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
1976 was the year Maya Angelou addressed the conference, her deep voice rebounding across the walls of the Miramar Room in the conference center. Her themes resonated with students of all ages, hoping to understand how she drew from her own passion and experiences to glean just a bit of the craft to translate in their own work.
The SBWC had become a Santa Barbara institution. Interviews with featured speakers appeared in the Santa Barbara News-Press and weekly journals in the surrounding Montecito community.
Another conference event that became increasingly popular was the annual party that Mary Conrad hosted for SBWC teaching staff and featured speakers, which included Jose Ferrer, Charles and Jean Schulz, the husband and wife team of John Dodds and Vivian Vance, Don Congdon, Joan Didion and husband John Gardner Dunne to name a few.