Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Teaches Poetry June 16-21


Working toward a publishable draft of an original poem

1:00-3:30 PM
RM 270

Each day we will start by an indepth craft class in which we will look at poems in which a specific aspect of craft is used to great effect, and we’ll discuss that in group. We will also workshop participants’ poems — on a first come, first serve basis. I will offer some useful revision tricks as well.  Bring your love for poetry, your sense of humor, one poem (12 copies) that needs help, and TLC — you’ll get it all in this workshop! 

Laure-Anne Bosselaar is the author of The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, of Small Gods of Grief, winner of the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry, and of A New Hunger selected as a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Sungold Editions published her chapbook Rooms Remembered.   Her latest collection These Many Rooms was published by Four Way Books in early 2019.  She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, and the editor of four anthologies.  She taught at Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, briefly at UCSB, and is a member of the core faculty at the Solstice Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. As Santa Barbara’s new Poet Laureate, she is planning many poetry craft classes, workshops, readings and other events with the generous support of the Santa Barbara Public Library.  

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Trey Dowell Teaches Everything You Need to Know About Query Letters on June 19

Trey Dowell

The Art of the Query

1:00-3:30 PM
El Cabrillo

A brilliant 300-page novel is meaningless unless the writer can entice someone into reading page one. Whether pursing an agent or submitting directly to a publisher, your chances of success depend heavily on one thing: the query letter.

This session will focus on the art of querying—sparking curiosity, building anticipation, and channeling a reader’s energy into page one of your book. We’ll discuss proven query strategies and methods, along with some of the mistakes writers often make. We’ll also dissect real-world queries that worked, and talk about the elements that made them succeed. This will be an interactive hands-on class, so feel free to bring your own work-in-progress query—we’ll read them aloud and workshop.

Trey Dowell is proud graduate of the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference and he resides in Saint Louis Missouri, working feverishly on more novel


Wylene Wisby Dunbar Teaches the Hidden Truth of Fiction

The Hidden Truth of Fiction


Monday - Friday
9:00-11:30 AM
El Monte

There is as much, if not more, truth in good fiction than any other written text. The more there is, the better the work and it’s not about the research. This seminar uses discussion, critique and exercises to help you learn how to find the truth beneath the surface in your own writing.

My advice for writers who have never attended SBWC is to relax and enjoy everything. You don’t actually have to take anyone’s advice or, for that matter, accept their criticism but do try to make the input useful to you

Wylene Wisby Dunbar is the author of Margaret Cape (winner of MIAL Best Fiction award)  and My Life with Corpses. She has a third novel in progress.


Travel Writer Extraordinaire, Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr., teaches Travel Writing at SBWC

Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr.

Travel Writing

9:00-11:30 AM
RM 269

Learn how to write an engaging, lively travel piece – and by extension any nonfiction story for publication – through a carefully structured series of lessons and exercises. You’ll discover how to organize your raw material into a story, create scenes and descriptions, and come up with sentences and words that pop off the page.

Travel writing gives you a lifelong education in everything from architecture to zoology, and opens up a richer, deeper life for you — and your readers. My workshop takes a systematic approach for maximum learning; I recommend you come on the first day, but you’re welcome any time.

Jerry Camarillo Dunn, Jr. is a nonfiction and travel writer whose credits include more than 600 articles and 11 books, among them travel guides for National Geographic and the Smithsonian. His popular book My Favorite Place on Earth (Nat Geo), features 75 remarkable people — from the Dalai Lama to Jane Goodall to Jerry Seinfeld


The Seven Deadly Sins of Novel Writing Taught by Gar Anthony Haywood

Gar Anthony Haywood

The Seven Deadly Sins of Novel Writing

There are many ways to write a novel badly, but this course will teach you how to avoid and eliminate the Seven Deadly Sins that all-too many writers make that stand in the way of an agent or editor accepting your manuscript

9:00-11:30 AM
Vista II

Through written exercises and open discussions of your work with the entire class, you will learn: - Where to start your story for the greatest possible impact, so that a reader is hooked by page one. - The delicate science of air-tight plotting. (No loopholes, gaps in logic, or cheating allowed.) - How to create central and peripheral characters unique to your vision and voice, no matter how overly-familiar their literary models may seem to be. - The difference between “realism” and “believability,” and how to do your research accordingly. - Where and when to cut the fat in your manuscript for a leaner, more satisfying read. - The importance of natural yet informative dialogue. (Hint: Exclamation marks should be doled out like drinking water on a lifeboat. Because real people don’t talk like this!)

Gar Anthony Haywood, is the Shamus and Anthony award-winning author of numerous short stories and twelve crime novels, including detective serials, stand-alone thrillers, and two “comic cozies.”


Mary Penney Hershey will Teach Writing for Children at SBWC June 16-21

Mary Penney Hershey

Writing for Children

This workshop covers an overview of children's lit as well as an emphasis on working with  each student  to discover their strongest stories.

9:00-11:30 PM
RM 179

Mary Penney Hershey will cover the ABC's of Children's Literature -- with a Few E's and Z's thrown in for the Eager and Zealous

She will offer an overview of the best of children's lit titles and explain the different age-related genres within the children's marketplace. She’ll guide attendees through the journey to publication, addressing writer's groups, classes, conferences, how to target specific agents and editors, and current submission processes. Throughout the workshop, Mary will help students identify their unique "sweet spot" for excavating the best and strongest story.

This workshop also covers selecting and distilling the essence of a strong story idea in a first paragraph or page. Students will select and prepare an arresting story beginning, designed to catch the attention of a busy (read swamped) editor or agent. Students will read first pages with feedback by Mary and other workshop students.

Mary Penney Hershey is an author of five humorous and heartfelt middle grade novels, published with Random House and Harper Collins. Her sixth novel, entitled GREEN EYES & HAM, will be launched Fall of 2019 with editor Kristen Petit of Harper Collins.

Mary holds an undergraduate degree in Child Development and a Master's degree in Education. She is an Army veteran, a certified Personal & Executive Coach, and works full-time at Chaucer's Bookstore in Santa Barbara, where she is frequently instructed to stop drooling on the new releases.

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Melodie Johnson Howe Helps Writers Discover Their Inner Editor

Melodie Johnson Howe

Writing is Rewriting: Discovering Your Inner Editor

Exploration through the process of editing how the writer can develop his or her own critical monitor. Fiction and nonfiction writers welcome

9:00-11:30 AM

It is important that a new writer send in a polished manuscript. With that in mind, students will learn what is important to their work: what keeps pace, suspense, and plot moving and what doesn’t. The writing of novels and nonfiction rely on the same techniques: developing character, using dialogue as action, and creating human tension. Raymond Chandler once said, “When in doubt (as a writer) have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.” Join this workshop and find out how to make that man and that gun real.


Catherine Ann Jones Teaches Two Workshops on Monday June 17

The Way of Story

Integrative approaches to writing narrative

Monday, June 17
9:00-11:30 AM
El Cabrillo

The Way of Story offers an integrative approach to writing narrative—both fiction and nonfiction—including plays, screenplays, short stories, novels, and memoir.“We’ve become lopsided living only in our heads.Writing, in order to serve the soul, must integrate outer craft with the inner world of intuition and feeling.”

Finding Your Voice in Memoir

Memoir and voice

Monday, June 17
1:00-3:30 PM
El Cabrillo

Learn how to research and structure your life story, write three-dimensional characters, and discover your voice.


Nancy Klann Fires up the Senses in her SBWC Fiction Workshop June 17-18

Fire Up the Senses

How to strengthen your fiction

Monday - Tuesday
9:00-11:30 AM
RM 269

This workshop will share techniques on elevating your fiction: How to describe a scene more vividly using sensory details; writing authentic dialogue by getting the author out of the conversation; making setting much more than landscapes and the weather; creating unforgettable characters who will drive your story. 

No matter where you are in your writing progress, trust that you may ask questions in the supportive environment of this workshop. There will be handouts on the subjects covered, and participants may bring work-in-progress to share. The goal is to kick your writing to the next level by exploring the options in the novel toolbox. 

Nancy Klann-Moren is the author of one novel, The Clock of Life, and a collection of short stories, Like Flies on the Patio.  The Clock of Life has received awards from Writers Digest, Next Generation Indie Awards, Readers Favorite Book Awards, Kindle Book Awards and more. 


Award-Winning Poet Marsha de la O will be a Guest in Perie Longo's Workshop

Highly awarded poet, Marsha de la O, has graciously accepted Perie’s invitation to speak at her workshop at 10-11 on Wed. June 19. Marsha will read some of her poems, talk about her process of writing and publishing, as well as make comments on a poem or two of workshop participants. Marsha’s newest book was just published by the Pitt Poetry Series titled Every Ravening Thing. Her previous book, Antidote for Night, was winner of the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award and Black Hope was winner of the New Issures Press Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published extensively, including in the New Yorker and the Kenyon Review.


Perie Longo Helps Poets Craft Their Poems


Crafting of poems that students bring to the “feast of words.”

Monday - Friday
9:00-11:30 AM
RM 270

Perie Longo suggests how to improve specific poems and offers commentary on poetry writing in general, including the structure, emotional content, language, imagery, rhythm, what strengthens a poem, and when it is not working, why. Assignments are given each day. There is some writing in the workshop. Students need to bring typed copies of their poems they want crafted and 10 copies to distribute for workshop participants to also give comments.

Focusing on the importance of language, imagery and figurative speech, structure and rhythm, helps us all say what is difficult to express in a fresh way that lasts after the last line.

As a past Santa Barbara Poet Laureate (2007–2009), Perie Longo learned how poetry is a meaningful link to her community, and that writing about what lives in our backyard often connects us to the wider world in significant ways. Longo has published four books of poetry: Milking The Earth,The Privacy Of Wind,With Nothing Behind But Sky: a journey through grief and Baggage Claim. Nominated for the Pushcart prize three times, her work has appeared in Askew, Atlanta Review, Connecticut Review, International Poetry Review, Miramar, Nimrod, Paterson Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, Quiditty, Rattle, South Carolina Review and several others. Longo is also a contributing poet in several anthologies. She was also a poet in the schools for over twenty-five years and continues to teach privately. As a psychotherapist, she often integrates poetry for healing. In 2005, Longo was invited to the University of Kuwait to speak on Poetry as a Path to Peace and give workshops. She has been teaching poetry with SBWC since 1984 and loves doing so for poets and prose writers alike.


Carmen Madden is Back to Teach Dramatic Fiction

Dramatic Fiction

Effective script writing

Monday - Friday
1:00-3:30 PM
RM 179

This workshop will emphasize how to build your script so that it has smooth continuity, great characters, and tension-filled conflict. Assignments are given each day, and works-in-progress will be read and critiqued.

Carmen Madden is the founder of CLM FILMS, a feature film studio located in Oakland, California. Madden is the producer/director/writer of the award-winning suspense film Everyday Black Man, which won several awards including Best Feature Film during its film festival run. The film can currently be seen on BET and Showtime. Madden will be shooting her next feature film, Shadow Fight, this summer. In addition to her film career, Madden is an associate professor of English at Ohlone College and writes short stories and novels. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines. Madden is currently working on a detective novel, Queen of King Street, and a nonfiction book.


Marla Miller Shows Writers How to Hook Their Readers

Hooking Readers

Editorial read & critique and social media strategies and discussion

Monday - Friday
1:00-3:30 PM
Vista I

Aimed at all levels, fiction & nonfiction, this workshop cross-pollinates editorial work with marketing and social media strategies, to expand author platforms. Both are needed in the 21st century publishing reality. In all sessions, leader and participants will listen for reader hook-ability and social media rooted platform building ideas and strategies. Workshop attendees are to bring openings, 5–7 pages (fiction or narrative nonfiction) and book proposals – overview, introduction and sample chapter. Query letters for critiquing also welcomed. 

For 16 years, Marla Miller wrote for OC Register magazine before becoming founding editor-in-chief of an O.C. lifestyle magazine. In 1999, Simon and Schuster published her first book, All American Girls, the authorized biography of the World Cup/Gold Medal winning U.S Women’s National Soccer Team. Until 2003, her sports columns appeared on Oxygen.com. In 2003, Miller’s experience in traditional publishing inspired her to launch MarketingtheMuse Workshop at SBWC. Though indie publishing wasn’t much of a thought back then, association with a big house taught her that many traditionally published authors receive very little help from marketing departments. So now she works with writers on the road to publication.


SBWC, Anne Lowenkopf and a Yellow Cactus Flower

What does a bright yellow epiphyllum cactus flower have to do with the upcoming Santa Barbara Writers Conference?  And what about that woman in the orange top, Anne Lowenkopf?

 Anne taught at SBWC for many years in addition to her other work as a writer and editor. She had a passion for helping others and for believing in writers and seeing their potential through even their early shitty drafts. Her students (me, included) basked in this sense that we could keep getting better if we just kept at it. 

 Earlier this week would have been Anne’s 92nd birthday. She passed away in December 2010, leaving behind a legacy of a thousand or so writing students who learned much from her over her decades of teaching.

 Anne was also a relentless gardener, and she always had extra plants to share. She gave me this yellow blooming cactus somewhere back in the last century. It always blooms in early June, and so all these years I have never forgotten her birthday. It helps me remember all the other things I learned from her. 

 So yes, I learned writing and passionate gardening from her, but it was that other quality of believing in aspiring writers that has fueled my effort in directing SBWC. 

 Putting together a writers conference requires a lot of smiling through challenging moments and hanging on to the belief that every writer is worthy…if they have the desire to grow in their craft. 

 That idea is prevalent at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.  

So here is to you, Anne Lowenkopf, wherever you are. Thank you for the epiphyllum, and all the rest.  

Grace Rachow, SBWC Director


Melinda Palacio and Lida Sideris Lead the Way to Write Through the Fear, June 20

Writing Through the Fear

Thursday, June 20
1:00-3:30 PM
El Cabrillo

Maybe you’re juggling a fulltime career and family with the goal of completing a novel. Maybe your work has been critiqued to death. Maybe you’ve written yourself into a closet where it feels you cannot escape and put your book project back on track. Or maybe you’ve finished your book, but are scared to move into the marketing phase.

Every writer faces moments when it seems a project has come to a halt. This workshop offers a toolbox for overcoming the fears and other barriers to overcoming writing paralysis. Bring your problems and questions, and, together, we will share the solutions to your writing and marketing muddles. 

This workshop encourages interaction and movement and will wake you to what you need to do to move your project forward. We will cover the magic of ritual, concrete practices and a little of the spiritual to free up your writing and get it to the finish line.

Melinda Palacio is a the author of an award winning novel, Ocotillo Dreams, as well as three poetry books, Folsom Lockdown, How Fire is a Story Waiting and her latest, Bird Forgiveness (3: A Taos Press 2018).  

Lida Sideris writes soft-boiled mysteries and was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America scholarship award. The third installment in her Southern California Mystery series, Murder: Double or Nothing, will be released on June 25th.


Matthew Pallamary will Teach Phantastic Fiction, as well as Speak on Guerrilla Marketing at SBWC June 16-21

Wednesday June 19, 4 PM Guerrilla Marketing, El Cabrillo

Monday-Friday Fantastic Fiction 9:00-11:30 AM, Vista I

On Wednesday June 19, at 4PM join thirty-five-year publishing veteran Matthew Pallamary for an informative presentation on how to get the best bang for your buck, by taking advantage of free services and a guerrilla approach to getting the best exposure for your work possible.

Matt asks that participants in his Fantastic Fiction workshop bring a sense of dedication and a willingness to listen and pay attention. Writing a well-written narrative is mastering the energies of your story—the multi-faceted energies that determine the moods, reactions, choices and traits of your characters, the energies between characters, the drive of the pacing, action and dialogue to create a deeper, emotionally powerful resonance within your total story structure. All types of writing and genres are welcome, but the primary focus of the workshop is on literature of the visionary, supernatural, metaphysical, new age, horror, fantasy, and science fiction.

Multiple award-winning author Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel, Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award. He has published a total of a dozen titles across genres and is truly a one-man publishing empire.


Yvonne Nelson Perry Returns to SBWC With More Wisdom on Crafting Short Stories.

Crafting Short Stories

Monday - Friday
1:00-3:30 PM
RM 177

Yvonne Nelson Perry asks that participants in her workshop bring an open-mindedness to a critique of their work. People are reading short fiction; they often don’t have time for anything else. However all stories must have a beginning, middle and end. Test your short story in this workshop. Learn new techniques to strengthen your writing. Bottom line: master your craft.

Yvonne is the author of The Other Side of the Island, a short story collection set in a timeless Hawai’i and taken from a memoir. Over fifty stories of hers have been published in literary journals, magazines and anthologies, many receiving awards. Often sent into California schools as “a living writer” to promote the art of writing, Perry continues to teach at conferences and in private workshops. San Diego Writers/Editors Guild recently honored her with their ODIN, an award for outstanding work in the writing community. An editor for hire, Perry has been a workshop leader at SBWC for over twenty years.


Diana Raab to Teach Memoir at SBWC, June 16-21

Writing tips and wisdoms for writing a riveting memoir

9:00-11:30 AM
Vista III

This workshop will offer you valuable tips and insights for writing a compelling memoir. We will discuss many subjects, including how to decide what story to tell, and what are the important elements in writing a memoir. You’ll learn what prompts someone to pick up your book, and what causes them not to want to put it down. The class time will include lecture, discussion, and writing exercises. The content will be suitable to those who have been contemplating writing a memoir, as well as writers who are already doing so. You will leave the workshop inspired, motivated, and with many snippets of writing to be used in your memoir,

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD is an award-winning memoirist, poet, and blogger. She’s been writing personal stories and memoir for more than four decades. She’s the author of nine books, including two memoirs. Regina’s Closet, and Healing With Words. Her latest books are Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (winner of Feathered Quill Book Award for best self-help book), and  Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal.


Author Lisa See will Speak at SBWC on June 16 at 7:30 PM

Lisa See will be introduced by Fannie Flagg. Lisa will receive the Ross Macdonald award before her evening talk.

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in LoveShanghai GirlsDreams of Joy, and China Dolls. Her recent novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, was an instant New York Times bestseller. Her upcoming novel, The Island of Sea Women, was released in March 2019. Booklist has put The Island of Sea Women on its “High-Demand Hot List,” while Library Journal has made The Island of Sea Women a “Pre-pub Pick” for 2019. Jodi Picoult has given her praise: “Lisa See excels at mining the intersection of family, friendship and history, and in her newest novel, she reaches new depths exploring the matrifocal haenyeo society in Korea, caught between tradition and modernization.  This novel spans wars and generations, but at its heart is a beautifully rendered story of two women whose individual choices become inextricably tangled.”  

 Ms. See has also written a mystery series that takes place in China, as well as On Gold Mountain, which is about her Chinese-American family. Her books have been published in 39 languages.  Ms. See was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001, was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in 2003, and received the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California in 2017.



John Reed Returns to SBWC to Lead "The Pirates" Workshop into the Wee Hours June 16-21

9:30 PM into the wee hours
Vista III

This is a lively, spirited read-and-critique session, often stretching into the wee, small hours of the morning. Students who try hard to help their fellow writers often end up helping themselves even more. You won’t need to bring copies for the group, but if you want in-text edits, provide one copy for the instructor.

John asks that the participants in his pirate workshop have an open mind and a willingness to write from the heart – even when they don’t feel good.

 John Reed is the author of five novels, Mountain of AshesThirteen Mountain, Dark Thirty, Shadow White as Stone and The Kingfisher’s Call.