percussion, The Spoken Word offers performances, workshops, seminars, and family and school activities. They also offer an adult double dutch jumprope group, and the Lens & Pens project for forensics patients at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Coordinated by Joy Jones.

West Virginia Writers

West Virginia Writers is a non-profit literary organization that sponsors an annual writers’ conference and an annual writing competition.  Web site lists information on writing groups and workshops throughout the state.

Writer House

Writer House is a non-profit membership organization that offers classes, writing space, and readings in the Charlottesville, VA area.

Writer’s Center

120aaaThe Writer’s Center is a non-profit membership organization for writers.  Workshops in all genres for beginning and experienced writers, led by local authors, in Bethesda and other area locations.  Also offers readings (Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm and occasional evenings; the Open Door Series usually has free admission), as well as performances, staged readings of plays, a visiting writers series, and an annual small press book fair.  Publishes a newsletter and the biannual literary journal Poet Lore.

Writers Room DC

Writers Room offers shared office space for writers of fiction and nonfiction in the Tenleytown neighborhood.  3-month and 6-month memberships; 24-hour access.