Celebrating Women Authors Since 1982

Literary Women: Our History and Mission

Photo credit: Destinations Magazine

Photo credit: Long Beach Convention Visitors Bureau


  • To make accessible to a wide-ranging audience of avid readers the work of outstanding contemporary women authors.
  • To encourage new writers of talent and promise.
  • To celebrate the value of literature in the lives of future readers.


The Festival of Women Authors had its beginning in Long Beach, California in 1982. It was created when two women, Harriet Williams and Virginia Laddey were appalled to discover the scarcity of women authors represented in the reading lists of local high schools. They decided to alter the imbalance by creating a festival showcasing women authors.

With a committee of women from fifteen other community groups, they designed a festival that brought the best of contemporary women writers to an eager audience.


The committee that organizes the Festival is comprised of twenty-five volunteers. They believe in the continuing need to provide the Long Beach community with a cultural forum which reflects its diversity of literary interests. As succeeding generations of women continue to support the event, it is apparent the intentions of the original committee were well-founded and continue to be relevant today.

Community Outreach

In keeping with our Mission, The Literary Women of Long Beach, invite Emerging Writers from Long Beach City College, California State University, Long Beach, Chapman University, and PEN America Los Angeles to attend the event. They meet with the presenting authors, who offer them invaluable support and advice.

In order to support our community of readers, Literary Women donates funds to the Long Beach Public Library to purchase books that will be featured at the upcoming Festival.