First language (L1) transfer has been a key issue in the field of applied linguistics, second language acquisition (SLA), and language pedagogy for almost a century. Its importance, however, has been re-evaluated several times within the last few decades. The aim of this paper is to examine current research that has investigated the role of L1 transfer in second language (L2) writing. The paper begins by discussing the different views of L1 transfer and how they have changed over time and then reviews some of the major studies that have examined the role of L1 transfer both as a learning tool and as a communicative strategy in L2 writing. The paper concludes with a number of suggestions for L2 writing instruction and future research.