HISTORY

Passion and purpose for literary enlightenment for over 16 dedicated years

The idea to start a Literary Society in Arizona originated from two Northern Trust Bank executives, Frank Nejdl and Harold Dorenbecher. With their direction and dedication, the Literary and Prologue Society of the Southwest became an Arizona non-profit organization in 2005. The inaugural Literary Society luncheon in November 2007 hosted Author J. A. Jance presenting her book, a murder mystery, Web of Evil.

During exciting annual seasons from November to May, members enjoyed award-winning authors hosted at notable Arizona resorts in Phoenix, Pinnacle Peak, and Tucson. Initially, three luncheon were held and supported by Northern Trust Bank, and in 2010, a fourth luncheon was created to handle the demand in the Phoenix area. In the spring of 2020, the organization's leadership officially transitioned to a member-run board of directors. The new Literary Society of the Southwest's board remained committed to showcasing new and seasoned authors and making impactful community grants. 

Today, the Society continues to be a thriving, enthusiastic, and growing organization annually  supported by over 500 generous members. The 2020-2022 seasons welcome a new premier corporate partner, TrustBank. Together, we remain devoted to our mission of supporting the appreciation of literature and providing grants to community organizations with a literacy mission.

Annual Management and Financial Review

The LSSW fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. The report highlighting the financial and managerial outcomes for the year can be found here and the Federal 990 tax return can be found here.

Past Authors

2020-2021 Season

Lily King | Writers & Lovers

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Patrick Radden Keefe | Say Nothing

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Esi Edugyan | Washington Black

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Margaret Leslie Davis | The Lost Gutenberg

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Lisa Wingate | The Book of Lost Friends

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Richard Ford | Sorry for Your Trouble

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2019-2020 Season

Daniel Mason | The Winter Soldier

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David Blight | Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

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Delia Owens | Where the Crawdads Sing

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Marie Benedict | Lady Clementine

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Victoria Johnson | American Eden

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2018-2019 SEASON

Charmaine Craig – Miss Burma

Tayari Jones – An American Marriage

Susan Orlean – The Library Book

Madeline Miller – Circe 

Willy Vlautin – Don’t Skip Out on Me

Evan Thomas – First: Sandra Day O’Connor: An Intimate Portrait of the First Woman Supreme Court Justice

2017-2018 SEASON

Kate Moore – The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

Tracy Kidder – A Truck Full of Money: One Man’s Quest to Recover from Great Success

Joshua Hammer – The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

Ellen Umansky – The Fortunate Ones: A Novel

Ronald White – American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

Victor Lodato – Edgar & Lucy

2016-2017 SEASON

Anthony Marra – The Tsar of Love and Techno

Ann Goldstein translated for Elena Ferrante – Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey

Paula McClain – Circling the Sun

Douglas Waller – Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan

Allison Pataki – Sisi: Empress on Her Own

Janice Nimura – Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back

2015-2016 SEASON

Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Eric Foner – Gateway to Freedom: Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Greg O’Brien – On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s

Aline Ohanesian – Orhan’s Inheritance

Dean Jobb – Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler

Elizabeth Berg – The Dream Lover

2014-2015 SEASON

Meg Wolitzer – The Interestings

Peter Heller – The Painter

Melanie Benjamin – The Aviator’s Wife

Laila Lalami – The Moor’s Account

Scott Anderson – Lawrence In Arabia

2013-2014 SEASON

Mark Helprin – In Sunlight and in Shadow

Colum McCann – Transatlantic: A Novel

Sena Jeter Naslund – The Fountain of Saint James Court

Vaddey Ratner – In the Shadow of the Banyon

B. A. Shapiro – The Art Forger

2012-2013 SEASON

Amor Towles – Rules of Civility

Tatjana Soli – The Forgetting Tree

Geraldine Brooks – Caleb’s Crossing

Robert Massie – Catherine the Great

Luis Alberto Urrea – Queen of America

2011-2012 SEASON

Jennet Conant – A Covert Affair

Thrity Umrigar – The Space Between Us

Arthur Phillips – The Tragedy of Arthur

James Robertson – The Untold Civil War

Alexandra Fuller – Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

2010-2011 SEASON

Paul Harding – Tinkers

Paul Theroux – A Dead Hand

Billy Collins – Ballistics

Alice Hoffman – The Red Garden

Daniel Okrent – Last Call

2009-2010 SEASON

Nancy Horan – Loving Frank

Vince Flynn – Pursuit of Honor

Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge

Michael Gross – Rogues’ Gallery

Julia Glass – I See You Everywhere

Author Vaddey Ratner with Gail Bradley, board member, at Arizona Biltmore Resort in 2014.

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