William Bernhardt is the author of over sixty books, including The Last Chance Lawyer (#1 National Bestseller), the historical novels Challengers of the Dust and Nemesis, three books of poetry, and the Red Sneaker books on writing. In addition, Bernhardt founded WriterCon Programs to mentor aspiring authors. He hosts an annual conference (WriterCon), an annual cruise, small-group writing retreats, a magazine for writers, and the WriterCon newsletter and podcast.
Bernhardt has received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award, the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award (University of Pennsylvania) and the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award (Oklahoma State), which is given "in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large." In 2019, he received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
In addition Bernhardt has written plays, a musical (book and score), humor, children stories, biography, and puzzles. He has edited two anthologies (Legal Briefs and Natural Suspect) as fundraisers for The Nature Conservancy and the Children’s Legal Defense Fund, and has also raised funds for Safe Haven animal shelters. In his spare time, he has enjoyed surfing, digging for dinosaurs, trekking through the Himalayas, paragliding, scuba diving, caving, zip-lining over the canopy of the Costa Rican rain forest, and jumping out of an airplane at 10,000 feet.
In 2017, when Bernhardt delivered the keynote address at the San Francisco Writers Conference, chairman Michael Larsen noted that in addition to penning novels, Bernhardt can “write a sonnet, play a sonata, plant a garden, try a lawsuit, teach a class, cook a gourmet meal, beat you at Scrabble, and work the New York Times crossword in under five minutes.”