The Literary Ladies Luncheon got its start in Charlottesville, VA, in 1996, when Susan Tyler Hitchcock asked Bella Stander, who had just moved from Maine, to lunch. Susan brought along Deborah Sussman Susser, who years previously had lived two doors down from Bella in New York's Little Italy--though neither had ever seen each other. (Their tenements even shared a boiler. Small world, huh?) The three started meeting for lunch more or less monthly. Susan and Deborah started asking other women writers to come.
There were some hiccups: Deborah moved to Arizona, and the lunches stopped for nearly a year because so few people showed up. But Susan and Bella rallied, and the LLL became bigger and better than ever. Under Bella's benevolent dictatorship as Social Secretary (she was the only one willing to organize the lunches and the mailing list), the LLL grew to more than 40.
Bella moved to Denver at the end of 2005 and Janis Jaquith took over as Social Secretary. Now Bella is organizing an LLL chapter in Denver.