Register to attend the 2017 S.B. Writers Conference

Start clean and simple. Don’t try to write pretty or noble or big. Try to say just what you mean. This is hard because you have to find out what you mean, and that’s work, real work. (Gertrude Stein)

- Rebecca Robins

Swirl2016 Speakers

Admission to the evening speakers is included for all registered attendees. The events are also open to the public for $10 at the door. Ticket sales open at 7 p.m. each evening. All talks will be given at the Hyatt Santa Barbara in the El Cabrillo room.

Rufi Thorpe

Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. 

Rufi ThorpeRufi Thorpe received her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2009. Her first novel, The Girls from Corona del Mar, was long-listed for the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize and for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. Her second novel, Dear Fang, With Love is forthcoming from Knopf May 2016. She lives in California with her husband and sons.


Gayle Lynds

Monday, June 6, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Gayle LyndsNew York Times best-selling author Gayle Lynds is the award-winning writer of ten international political novels. Her latest one, The Assassins, won the 2015 Founder’s Award for best novel from MWSA, the Military Society of America. Publishers Weekly lists her book Masquerade among the top ten spy novels of all time. The London Observer calls her a kick-ass thriller writer. Library Journal hails her as “the reigning queen of espionage fiction.” Lee Child says she’s “today’s best espionage writer.” The Associated Press calls her a “master of the Modern Cold War spy thriller.”

Gayle began her writing career as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, where her investigative reporting made such an impact that it led to changes in state legislation. Later she was an editor with rare Top Secret security clearance at a government think tank, where assorted shadowy figures passed through, and not only ideas but people seemed to bounce off the walls. She was inspired. Soon she began writing literary short stories, which were published in literary journals, and at the same time in what some considered schizophrenic, she also wrote male pulp novels in the Nick Carter and Mack Bolan series. Her books have been People Magazine Page-Turner of the Week and Beach Read of the Week. Her novel, Mosaic, won the Thriller of the Year award from RT magazine. Mesmerized was voted fan favorite by Affaire de Coeur magazine. The Last Spymaster was named Novel of the Year by MWSA and Best Novel by the American Association of Authors. Library Journal “strongly recommends” her books.

With Robert Ludlum, she created the Covert-One series, one of which, The Hades Factor, was a CBS miniseries. A member of the Association of Former Intelligence officers, she is cofounder (with David Morrell) and former copresident of International Thriller Writers and helped create ThrillerFest, which occurs every July in New York City. She moved to Maine from Santa Barbara in 2011 to join her new husband, John C. Sheldon, a retired Maine judge, with whom she has collaborated on three short stories and a literary essay. They live with two geriatric cats among fourteen acres of trees outside Portland, perfect for long walks and enjoyable days writing.

F. Paul Wilson

Tuesday, June, 7 at 7:30 p.m.

F. Paul WilsonF. Paul Wilson was born and raised in New Jersey where he misspent his youth playing with matches, poring over Uncle Scrooge and E.C. comics, reading Lovecraft, Matheson, Bradbury, and Heinlein, listening to Chuck Berry and Alan Freed on the radio, and watching Soupy Sales and Shock Theatre with Zacherley.

He is the author of more than forty books in different genres—science fiction (Healer, Wheels Within Wheels, An Enemy of the State), horror thrillers: (The Keep, The Tomb and The Touch)), contemporary thrillers (The Select, Implant, Deep as the Marrow), novels that defy categorization (The Fifth Harmonic and Virgin) and a number of collaborations. In 1998 he resurrected his popular antihero, Repairman Jack, and has chronicled his adventures in Legacies, Conspiracies, All the Rage, among others. He has peeked into Jack’s teenage life in the young adult novels, Jack: Secret Circles, and Jack: Secret Vengeance.

Most of his short stories are collected in Soft & Others (1989), The Barrens & Others (1998), and Aftershock & Others. Plus, a collection of Repairman Jack short stories in Quick Fixes. He has edited two anthologies and has written for stage, screen, and interactive media.

His novelette Aftershock won the 1999 Bram Stoker Award for short fiction. Dydeetown World was on the young adult recommended reading lists of the American Library Association and the New York Public Library, among others. He was awarded the prestigious Inkpot Award from the San Diego Comic-Con and the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention. He is listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who’s Who in America.

His novel The Keep was made into a visually striking but otherwise incomprehensible movie (screenplay and direction by Michael Mann) by Paramount in 1983. The Tomb is in development as “Repairman Jack” by Beacon Films and (we hope) will not suffer a similar fate. His original teleplay “Glim-Glim” aired on Monsters in 1989. An adaptation of his short story “Ménage a Trois” was part of the pilot for “The Hunger” series that debuted on Showtime in July 1997. “Pelts” was adapted by Dario Argento for Masters of Horror.

Aline Ohanesian

Wednesday, June, 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Aline OhanesianAline 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

Gerald DiPego, Afternoon Speaker: Ten Writing Tips from the Trenches

Thursday, June 9 at 4 PM

Gerald DiPegoGerald DiPego is the author of five novels, including Cheevey and Keeper of the City, and 33 produced screenplays, including “Sharky’s Machine,” “Phenomenon,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Instinct,” “The Forgotten,” “Angel Eyes,” and “Words and Pictures.” 

His new book is a personal, conversational text on creative writing, and is available now at most e-book retailers.  For more information about DiPego and his work, visit:

Monte Schulz

Thursday, June, 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Monte SchulzMonte Schulz has a Master's Degree in American studies at UCSB and has published six novels, his most recent being Crossing Eden, a great American novel of the Jazz Age. Since 2010 he's been the owner of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and has taught a class in voice and style at the SBWC since 2001, and at UCSB in 2013 and 2014. He is also a composer/songwriter with an album out worldwide: "Seraphonium - After Many a Summer." His father was the cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.