No matter your publication status, age, or level of writing skill—Writers of Kern (WOK) is here to help you reach your greatest writing goals and highest publishing aspirations.
We offer opportunities, support, education, encouragement, resources, mentorships, and community to writers across all genres in Kern County and beyond.
WOK is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a branch of the California Writers Club.
Since 1996—when WOK first opened its doors to writers in Bakersfield and surrounding communities—we’ve provided a forum for both published and pre-published writers to share ideas, hone their craft, and encourage each other.
We’re a branch of the California Writers Club, whose roots go back even further than ours do (CWC was founded in 1909!).
California Writers Club may be more than a century old, but we create innovative programs and opportunities for our members that keep up with today’s digital and traditional publishing landscape. And the programs we offer and continue to expand only prove our commitment to our roots, our members, and to the writers in our community.
Workshops are one of the best ways to try out what Writers of Kern has to offer. Taught by guest lecturers—from agents and editors to published authors and screenwriters and everything in between—our workshops offer the key insights and skills writers need to break through to their writing and publishing goals. See the workshop lineup.
Spring Writers Conference brings together four masters of the writing and publishing field each year for a full day of workshops, networking, skills building, and book signings. Speakers like Edgar Award winning and internationally bestselling novelist, Anne Perry—a guest at one of our recent Spring Conferences— share their expertise and writing skills with WOK members and conference attendees. We’ve hosted published novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, and agents looking for new authors. Claim your spot at the next conference.
Critique Groups cover multiple genres, take place in-person and online depending on the group, and are available to members only. There’s no extra fee to join one, and WOK can create the critique group that’s just right for you. Many bonds between our members start here. Apply for a critique group.
WOK Anthology accepts memoir, fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, flash fiction, and images. You have to be a member to submit writing. And as an imprint of WOK Press, publication in the anthology counts toward Active membership status. Not all submissions are accepted. Still many find the WOK Anthology is a comfortable way to practice the submission process. Even better, there’s no fee to submit writing. Check out the submission guidelines.
Peggy Connelly Scholarship provides financial support to up to two Kern County writers of children’s literature annually. Awards support research, travel, education, or other necessities in the pursuit of a children’s picture book, Middle Grade, or YA writing project. Apply for the scholarship.
Sunshine Committee members don’t just greet members and guests at WOK meetings and workshops. They also send birthday, condolence, and congratulations cards to members who experience significant events. That’s because WOK is a community of supportive members, colleagues, and even friends. Request a Sunshine Card for you or a member you know.
Young Writers of Kern (YWOK) Writing Contest, with help from local sponsors, promotes critical thinking, writing, and research skills for Kern County students in grades six through twelve and some community college students through its common core curriculum based argumentative essay competition. Winning students earn cash prizes and recognition throughout the community. Enter the YWOK contest.
WOK Honors Dinner & Winter Dinner events bring our membership and guests together each year in May and December to celebrate new members, pin Active members, exchange wrapped books, recognize new officers, and present awards and scholarships.
The Dan McGuire Blog Challenge speeds competitors through a 13-week mad dash to 26 blog posts and 52 comments. It’s open to members only. And even if you don’t reach the finish line with all your posts and comments in time, it’s a great opportunity to start your author platform and build an audience.
Fall Writing Contest awards cash prizes to three winning writers who submit work to this themed contest each Fall. The contest usually invites submissions of flash fiction under two thousand words around a picture or word prompt. First place winners see their names inscribed on the contest plaque.
Publication Opportunities through Writers of Kern and California Writers Club include two literary print magazines, print newsletters, and online articles. Submissions are open to both members and non-members, depending on the publication. Published writers receive a byline. Accepted submissions cover short & flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, writing tips, book & product reviews, and pitched ideas. See publication opportunities and submission guidelines.
Writers of Kern is an incubator of talent and writing skill. For our members, we offer opportunities to network, improve writing skills, and publish. You don’t have to be a resident of Kern County to become a member or take advantage of our member benefits.
- writing contests
- writing classes
- critique groups
- monthly speakers
- writers’ conferences
- discounts on classes & events
- publishing opportunities
Types of Membership
Active Members are published, meet WOK’s Active Member Requirements and have been approved by the WOK Credential Committee. | Dues: $45 annually + $20 one-time initiation fee*
Associate Members are writers with work of publishable quality, as determined by writing samples submitted to the WOK Credential Committee. | Dues: $45 annually + $20 one-time initiation fee*
Student Members arecurrent Junior High, High School, or College students. Meeting fees for student members under age 18 are waived. | Dues: $10 annually
*Note: a $20 fee is due to reinstate a lapsed membership.