The Authors Guild has announced an ambitious plan to open at least 14 regional chapters across the U.S. this year that will host a variety of programs serving members in their local writing communities.

“We’ve long felt that providing a supportive community of writers is an essential part of our mission as a membership organization,” said the Guild’s executive director Mary Rasenberger in a statement. “As we continue to grow nationally, with members spread across the country, it is vital that we give writers opportunities to engage with one another in person at the local level.”

As part of the rollout, the Guild has selected 28 members to serve as ambassadors to lead the first group of chapters, in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Bay Area, Washington, D.C., St. Petersburg/Tampa, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Raleigh-Durham, Las Vegas, New York City, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Seattle. With financial and administrative support from the Guild’s home office, the ambassadors will design events and programs suited to the needs of Guild members in their cities and neighborhoods.

The Guild plans to create additional chapters in other areas in the coming year.

According to the Guild, the inaugural chapters are located in metropolitan areas where the association already has large numbers of members so that it can reach as many authors as possible in the initial rollout.

The next round of chapters will include a group of mid-sized cities and smaller communities for which the Guild has already received well-developed proposals. Ambassadors will commit to hosting multiple events per year, ranging from professional and educational panels to social gatherings.

The first such program, a panel titled “The Business of Being a Writer,” will take place on June 24 at Cameron Village Regional Library in Raleigh, N.C.