Who We Are

The IWWG, founded in 1976, is a network for the personal and professional empowerment of women through writing and open to all regardless of portfolio. As such, it has established a remarkable record of achievement in the publishing world, as well as in circles where lifelong learning and personal transformation are valued for their own sake. The Guild nurtures and supports holistic thinking by recognizing the logic of the heart--the ability to perceive the subtle interconnections between people, events and emotions- alongside conventional logic.

"What Is This Thing Called Guild?"

The Guiding History and Principles of IWWG

by Hannelore Hahn
Founder of the International Women's Writing Guild

When the Guild was formed in 1976, it grew out of three movements that had come into being at that time:

  • The Human Potential Movement
  • The New Age
  • The Women's Movement

The Human Potential Movement is embodied in the Guild's inclusion of everyone regardless of portfolio, and in its celebration of writing as the whetting stone upon which to sharpen the "wits and writs" for telling stories which reveal truths as well as mysteries and the unknown. This emphasis on writing and revelation is particularly relevant to memoir writing — the recollection of experiences unarticulated and in need of conscious connection to the warp and woof of the individual as a whole.

Wholeness combined with craft is as important to the Guild as is the writing process and creativity in general — and when these come together they produce, over time, an individual and a writer who is both centered, strong and open.

The New Age has contributed to IWWG's alternative expressions and to the pursuit of answers about matters that are as yet inexplicable. IWWG is open to all forms of faith and their explanations of our ultimate purpose here on earth vis-a-vis the meaning of life. While the Guild does not sponsor a dominant explanation, it does believe in strengthening the belief in inexplicables, in paradox, while holding faith in an ultimate order.

Being able to seek the whole and see its manifestations — leaving the final explanation up to both mystery and a belief in a sense of order whose mechanism we still don't understand — makes us perpetual seekers and tests our tolerance towards others and differing ideologies.

This attitude, never imposed but respectfully sensed, results in a deep feeling of respect and love for all that is around us — for our fellow humans, environment, the earth and the universe.

The Women's Movement, when it came to be in the middle of the 20th Century, gave women the opportunity to reinvent themselves beyond the prevalent stereotypes of homemaker and mother. When the Guild was formed, it provided a powerful new tool — exploration through the process of writing — to women wishing to take advantage of the opportunity for rebirth, creativity and personal growth.

IWWG strongly supports all movements for human rights, for equity and valor mixed with love — but does not organizationally participate in political activity.

These principles have guided the Guild for more than three decades and are transmitted without guru or doctrine to thousands of women all over the world who have come in contact with IWWG at its conferences and workshops. Some 4,000 books have been published by IWWG members and workshop participants.

The Guild's influence based on its principles and practice is and has been immeasurable.

From the start, the Guild proposed the writing from personal experience as the beginning of this transformational process. Everyone in the Guild, sooner or later, cuts her teeth on the journal, the memoir, and the autobiography—like the scales on the piano—this daily practice does eventually make a "silk purse out of a sow's ear." It does develop writers into "writers." More importantly however, from the Guild's point of view, it furthers personal growth, transformation, and an authentic voice.