THE HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE — 1992

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

sbwc-history-front-coverRay Bradbury spoke on Friday night about belief in oneself and to never lose faith. “When you make your first sale you need to celebrate, because it may be a year before you make another.”

He told how as a boy he opened an envelope on the lawn of his mother’s house and let out a yell when he read a letter telling him of his first sale. “My mother and I hugged each other and danced around the yard!” he said. For which he received a free subscription to the magazine.

He didn’t make another sale for more than a year.

Ray said that when his family moved to Los Angeles he was thirteen years old and he discovered the places in local museums where Hollywood memorabilia was housed. He searched out those places and wrote letters to cartoonists, pulp fiction writers, and the people who made magic in B movies, and he spent hours and days reading stories about everything, haunting the libraries.

He said he didn’t go to college. “I went to libraries, and I stayed there,” he said. “And when I was 27 years old I graduated from the library!”

He also spoke about his time in Ireland with movie director John Huston, who was filming his classic “Moby Dick.” As he told the story behind Green Shadows, White Whale, writer Bradbury painted a picture of his time in Ireland chasing Huston’s dream of an epic screenplay worthy of the concept in the director’s mind. Waving his arms and drawing out the pub owner and cab driver from the pages of his novel and memory he filled the auditorium with images of Irish fog, warm Guinness, and cold rain.

He got the gig, writing the screenplay for Moby Dick, when John Huston invited him to his hotel in Los Angeles and asked, “Well Ray, what are you doing for the next year?” When Ray answered, “nothing,” Huston continued, “Well, tell you what. Why don’t you go home tonight, read as much as you can of the book [Moby Dick], come back tomorrow and help me kill the white whale?”

Bradbury did go home and said to his wife, “Maggie, pray for me. I have to read a book tonight and give a book report in the morning.”

1992-news-2

 

 

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November Newsletter

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JUNE 18-23, 2017
Early Bird Registration
A Perfect Holiday Gift to Yourself

$575–full conference for all six days!
Through February 15 Register here.

Improve your craft. Find your tribe.
Make lifelong connections.

The Santa Barbara Writers Conference will reconvene June 18 – 23 at the charming, beachside Santa Barbara Hyatt.

We’ll have agents, afternoon panels, 20 daily writing workshops, two banquets and an ocean view cocktail party.

Guest speakers include:
Fannie Flagg, David Brin, Armando Lucas Correa, Lesley M. M. Blume, and Tracy Daugherty.

Since its origins in 1972, SBWC has given writers an oasis of time, place and focus to hone craft and connect with mentors, agents and publishers.

A few of America’s influential writers who have spoken at SBWC:
Ray Bradbury, Eudora Welty, James Michener, Charles M. Schulz, and Elmore Leonard.

We invite you to be a part of this ongoing literary legacy.

Registration is open now.

We look forward to seeing you June 18-23, 2017.

Grace Rachow
SBWC Director

Our 45th Year!
“The answer to all writing is love.”
— Ray Bradbury

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

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

“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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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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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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