History

Arizona Authors’ Association is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit literary and educational organization. Incorporated in 1978, Arizona Authors’ is one of the longest-established writers’ associations in the Southwest.

Founded by longtime Arizona resident and publisher, Boye DeMente, Arizona Authors’ was first an extension of DeMente’s small press, Phoenix Books/Publisher. After several months receiving an increased number of publishing, marketing and writing queries, DeMente organized a collective writer meeting in the west Valley. This event was accomplished with assistance from the organizers of the then-annual Spring Author’s Day held at a local department store in central Phoenix.

Nearly 75 writers and authors attended that introductory meeting. From there, a membership roster was created forming the inaugural body of Arizona Authors’. DeMente was unanimously selected as the first Association president under what was completely different bylaws than those by which Arizona Authors’ is governed today.

In 1979, the Association’s first full year in existence, DeMente nearly single-handedly recruited 400 members. Subsequently over the past 39 years, the Association has had several different officers and operating philosophies netting membership numbers closely following economic trends at the time. At one point in the early 1990s, the Association became dormant and nearly dissolved. Thereafter, local writers and teachers reorganized the group and partnered with third parties to sponsor an Association website in the early 2000s. The Arizona Literary Contest was resurrected and an annual November awards event was organized to honor and celebrate that season’s winning authors and writers.

In 2016, the Board of Directors oversaw the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) status grant; amended the Association bylaws to follow the informal practices held by officers from 1998-2014; expanded and recruited world-wide literary contest submissions; stabilized a thriving membership nearing 300 authors; and, established a renewed and inspired emphasis on assisting writers with the craft of writing, publishing and marketing literary works.

The Association maintains an ever-evolving website which was completely redesigned, rebuilt and modernized in January 2017, offering its members personal author pages. Other member benefits include newsletters, book festivals and signings, including Tucson Festival of Books, the nation’s fourth largest book festival, statewide, regional and local conferences, seminars, workshops and critique groups.

Internationally renowned, the Association sponsors an annual literary contest including both published and unpublished categories – Poetry, Essay/Articles, Short Stories, New Drama, unpublished Novel, Fiction, Nonfiction and Children’s Literature (board and chapter books). An awards ceremony coincides with the annual late fall publication of the Arizona Literary Magazine.