THE HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE — 1991

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An excerpt from the upcoming book by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook  — Words of Wisdom from Thirty Years of Literary Excellence 1973 – 2003

On January 7th – Saddam Hussein prepared his troops for what he said would be a long violent war against the United States and on January 8th “Davis Rules” with Jonathan Winters & Randy Quaid premiered on ABC-TV.

On January 10th US Congress began its debate on the Persian Gulf crisis and on January 11th – Congress empowered George Bush Sr. to order attack on Iraq following up on January 12th by giving Bush authority to wage war against Iraq. Operation Desert Storm began against Saddam Hussein on January 17th.

On March 3rd the Los Angeles Police severely beat motorist Rodney King, which was captured on amateur video and on March 15th Four Los Angeles, California police officers were indicted for the videotaped March 3rd beating of motorist Rodney King during an arrest.

From thirty-six students at the Cate School in 1973, the students attending the 19th Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference now numbered 300 plus, 60% of whom were returnees and 26 faculty members. All the elements that made the conference a premiere event were coordinated by Mary Conrad, assisted by her cadre of volunteers.

A late addition to the conference was Joseph Wambaugh, The Onion Field, The Blue Knight, and many others. Returning speakers included Elmore Leonard, Cat Chaser, 52 Pick-Up, Killshot, Get Shorty, and others, and longtime SBWC favorite Sue Grafton, A is for Alibi, and the rest of her alphabet series, and perennial favorite Charles (Sparky) Schulz.

Before introducing Ray Bradbury on Friday night, Barnaby Conrad read a few examples of what could be submissions for the annual “Worst Opening Sentence” contest which was open to all conference attendees.

He’d always hated being bound and gagged…”

The sun rose slowly, like a fiery fur ball coughed up uneasily onto a sky-blue carpet by a giant unseen cat…”

While the riddle of the long intestine cannot be unraveled here, we can at least allude to the romance of digestion…”

The sun fought like a tiger to escape from its cage of dark clouds and finally emerged gently as a lamb, bestowing its soft warmth upon Leanne, her golden hair blown by the wind which swept across the high, rocky hill overlooking her ancestral home, once threatened by fire and flood, now owned by the man who killed her father, raped her grandmother, and was soon to become her husband.”

Arguably, only Ray Bradbury could comfortably follow Barnaby at his best, and Ray started the 19th SBWC lecturing on “Tomorrow the Universe.” In the welcoming Write Right On! Jan Curran quoted from Bradbury’s book, A Complete Guide to Writing Fiction:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that Gold ever turned out and rambling…You must write every single day of your life…I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you…may you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories…may you be in love for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

1991 news 23

Joe Wambaugh and Chuck Champlin

Joe Wambaugh and Chuck Champlin

1991 news 41

1991 news 29

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May 27 Newsletter

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The Santa Barbara Writers Conference: June 5-10, 2016

June 5-10, 2016
SwirlSBWC 2016: June 5-10, Hyatt Santa Barbara
We still have some spaces left at this year’s conference, so if you have not already registered, here are five reasons to attend SBWC 2016 
1. Our student to faculty ratio is excellent.  Connect with mentors and authors and get feedback on your stories in more than twenty daily workshops. Before Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man and Practical Demonkeeping, Fannie Flagg and Christopher Moore were SBWC students workshopping in some of these very same classes.
2. Enjoy the American Riviera. Spend some time at the beach across the street and write the Great American Novel in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.3. Learn how to pitch your book, and then slyly or forcefully practice on the agents and editors we have corralled for the wine and cheese party by the pool on Tuesday, June 7th.4. Sip late-night coffee and develop your voice in one of our 9 p.m. pirate workshops. T. S. Eliot famously said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”

5. Begin a friendship to last a lifetime with someone who truly understands your passion. Ray Bradbury told us in 2008, “You learn writing by writing every day and by having good friends surrounding you who love you and love writing as much as you do.”

And if that isn’t enough to convince you to sign up today, here’s a few more reasons to attend:

  • Hear five talented and inspiring evening speakers including Rufi Thorpe whose newest book, Dear Fang, With Love got an Oprah nod.
  • Attend dynamic and informative panels and afternoon speakers on topics ranging from how to market your book once published to how to navigate the sometimes rough road to publication.
  • Join our afternoon poetry readings.
  • Schedule 10-minute agent pitch sessions for only $25.
  • Attend a pool-side wine and cheese party where you can chat visiting agents up about your project.

Our 44th Year!

Snoopy

“A most stimulating time—a glorious week!”
— Eudora Welty

“The best in the nation.”
— James A. Michener

“An important and wonderful week.”
— Elmore Leonard

“SBWC offers aspiring talents opportunities to have their work seen by professionals who can help them reach publication.”
— Los Angeles Times

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Register now for only $650That cost includes two full banquet dinners (opening and closing night), awards ceremony, agent meetings, more than 20 different workshops, afternoon panels, a talent show on the last day (where attendees can show off other talents besides writing) and much, much more. 
 
Write On!
Grace Rachow and Erin Munsch
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THE HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE — 1990

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An excerpt from the upcoming book by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook  — Words of Wisdom from Thirty Years of Literary Excellence 1973 – 2003

The 18th Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference welcomed new speakers including author, composer, musician, comedian, television and radio personality Steve Allen; new book panelist Monte Shultz for Down by the River, Ella Leffland Looking for Goring, Joan Quigley, President and Mrs. Reagan’s astrologer, and Amy Tan The Joy Luck Club. The conference also featured two tributes; one for Gore Vidal and another for John Hersey.

Plans for the SBWC took a few detours because of the infamous Painted Cave Fire which was later renamed the Painted Fire which raged throughout the week of the conference, endangering homes and closing highways. Barnaby Conrad went missing in action on his errand to pick up Gore Vidal from the Santa Barbara Airport due to road closures. Gore and Barnaby had to drive north, spending the night and dining in Buellton, to the surprise and pleasure of North County residents. Although one fan introduced himself saying, “How do you do, Mr. Asimov? I’ve read all your books,” mistaking Vidal for science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.  Thankfully, word of their North County exploits calmed Santa Barbara Conference attendee’s fear of the worst while flames from the fire continued to light the night sky and smoke filled the daylight hours.

When the durable duo finally returned to the Miramar hotel, at the opening of the Gore Vidal Tribute the author began with an amusing, low-key imitation of Ronald Reagan, followed by the comment, “I’m here because I would say Barnaby is the world’s greatest blackmailer!”

Before leaving the stage he also announced, “I go from here to what is left of the left—Berkeley!”

Regarding his recent sojourn in Mississippi where he was shooting a five-day documentary about his family, most of whom he’d never met, “I’ve never seen so many variations of my nose!”

It seemed as if every sentence of his ended with an exclamation point.

Artie Shaw returned as a speaker and was in fine fettle, imparting his own brand of wisdom. Said the former Abraham Isaac Arshawsky, who was raised in poverty on New York’s lower East Side:

“What’s so hard about divorce? You just pack a bag and call a cab.”

On marriage to Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, and his eight marriages: “All those were, were legalized love affairs. You should have seen the women I didn’t marry!”

On talent and fame: “Talent is a form of obsession. Talented people are not pleasant.”

And his four rules of life: “Show up, get along, have fun, and don’t get caught.”

1990 news 2

1990 news 15

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SBWC Writing Contest Winners Announced

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SBWC 2016: June 5-10, Hyatt Santa Barbara
Dear Writers,Thank you to those of you who entered our Annual Writing Contest. 

After reviewing more than 250 entries from all over the United States, we’d like to congratulate our 3 winners and 2 runners-up.

The following individuals won a full or partial tuition scholarship to this year’s conference, June 5-10. You can read their winning entries on our SBWC blog in a few days.

Winners: Full Scholarships to SBWC 2016

Melanie Howard
Wanda Maureen Miller
Sharon Brown 

Honorable Mentions: Partial Scholarships to SBWC 2016

Sophie Berti
Anita Perez Ferguson

We appreciate every writer who took a chance and submitted their writing to be considered. We know that is a small act of bravery.

There were many excellent entries, but the above writers were the ones who this time around rose to the top.

Congratulations, all.

10-minute Pitch Sessions with Agents and Editors

One perk of this year’s conference is the 10-minute pitch sessions. Many writers who didn’t have a polished five pages to send into agents for Advanced Submission can still get a chance to meet with an agent or editor to pitch their book or project.

Registered attendees can sign up to meet with as many agents/editors as desired depending on availability. Don’t wait too long since spots are filling up fast.

Sign up here for only $25 once you are registered for the full conference. Check out the agents’ bios here.

The 44th Annual Santa Barbara Writers Conference will be kicking off in almost two weeks and we are looking forward to another wonderful year.

If you haven’t yet registered, visit our website: www.sbwriters.com.

Our 44th Year!

Snoopy

“A most stimulating time—a glorious week!”
— Eudora Welty

“The best in the nation.”
— James A. Michener

“An important and wonderful week.”
— Elmore Leonard

“SBWC offers aspiring talents opportunities to have their work seen by professionals who can help them reach publication.”
— Los Angeles Times

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our rss feed to your reader
Write On!
Grace Rachow and Erin Munsch“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” — Ernest Hemingway

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SBWC 2016 Writing Contest Winners Named

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Thank you to those of you who entered our SBWC Annual Writing Contest.

After reviewing more than 250 entries from all over the United States, we’d like to congratulate our 3 winners and 2 runners-up.

The following individuals won a full or partial tuition scholarship to this year’s conference, June 5-10. You can read their winning entries on our SBWC blog in a few days.

Winners: Full Tuition Scholarships to SBWC 2016

Melanie Howard

Wanda Maureen Miller

Sharon Brown

Honorable Mentions: Partial Tuition Scholarships to SBWC 2016

Sophie Berti

Anita Perez Ferguson

We appreciate every writer who took a chance and submitted their writing to be considered. We know that is a small act of bravery.

There were many excellent entries, but the above writers were the ones who this time around rose to the top.

Congratulations, all.

An e-newsletter will follow with this information and more.

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THE HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE — 1989

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An excerpt from the upcoming book by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook  — Words of Wisdom from Thirty Years of Literary Excellence 1973 – 2003

On Thursday night at the 1989 SBWC, Charles Champlin, The Movies Grow Up—1940-80 and Back There Where the Past Was, long time editor at the Los Angeles Times and beloved SBWC workshop leader was billed as the featured speaker in the SBWC mailings, but decided to share the stage with Joseph Wambaugh, author of The Onion Field, The New Centurians, Echoes in the Darkness, etc., a late addition to the Conference.

Barnaby said in his introduction, Chuck Champlin coined the phrase “I love this conference. Its become the punctuation of my life.” Champlin himself endorsed the phrase when he spoke, talking about the aloneness of writing. He said his endorsement of the SBWC was heartfelt because at this stage of his life, he valued the authenticity and craft of writing, and the opportunity to rub shoulders with fellow spirits.

Champlin spoke in a homespun singsong voice reminiscent of Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, bringing alive a time when telephone numbers were WJ5, and bicycles were the main form of transportation around town.

He finished his remarks saying, “I wish you ongoing success with your compulsions, which I share.”

Joe Wambaugh and Chick Champlin

Joe Wambaugh and Chuck Champlin

In his introduction of Joseph Wambaugh, Barnaby Conrad said Wambaugh was quoted as saying “All my wrinkles are on the inside,” in response to a lady’s flattery, and why not, as he was a veteran of fourteen years on the Los Angeles police force.

A special treat for the audience, Wambaugh’s “lecture” took the form of being interviewed by Barnaby Conrad and questions from the audience. For his part, Barny asked how and why Wambaugh wrote alternately fiction and non-fiction.

“Because I can’t always come up with a fiction idea,” he said, Wambaugh sometimes wrote “true crime” stories. Another benefit of writing non-fiction was his comfort level with stumping for those works.

“I was able to publicize The Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders,” he said, “because it was a true story, and I wasn’t promoting my own idea.” It was the first time one of his books had been publicized in years.

“When I write a novel, a lot of things change, I go back and forth with my editor,” he continued. Not so much with non-fiction.

Regarding the movies made from his works, he said, “the only one I didn’t like was The Choir Boys. It was a rotten, lousy, sleazy, disgusting movie.” Perhaps it was this kind of attitude that contributed to his reputation among some in Hollywood, but he said he was a much more mature and sober man these days.

Writing for Wambaugh was a means to express a creative energy that plagued him in his adult life. He began with short stories sent to magazines that would pay a penny a word. One story he even sent off to Playboy twice over the space of a year.

“And some cruel bastard at Playboy sent it back, writing, ‘Its no better this time than it was the last!’”

He said that writing while working as a policeman was something he never talked about at work, “and my short stories never sold, to this day!” He also said he believes his first novels were clumsy and somewhat amateurish, perhaps because he first wrote novels as a moonlighting cop—in his mind. Instead of as a writer should write.

He couldn’t say enough about his editor, someone who he’s worked with since The Onion Field. “If you are lucky enough to have an editor, never let her go.” He credits his editor as half the reason for his success in writing subsequent novels.

The other half of his success he attributes to leaving the LAPD.

Barnaby Conrad and Joseph Wambaugh

Barnaby Conrad and Joseph Wambaugh

 

 

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SBWC Events Open to the Public — Tickets $10 at the Door

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Click on image for full size.2016schedule_ad-8

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Aline Ohanesian at SBWC June 8 @ 7:30 PM, $10 at the door

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OhanesianAline creditRaffi Hadidian

Aline Ohanesian is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Orhan’s Inheritance, which was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, a Summer 2015 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a April 2014 Indie Next pick. The novel was also a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Award for Socially Engaged Fiction.

Aline was born in Kuwait and immigrated to Southern California at the age of three. After getting her MA in History, she abandoned her PhD studies when she realized her heart belonged to the novel. She is an alumna of the Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley writers conferences. She lives and writes in San Juan Capistrano, California, with her husband and two young sons.

Photography credit: Raffia Hadidian

AlineOhanesian.com

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Location, Location, Location!

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Hyatt with ocean-2I am not saying that we writers at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference are on the roof of the Santa Barbara Hyatt that often, but if we were, this is what we would see. We spend the week of the conference right at the edge of the Pacific viewing palm trees and sailboats–a perfect place for inspiration. For more information or to register: sbwriters.com

 

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10-Minute Pitch Sessions with Agents June 7, 2016

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_DSC0599We are about to sell out appointments with Annie Hwang and Corinna Barsan. If you want an appointment with one of these two agents, register on line today.

https://www.sbwriters.com/advpitch.php

Get more information at the above link as well. 

What is a pitch session?

This is a 10-minute personal meeting with an agent or an editor in which you “pitch” your book project. For nonfiction writers, a pitch session is an oral proposal in which you lay out the basic idea of your project and its structure in the hopes of piquing the agent’s interest. If you write fiction, you will pitch the idea of your novel to an agent with the goal of interesting the agent to see your manuscript.

 Pitch Session Fees:

The cost for each 10-minute pitch session is $25 dollars. There is no manuscript involved, but you may bring a 1-page query letter or synopsis that you could leave with the agent upon the agent’s request.  https://www.sbwriters.com/advpitch.php

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