The 49th Biennial Conference of the NLAPW, Inc.
April 19-22, 2018
in Des Moines, Iowa

Register now



It’s Happening in Des Moines, Iowa!

Imagine a city with innovative arts and culture that focuses on using arts as a catalyst to create unprecedented community engagement. By linking the three components of artists, audiences, and environment, it fosters and grows a diverse and vibrant arts and culture scene.

Laura Walth, 2018 Biennial Chair

This is happening in Des Moines, Iowa, host of the 49th Biennial!

The theme is “We Are What We Create.” Des Moines has certainly proved to be that catalyst in the 26 years since my husband and I moved to Iowa from New York.

Celebrate 121 years of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. and 79 years of the Des Moines Branch. Visit the Des Moines Art Center, Governor’s Mansion, and Meredith Publishing. Join us at Hoyt Sherman for our music Awards Program and tour this historic building.

Come see for yourself what this midwest city has accomplished. Stay at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown at a reduced rate.

You can contact me at biennialchair@nlapw.org for more information.



Preview: 49th Biennial Speakers, Highlights, and Schedule

49th Biennial Registration Form


The Des Moines Social Club





Site of the 49th NLAPW Biennial:

Des Moines, Iowa





Awards in
Art, Letters and Music Members National Competitions!

2018 Biennial Competitions page




We are accepting submissions for ads for the NLAPW, Inc. 2018 Biennial program. Share your expertise, products and services with your fellow Pen Women!

DEADLINE for payment and camera-ready ads is February 9 March 10, 2018.

Details: Biennial Program advertising form UPDATED

Make your plans now!

Iowa State Capitol

Featured attractions in Des Moines, Iowa

Wednesday, April 18, 2018



Stop by the historic Hoyt Sherman auditorium at 12:30 PM for the Des Moines Women’s Club scholarship winner’s presentation for their works of art, music, and writing. Tour this amazing historical building that was restored with the help of the Des Moines Women’s Club (founded in 1885).

Des Moines Art Center



  • State Historical Museum
  • John and Mary PappajohnSculpture Park
  • Mainframe Studios (a nonprofitaffordable art space for local artists)
  • Meredith Corporation (publisher of Better Homes and Gardens, etc.)
  • Des Moines Botanical Gardens
  • Salisbury House (inspired by the King’s House in Salisbury, England, the Salisbury House is to Des Moines what the Frick Museum is to New York.)
  • Des Moines Art Center (includes artworks by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe, and Henri Matisse)
  • Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion
  • Valley Junction in West Des Moines
  • East Village shops and restaurants
  • Court Avenue restaurants
  • Des Moines Public Library art gallery on the second floor (open until 8:00 PM)

Sculpture Park

Sightseeing in Des Moines:

The Des Moines Civic Center is featuring the Broadway musical Les Misérables at 7:30 PM April 18th.

Check out other sights in Des Moines.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Be there early for the opening ceremony and the announcement of the National President’s Prestigious Pen Woman award. Following the ceremony, Brigadier General Clara Adams Ender will moderate “Swimming Upstream: How the Arts Can Promote Mental Health,” a panel of Pen Women who will share their life experiences of how creativity improved their lives. Open to all attendees.

Letters Luncheon Overcoming Obstacles on the Way to Success (Keynote Speaker, General Clara Adams-Ender, Letters) Be sure to catch the Vinnie Ream Awards, dramatic presentation, and banquet that evening, included in your confer- ence registration fee.

We Are What We Create Workshops!

Select from:

  1. Six Stages of a Career by former National President Candace Long;
  2. The Power of Letter Writing by Dorothy Atkins;
  3. The Line Between Pop Song Writing & Classical Composition, by Nancy Bloomer Deussen;
  4. Using Fiction Techniques to Bring Your Nonfiction to Life by Joyce K. Ellis;
  5. Encaustic Art (hot wax painting) by Bev Goldie;
  6. Step into your Full Creativity as you Overcome Self-doubt by Gail Speckmann;
  7. Beginning Genealogy: How to Get Started the Right Way by Sheila M. Byrnes;
  8. Publicity 101: PR Nuts and Bolts for Branches, presented by Rodika Tollefson and Kathleen Powers-Vermaelen.

Additional workshops will be offered.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Hoy Sherman building

Business meeting, lunch on your own, then meet at Hoyt Sherman from 1:30-3:30 PM for the Music Winners’ concert and Tea Reception sponsored by the Des Moines Women’s Club and the Des Moines Branch.

2018 Biennial gallery space t the Des Moines Social Club. Photo by Gail Speckmann.

Friday evening at 5:30 PM, attend the Des Moines Social Club Gallery to see and hear about the winning works of the National Art Biennial competition (open to the public until 8:45 PM).

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 2018

Professional Development and additional We Are What We Create Saturday Workshops!

Dana Smith performs ambient Lyra


Read about feature speakers and additional details for Saturday and Sunday: 49th Biennial in The Pen Woman, Winter 2018, pages 4 and 5:

2018 Biennial speakers
2018 Biennial_Schedule of Events




A personal note from our Chairwoman: 

Laura Walth, 2018 Biennial Chair

Attending the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. 48th Biennial in Washington, DC, changed my mind and my life. I was so close to dropping out of this organization that I asked the Des Moines Branch if they would cover my registration fee, so I could see for myself why I want to remain a member of NLAPW, Inc.

It was the workshops and connecting with the other members at the luncheons that made me excited to be a member of this organization of creative women. The concerts were also very inspiring.

What changed my life was when Virginia Franklin Campbell asked if I would consider being the National Librarian, and when I declined that position she offered me a position as the Outreach Chair for National, which I wanted to accept.  As excited as I was, I knew my husband would not like the idea of me spending money to attend board meetings. As some of you know, that was one of my concerns as well. That’s when I discovered Where there’s a will, there’s a way! really works. He saw my desire and supported my decision to be involved at the National level.

This experience is so exciting that I am willing to learn from the past, focus on the future, and use the present to accomplish our mission. I’m having so much fun with this, it’s hard to stop thinking about all the possibilities. As a result, our Des Moines branch is gaining new members.

This will be the first time the biennial has been held in the Midwest. It’s my hope that more members discover the value of their membership and have the will to find a way to attend the National League of American Pen Women’s 49th Biennial in Des Moines, Iowa, from April 19th through April 22nd, 2018.


Contact me for more information : biennialchair@nlapw.org.