is a writers’ group that has been in continuous existence since 1949... that is over sixty years of continuous club activity.
"It was the bright offspring of the fading Los Angeles Manuscripters born early in the 20th Century (it had been around since the late 1930's). In the fall of 1949, Hermosans Ramoncita O'Connor, Zella Allison, Kay Snow and Walt Darby founded the new group whose combined years make it the longest-active writers organization west of the Rockies. I came aboard a month later, in time to hear the fabulous first speaker, Ray Bradbury, tell of his newly minted Martian Chronicles.”
Their very first guest speaker was none other than that famous, fabulous author Ray Bradbury. And every year, Ray Bradbury came back as a guest speaker in a special event.
Charter member, the late Edith Battles wrote these words in her “Half a Century with Southwest Manuscripters,” a historical essay written especially for the club.
She continued by saying that, “Mona O'Connor, the first president, was no feminist; she bowed hastily to the group vote for Sam Stewart, balladeer and editor of The Daily Breeze, and succeeding male presidents including science fiction writers Mark Clifton, Raymond Banks and Maurice Ogden. Men prevailed during those early years while women rounded up the speakers and cookies and coffee each meeting.”
Clark Stadium in a frequently fog-filled valley in Hermosa Beach was the meeting place for several decades. This was followed by locations such as the Pacific Inn in Torrance and the recent Palos Verdes Peninsula Library.
In these intervening years this writers’ group has had many other fascinating guest authors such as, Rod Serling, Jack Webb, Steve Allen, Michael York, Adela Rogers St. John, Frank Riley, Hannibal Coons and so many other popular fiction and non- fiction writers to coach and stimulate our creative genes. Many other popular fiction and non-fiction writers came. Before the Love Boat was launched into its two-generation career, The Manuscripters presented the author Linda Bloodworth, of later TV and Clinton fame, told members of her first break as a screenwriter.
The real story was that of our members, who went on to their own fame as writers.
As she goes on, Edith explains, “Careers began and were helped along in Manuscripters. When first class postage was just three cents, many of the members, inspired by the monthly sales reports of fellow members, submitted their early efforts and gained a foothold. Jimmie Butler presided while he wrote best-selling hi-tech novels. Dave Kenny wrote humor and whimsy while wielding the gavel. When the ladies finally left the kitchen for the presidency, Wanda Smith, Rustie Brown and Ellen Doukoulas were all productive writers. My own sales were scattered shots through magazine-dom, but I got my book momentum through my membership. The Southwest Manuscripters was the seed for local writing courses long before college extension courses made such study available.”
Edith Battles was too modest, she went on to write many poems, articles and well-read children’s books, many of which are still in print today.
Ramoncita “Mona” O'Connor was our founding President and helped to organize most of the structure of our group. She has sold in virtually all mediums of writing. Her poetry has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Wall street Journal.
At over sixty years of age, this club isn’t stuck in the past. Recently we have had speakers and coaching on such relevant subjects as Marketing in the New Age of Writing, Print On Demand vs Vanity Press, E-Pub Kindle and E-Text Publishing.
The Southwest Manuscripters was the seed for local writing courses long before college extension courses made such study available.”
Many of their members have gone on to become well-known, published authors and are giving their own talks and lectures, some of which have also returned as guest authors.
The Southwest Manuscripters continues to aid and inspire local, beginning authors in concert with other local groups such as the Surfwriters. Come and enjoy one of our meetings, free... perhaps even join so you can participate in their writing contests and other member activities.
The Southwest Manuscripters meets at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library in the Community Room at this moment, on the first Saturdays of the month, excepting holiday weekends, at 2pm.
The Library is located in Palos Verdes, California on Silver Spur Road, between Hawthorne Blvd. and Crenshaw.
Our web site is: www.coliserv.net/swm
Phone: (310) 676-7494