Canadian Authors Association, Saskatchewan Branch

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Canadian Authors Association, Saskatchewan Branch

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Saskatchewan members of the Canadian Authors Association first congregated in Regina in the early 1920s and soon began to conduct themselves as a Branch, although official status was not immediately forthcoming. It was probably officially constituted when seven professional writers were recruited and in good standing with the national organization, as per the Canadian Authors Association regulations. A small group of prominent authors would meet on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Regina Public Library, and as of 1924, Austin Bothwell was serving as President and Irene Moore of The Leader, as Secretary-Treasurer. Under their leadership an illustrated book, Saskatchewan: Her Infinite Variety, was published in 1925.

The Saskatchewan Branch remained focused in Regina. An offshoot of the Regina group also developed in Moose Jaw, where the most distinguished novelist at the time was Ethel Kirk Grayson, although today Joseph Schull is more well-known.

Western representation on the national board of the Canadian Authors Association soon became an irritant. With the war effort taking precedence in the 1940s, members opted to become war correspondents, or served on the Writers War Committee, an initiative fostered by the Canadian Authors Association national branch. The Regina branch opted to disband in 1944. In the post-war years, Mary Weekes, an author of historical books and participant in the Writers War Committee, became instrumental in reviving and guiding the group.

The Canadian Authors Association, and its associated branches, are viewed as providing the base for new, stronger organizations to emerge in the 1970s, which were quickly staffed with experienced writers and administrators, and benefited from being more specialized in function. The Writers Union of Canada took on labour-related issues, and regional Writers' Guilds began to emerge as groups that embraced amateurs. In Saskatchewan, the new Saskatchewan Arts Board's interest and funding became closely tied into the fledgling Saskatchewan Writers' Guild. The Canadian Authors Association Regina Branch reportedly folded in the early 1970s. Correspondence in the fonds suggest that former members of the Branch continued to ally themselves informally as late as 1980.


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