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
In 1974, building on the success of the first SBWC, the Conrads produced a line-up of speakers that would be the envy of any well-established conference:
• Alex Haley introduced Budd Schulberg and a showing of his film, “Waterfront.” • James Michener gave an evening address • Mel Torme explained why “I’d Rather Write Than Sing” • Ross MacDonald (Ken Millar) spoke on Writing, Mystery & Suspense
Afternoon speakers included Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Alex Haley, Clifton Fadiman and James Sheldon.
The conference was underway when Barnaby got a phone call from Frankfurt, Germany from James Michener asking if he was still invited to speak at the conference. If so, it was going to cost the Conrads extra.
With some trepidation Barney asked, “How so?”
“It’ll cost $50 to change my airline ticket.”
Barnaby came up with the $50.