Above and below: George Weinstein, former president of the Atlanta Writer’s Club. SPECIAL

Just as metro Atlanta readers have their clubs, so do the people who create the books they read, the writers. The Atlanta Writer’s Club, founded in 1914, meets monthly and claims hundreds of members who author mysteries, romance novels, historical novels and other types of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and even screenplays.

“It’s a club that serves many different subgroups,” said former president George Weinstein, who himself has written a mystery, a romance and a pair of historical novels. “That’s good. We have enough members to keep different groups engaged and to give them what they want.”

Weinstein, who’s 53, said he’s been writing his whole life. At age 6, he was scripting plays for his stuffed animals to act out for his siblings.

When he started attending Writer’s Club meetings about 2000, the organization was very different from what it is now. “It seemed to me I was a good 30 years younger than the average member,” the 53-year-old said. “It was all very old-fashioned… They were lucky to get 10 to 12 people to come to a meeting. Everybody looked at me like, ‘What are you doing here?’”

It felt like the end of something that was stuck in a time when members gathered at a Midtown club and wore tuxedoes and gowns to meetings. At one point, he said, the writers’ group could claim only about 48 members altogether.

Bigger and better than ever

But since then, the club has reformed and remade itself, Weinstein said. The club opened its ranks to all sorts of writers. It started meeting in the suburbs – it now meets monthly at Georgia State University: Perimeter College’s Dunwoody campus – and began offering more things for members to do and more ways for them to learn about writing.

“Suddenly we were growing very quickly,” Weinstein said.

The group sponsors critique groups and regular workshops, publishes a newsletter, holds a writing competition and hosts two large writer’s conferences a year. Members pay $50 to join for 365 days and Weinstein says membership has reached nearly 1,000.

Now, he said, the club is working on developing a new generation of leaders “so this club that nearly died a few years ago can last another 100 years.” He thinks it can. “It’s got legs,” he said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.