Panels and Speakers

Tickets Available at the Door. • Schedule

Ross Macdonald Literary Award
2019 — Lisa See

Past Recipients

  • 2002 - Ray Bradbury

  • 2003 - Dean Koontz

  • 2004 - Sue Grafton

  • 2005 - Mark Salzman

  • 2006 - Robert Crais

  • 2007 - T. C. Boyle

  • 2008 - James Ellroy

  • 2016 - Dennis Lynds

  • 2017 - Fannie Flagg

  • 2018 - Pico Iyer

  • 2019 - Lisa See

On opening night of the 2019 Santa Barbara Writers Conference, author Lisa See is slated to receive the Ross Macdonald Literary Award. This award is a U.S. book prize given some years by the Santa Barbara Book Council to "a California writer whose work raises the standard of literary excellence." The award is named in honor of California mystery novelist, Ross Macdonald, whose novels were set in a fictionalized version of Santa Barbara, California.


4:00 PM — 5:00 P.M.








Lisa See

Sunday June 16, 7:30 PM, El Cabrillo

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.

 Ms. See wrote the libretto for Los Angeles Opera based on On Gold Mountain, which premiered in June 2000. That same year, she also curated the exhibition On Gold Mountain: A Chinese American Experience at the Autry Museum. Ms. See then helped develop and curate the Family Discovery Gallery at the Autry Museum, an interactive space for children and their families that focused on Lisa’s bi-racial, bi-cultural family. The installation was up for twelve years. In 2003, she curated the inaugural exhibition—a retrospective of artist Tyrus Wong—for the grand opening of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. In addition, she designed a walking tour of L.A.’s Chinatown and wrote the companion guidebook for Angels Walk L.A. to celebrate the opening of the MTA’s Chinatown station.  As a longtime trustee on the University of California Press Foundation, she endowed the Lisa See Endowment Fund in Southern California History and Culture.

You can learn more about her at


Steph Post

Monday June 17, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Steph Post is the author of the novels Miraculum, Walk in the Fire, Lightwood, and A Tree Born Crooked. She graduated from Davidson College as a recipient of the Patricia Cornwell Scholarship and winner of the Vereen Bell award, and she holds a Master’s degree in Graduate Liberal Studies from UNCW. Her work has most recently appeared in Garden & GunNonBinary Review and the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She lives in Florida. 

Twitter: @stephpostauthor
Instagram: stephpostauthor


Stephen Markley

Tuesday June 18, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Stephen Markley’s new novel is Ohio. In it he depicts an American generation fumbling through disillusionment and a turbulent new age of war, addiction, political unrest, and unemployment.

Markley is a gifted writer, masterfully weaving together the stories of his protagonists through a variety of perspectives and timelines that culminate in a stunning reveal. 

Stephen Markley is an author, screenwriter, and journalist. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Markley’s previous books include the memoir Publish This BookThe Unbelievable True Story of How I Wrote, Sold, and Published This Very Book, and the travelogue Tales of Iceland. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Matthew Pallamary

Wednesday, June 19, 4:00 PM, El Cabrillo

As we have entered into the twenty-first century, traditional models of publishing and promotion have dissipated into a bewildering electronic jungle where traditional wisdom changes almost daily. Having a blog was once considered the way to go, but once that became the traditional wisdom of the day, thousands of writers jumped on the bandwagon, diluting that approach. MySpace was the hot place to be – for a minute.

Writers have limited budgets, and an overwhelming plethora of paid publicizing services, web sites, and listing services bombard their inboxes daily, and the majority of them are not cost effective. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media giants constantly change their policies, making marketing a hit or miss proposition.

Join thirty-five-year publishing veteran Matt Pallamary for an informative workshop on how to get the best bang for your buck, (or lack of it), by taking advantage of free services, and a guerrilla approach to getting the best exposure for your work possible.


Taylor Jenkins Reid

Wednesday June 19, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoOne True LovesMaybe in Another LifeAfter I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her novels have been Indie Next Picks, chosen by Book of the Month, and featured in People, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Her newest novel, Daisy Jones and the Six, will be out March 5th. She lives in Los Angeles.


Jeffrey C. Stewart

Thursday, June 20, 8:00 PM, El Cabrillo

Jeffrey C. Stewart is a National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction, November 2018, the Pulitzer Prize in April 2019 and the Mark Lynton Prize for History, May 2019 . He is a Professor of Black Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where he was chair of the department from 2008-2016.

Dr. Stewart is the author of numerous articles, essays and books, including The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about African American History, an essay to the exhibition catalog “Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis,” and the foreword for “Barthe: A Life in Sculpture.” He founded the Black Studies Review: An Undergraduate Research Journal, for which he won the Chancellor’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring (2018). Professor Stewart has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, UCLA, Tufts University, Howard University, Scripps College, and George Mason University.