Brief Historical Review
Appalachian Authors Guild/A Chapter of Virginia Writers Club
In early 2005 an attempt to form a regional writers group was begun at Southwest Virginia Community College, Richlands, VA. The name chosen, Appalachian Authors Guild, represented the region to be served. A Board of Directors was selected with Jim Campbell as president. This effort was abandoned in late 2005 and the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission (CPPDC) in Lebanon, VA agreed to take over the operation of AAG for a period of one year to allow time for a new group of writers and authors to reestablish its operation. The CPPDC hired Patty Nichols as Executive Director and manager of operations and Jim Campbell continued as president until mid 2006 when he resigned and Darrell Fleming was elected president. After more than one year and relocating to Abingdon, VA the CPPDC decided to discontinue its financial support of AAG and, once again, the operations of AAG ceased in March 2007. The membership totaled approximately 60 at that time.
Following this, several informal meetings were held by interested writers and authors in an attempt to initiate a new writers group. Finally in June 2007 a new group was formed in a meeting at the William King Art Center in Abingdon. This group requested and received approval from CPPDC to continue using Appalachian Authors Guild as part of its name. Application was made to the Virginia Commerce Commission and approved to officially name the new group Appalachian Authors Guild and Associates (AAG&A). This name was selected to reflect broadening the scope of its members to include authors, writers, and anyone interested in promoting the art and craft of writing. A Board of Directors and officers were elected. The officers were Darrell Fleming, president; Rachel Riggsby, Secretary; and Gary Varner; Treasurer. The Board of Directors promptly began developing by-laws, which were approved later in 2007.
The AAG&A began to develop events and programs for writers and authors such as book sales, festivals, a bookstore, mini-workshops, TIDINGS Newsletter, and a website - http://www.appalachianauthors.com. In 2008 AAG&A joined with Southwest Virginia Community College, Richlands, VA to co-sponsor a writers symposium. Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium, website - http://ahwsweb.com/, was launched on the campus of SWCC at the King Community Center in June 2009. This two-day event has been a huge success with outstanding workshops by well-qualified published authors, nationally recognized keynote speakers, and writing contests. June 14 - 15, 2013 promises to be another very successful symposium.
In late 2009, Jack Rose was elected president of AAG&A. He and Patty Nichols pursued the opportunity for AAG&A to become a chapter of the Virginia Writers Club (VWC). The application was filed and accepted by VWC and AAG&A became a chapter in early 2010 and renamed Appalachian Authors Guild, A Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.
Jack Rose resigned as president in early 2010 due to personal and family reasons and Darrell Fleming, Vice President, assumed the duties of president. The first task was to rewrite the by-laws to conform to the Virginia Writers Club. The new by-laws were recommended by the Board of Directors and accepted at the November 2010 membership meeting. Darrell Fleming received AAG/VWC Chapter’s Charter from VWC on November 13, 2010, Mount Vernon, VA. In addition, AAG/VWC was selected to host the Board of Governors of the Virginia Writers Club at their fall quarterly meeting. Arrangements were made to host the board meeting at Heartwood and Virginia Highlands Community College to host the main event in Abingdon with speakers Todd Christensen, Director of Heartwood and Richard Rose, Artistic Director of Barter Theatre. As a result of the many activities conducted in 2010, VWC selected AAG/VWC as the outstanding state chapter for 2011. Darrell Fleming accepted the Outstanding Chapter Award at VWC’s Annual Meeting on November 5, 2011, Richmond, VA.
The new by-laws effected a reorganization comprising the new Board of Directors with four elected officers and four appointed committee chairs. The elected officers were Darrell Fleming, President; Claudia Ware, Vice President; Vicki Fletcher, Secretary; Jack Rose, Treasurer. The committee chairs were Claudia Ware, Program Committee; Linda Hoagland, Membership Committee; Sylvia Nickels, Communications and Website Committee; Jack Rose, Festival and Events Committee. An active year for AAG/VWC continued in 2012 with the expansion of events for authors, a series of mini-workshops, and the writers' symposium. New officers were elected for 2013 at the November 2012 membership meeting. They are Claudia Ware, President; Rita Hawkins, Vice President; Vicki Fletcher, Secretary; Jack Rose, Treasurer and committee chairs will be appointed at the first board meeting for 2013.
AAG/VWC has a very bright future for 2013 and beyond with the commitment and enthusiasm of new officers, a steady growth with new members, and a continuation of outstanding programs and events which showcase its authors, and the Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium.